Gov. Lee, Commissioner Schwinn Unveil Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act

Thursday, February 24, 2022 | 11:05am


Proposed $9 Billion New K-12 Public Education Student-Based Funding Formula Puts 
Students at the Center

Nashville, TN- Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn released the details of the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) Act (SB2396/HB2143) that would transition Tennessee’s K-12 public schools to a student-based funding approach. Starting in the 2023-24 school year, the TISA would invest an estimated $9 billion in education funding for the state, including state and local funds, which includes $1 billion in new recurring state funds and $750 million in one-time state funds this year. 

The TISA will update the way Tennessee funds public education for the first time in over 30 years to empower each student to read proficiently by third grade, prepare each high school graduate for postsecondary success, and provide resources needed to all students to ensure they succeed. Under the TISA districts would receive more than they would under the BEP should enrollment remain stable. Access an overview PowerPoint presentation of the TISA and associated bill language here. To learn more about the student-based funding formula, visit 

“The Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement formula will be a powerful tool the state can use to ensure we are putting all students on a path to success,” said Governor Bill Lee. “By serving our students well and giving the public greater insight into how their tax dollars are supporting students, the TISA represents an exciting opportunity to improve educational outcomes, strengthen our workforce and propel Tennessee forward.”

“Updating our public education funding model is an investment in our state’s students and our state’s future,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Months of public feedback highlighted how committed Tennesseans are to strengthening how we fund public education, and the TISA puts the focus of education funding right where it belongs – on students.”

The Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement is a student-based funding formula that will include the following proposed investments for each of these components:

  • $6.6 billion for base funding for every public school student. 
  • $1.8 billion in additional funding to be allocated based on weights to address specific student needs.
  • $376 million in direct funding for students to receive additional funding allocations to support specific programs, like tutoring. 
  • $100 million in outcomes funding to be awarded based on achievement to empower schools to help all students reach their full potential.

Additionally, the TISA has reporting and district accountability requirements, including an annual TISA report delivered to the Tennessee General Assembly by the department and individual district-level accountability reports to be submitted by local school boards to the department to establish goals for student achievement in the current school year, explain how the goals can be met within the local budget, and describe how the local budget and expenditures for prior school years enabled districts to progress student outcomes.

“Being part of the engagement process and hearing the ideas brought forth by students, educators, industries and stakeholders was an incredible experience, and emphasized the need for Tennessee to move forward with a new formula that puts students first and puts our needs first,” said Elizabeth Brown, Student Engagement Subcommittee Chairman and Coffee County High School Senior. “Seeing that come to fruition in a way that can remove obstacles for postsecondary success is exciting and I look forward to the potential impact this will have to unlock future possibilities for a new generation of students.”

“I was honored to have been asked to chair the Instructional Leadership Sub-Committee,” said Danny Weeks, Director of Schools, Dickson County Schools. “I have enjoyed the interactions with our Committee, enjoyed participating in the Town Halls, and reading the input from stakeholders from across the State. We are anxious to see the proposal and are excited about the possibilities it brings for all students.”

"We are grateful to Governor Lee, Commissioner Schwinn and our legislative leaders for today's announcement and for their commitment to accelerating outcomes for TN students,” said Barbara Hyde, Chair and CEO, Hyde Family Foundation. “We believe shifting to a more transparent and student-based funding model will not only offer more Memphis students a high-quality education, but it should also bring additional resources, especially in addressing the needs of economically disadvantaged and historically underserved students all across the state.  A modernized funding formula will play a key role in closing achievement gaps and preparing all students for a lifetime of success."

“Teachers see first-hand the impact of funding on the success of our students and schools, and educators know that this important conversation could not be more timely,” said Morgan Rankin, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year, Johnson City Schools, Chair of Teacher Advisory Funding Subcommittee. “Bringing together experienced and knowledgeable educators from a variety of positions and school districts across the state allowed teachers to truly lend their voice to this crucial discussion. This subcommittee worked diligently to review public feedback and to carefully weigh our recommendations in order to best meet the diverse teaching and learning needs across the state. We truly hope that our deliberate and thorough recommendations will help make a positive and long-lasting impact on teaching and learning in the state of Tennessee.”

“Jackson County Schools hosted one of the eight town hall meetings with a great turn out for the Upper Cumberland Region. Being able to serve on the subcommittee for rural schools provided another way to address unique student needs and make thoughtful recommendations during the planning phase for a student-centered funding model,” said Kristy Brown, Director of Schools, Jackson County Schools. “It’s important that all public school students be represented during this crucial time for public education in Tennessee. The engagement process has provided many ways for all stakeholders to have a voice. We must get this right for our students.”

“It has been exciting to be a part of the engagement process as we envision the possibilities that having a student-centered funding approach can have on the future of our students and on our state,” said Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, Johnson County School System. “We know this is the right time for our state to move towards a student-based funding formula, which will help us focus on student outcomes and achievement.”

“We must ensure all students, and especially the students we serve in rural communities across Tennessee, are truly workforce ready and prepared for postsecondary success. Nothing will be more important to the future of our state, to our businesses and industries, and to creating even greater employment opportunities and higher family incomes for more Tennesseans,” said Janet Ayers, President, Ayers Foundation. “We believe and are hopeful the new funding formula will help target the additional student-centered resources that local educators need and can use to accelerate the academic growth and success we want to see all across Tennessee.”

" I would like to thank the Governor and Commissioner for their leadership and commitment to increasing state funding for public education,” said Jacob Sorrells, Director of Schools, Marshall County Schools. “I would also like to thank them for the multiple opportunities I was given to share my feedback.  I understand the need for a new funding formula that better funds our students' educational needs and feel that the time is now.  I am very excited about the proposed new recurring funds as outlined in the Governor's proposed budget and can see how these new funds will help address the needs of all students across Tennessee.  I look forward to working with the state as we navigate any obstacles that may arise during this process.”

"I am deeply appreciative of the administration's efforts to collect input and feedback on transitioning our state to a student-based public school funding formula. This will not only have a positive impact for the future of our students but also our economy and our state," said Dr. Nancy Dishner, President and CEO, Niswonger Foundation.

“The process for gathering input was comprehensive and all stakeholders had a seat at the table,” said Cathy Beck, Director of Schools, Cheatham County Schools. “This revision of the funding formula is an investment, not only in our children, but in the future for the entire state of Tennessee.”

"We are excited by today's announcement and what it will mean for students, families, and educators all across Tennessee,” said Victor Evans, Executive Director, TennesseeCAN. “We applaud Governor Lee, Commissioner Schwinn, and our legislative leaders for taking such a bold student-centered approach - one that we believe can help all students, and particularly economically disadvantaged students, achieve academically and reach their fullest potential."

"A student-based funding formula for K-12 public education is a positive step for the state of Tennessee,” said Steve Starnes, Director of Schools, Greeneville City Schools. “I have appreciated the level of engagement and feedback that has taken place as we have looked at how best to meet the needs of Tennessee students. I have valued the opportunity to participate in this important process.”

Last fall, Governor Lee announced the state would review its public school funding formula. The Tennessee Department of Education and the General Assembly convened 18 funding subcommittees, organized a legislative steering committee, and provided over 1,000 opportunities for the public to engage, including 16 public town halls and local match conversations across the state. This January, Gov. Lee and Commissioner Schwinn released a draft framework for the new student-based K-12 funding formula, which incorporated input from thousands of Tennesseans.

To learn more about student-based funding, Tennessee’s recent public engagement process and subcommittee recommendations, and to access additional resources, visit the department’s website

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact