TSS Blog

TISA: Necessary Flexibility for Effective Local Budgets

TSS applauds the recent Senate Finance Committee walk through of TISA (SB2396/HB2143). We are hopeful for similar, detailed discussion during the House Finance Subcommittee meeting tomorrow. Three major talking points from Senate Finance include: local maintenance of effort, educator salary increases, and rulemaking transparency. Senate Finance heard informative testimony from the Sycamore Institute, comparing BEP and TISA local contribution trends. Verified, third-party research indicates statewide:

  • TISA will require less local contribution than the existing BEP
  • TISA will not see local maintenance of effort (MOE) increases until 2035
  • TISA will increase state contributions, offsetting the impact of future changes

Local Maintenance of Effort

Previously, we highlighted how fiscal capacity equalizes state funding to equitably fund all districts in Tennessee. Most districts already contribute well over their fiscal capacity requirements. Momentum of effort and fiscal capacity laws will continue to function as they do currently, to increase overall K-12 contributions, even as state-level contributions increase. TISA will increase state-level funding by $750 million and decrease the aggregate local share statewide. This combination will help offset any future changes in budget.

Educator Salary Increases 

TISA will be agile and adaptive, allowing local and state leaders to more flexibly adjust funding allocations year over year. Local leaders will no longer have to conform to an overly restrictive ratio-based formula; a formula that cannot accurately cover the diverse needs of each school. Currently, too many teachers and support staff are funded outside of the BEP. This happens because the BEP funds schools based on district-level averages, not real, student-level needs.

Positions currently funded 100% by locals, outside of the BEP, can more easily be accounted for within TISA. Formula weights will give local budgets access to a larger state share, to aid in offsetting local cost. TISA will allow for predictable budgeting of staff salaries within the funding formula framework. TISA will be flexible to allow for adjustments to state-level contributions, if necessary, to keep local share manageable.

Rulemaking Transparency

Rulemaking under TISA will become a more visible process. The state board will be required to give a positive, negative, or neutral recommendation of rules proposed by the department. If a proposal is given a negative recommendation, it will either be reworked prior to Government Operations consideration or sent directly there with a negative recommendation. Ultimately, any rulemaking proposed will be at the consideration of the General Assembly. An additional amendment, adopted by the House, will also require rules to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office. TISA will require the rulemaking process be available to the public, a requirement not found in the BEP. Read about additional accountability measures within TISA in our previous post.

If you believe in better funding for all students across Tennessee, please considering joining our growing list of supporters at the Fuel Our Future page.

Additional Reading:

Tennessee Alliance for Equity in Education releases statement in support of TISA, April 18th, 2022

Nashville Public Education Foundation releases statement in support of TISA, April 15th, 2022



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