April 4, 2022
Action is needed now, as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) Act (SB2396/HB2143) is considered in the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee and again in the House Education Administration Committee. A rigorous 6-month feedback process involving thousands of Tennesseans, including 18 funding subcommittees, has informed this proposed legislation in a tour de force needed for the last 30 years. Recently both chambers have witnessed passionate testimony from advocates across the state.
“We must approve funding for education. We must not delay. This is the investment needed for our state, for our children, and for our future.”
Dr. Cathy Beck, Cheatham County Director of Schools
Last week, Dr. Cathy Beck’s testimony to the House Education Administration Committee echoed many districts’ struggles to retain teachers due to competition from neighboring, higher-paying districts. An additional 4.2 million in funding from the TISA formula will allow local leadership in Cheatham County and districts like it, to fund teacher salaries with precision not possible under the current BEP. Other rural districts, such as Maury County, are looking at an additional 18.5 million in funding that can be put towards immediately needed repairs to school facilities. Under TISA, fast-growing cities such as Spring Hill, will have the added benefit of infrastructure stipends.
Additional Training and Transparency = Accountability
TISA will equip local leaders with professional development, including training in best practices to link their spending directly to student achievement, and the specific needs of students and personnel in their district. TISA simplifies public education funding to a 1 page spreadsheet. A night and day comparison to the now 93 page computation guide for the current BEP. Simplicity in calculation means more accurate and consistent data reporting across districts. Leaders and the public will be able to pinpoint spending efforts at the district, school, and student level. This type of transparency is not a possibility under the current BEP. Federal legislation requires school-level expenditure reporting, for which the current BEP is incapable of providing.
Take Action, Now
TISA empowers leaders, educators, and the public to stay informed and better advocate for what students need, with unprecedented precision and immediacy. This long overdue legislation cannot wait. Our students deserve action and the courage of those representing them to move forward. Learn more about TISA and Take Action today by using our rapid advocacy tool to easily contact your senator or representative. Let them know you support TISA and want them to advance education funding and student achievement in Tennessee.