State Rep. Suan Lynn (R-Lebanon) provides some much needed context to the BEP funding conversation in her recent blog post called "Choosing Performance". She's right, the legislature failed to take advantage of some opportunities that could have made a real difference in children's lives.
Tennessee lost a great opportunity for education this Session. While school choice is producing results in other areas, Tennessee’s plan is to pour $500 million more dollars into the BEP; the same’ol bureaucratic system of government monopoly of education believing it does things more fairly and produces a better outcome than anything else.Nashville got more from the state BUT what could easily have been predicted was the Council's vote last evening to remove some funding from the MNPS budget using the excuse of the extra funding the system will now get from the State of Tennessee.
Inside legislative plaza, it’s pretty well understood that the plan to increase the state share of paying teacher's salaries covers-up the fact that due to the new distribution formula many districts (over 70 counties) are actually losing money on the new plan.
Councilmembers, however, may have felt that the schools had some funds to spare — the state recently made available $13.5 million in BEP funds to the system, a number higher than originally anticipated — that will sit atop a roughly $578 million base budget. City PaperMNPS BOE Chair Marsha Warden is quoted in that same City Paper article saying:
...she would be cautious about taking from the reserve at a time when property tax increases are uncertain. “A reserve fund is to be offset for periods where you know new money’s not coming in. It’s been close to four years now since we’ve raised property taxes,” she said.Without some of that real accountability that Rep. Lynn speaks of in her article I wouldn't even begin to count on persuading taxpayers to accept a property tax increase. And remember it's going to take persuading voters, not just councilmen, to do that from now on.