NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After two legislative delays in laying the foundation for Governor Bill Lee‘s education funding and charter schools proposals, Lee announced he will finally release long-sought-after details of his plan expected this week – next week.
“We’re prepared to start having meetings and I think the administration is with members, as soon as the language is out the final language, I think there’s, there’s preliminary stuff coming out. So we’ll see what that looks like,” said Speaker Cameron Sexton.
Lee’s office announced a February 24th presentation with Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to pitch their new education funding formula.
“It’s a very complex thing and it’s gone back and forth with suggestions and so I’m not going to criticize them for trying to get it right and taking their time, that’s what we want to do and not try to rush it through so if they needed some extra time that’s fine,” Sexton said.
It’s a cornerstone of Lee’s education plan, to increase the number of taxpayer-funded charters in the state, just this week, two charter school bills were rolled until next week, following some pushback from community members and Democrats.
“He’s proposing a pathway where the governor and his sort of hand-picked body up here gets to make local school’s decisions for every county in the state, and that’s not going to sit well in small-town Tennessee, or big city Tennessee or suburban Tennessee,” said Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville).
Democrats say the expansion of charter schools, including the controversial Hillsdale charters, would undercut badly needed public school funding
“Our teachers are being expected to deal with a lot and teach children under very difficult circumstances with a lack of funding, a lack of resources, and so right now we should be focused on getting educators the resources they need and making sure our children are in positive learning environments,” Rep. John Ray Clemmons said.
Proposed changes would make it easier for charter schools to bypass local school boards and get approval to open from the state.
The governor’s administration says they will use a combination of base funding, weights, direct funding and incentives for outcomes to decide how much each parent or district could receive.