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Tennessee K-12 Public Education Funding Engagement


Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn invite Tennesseans to participate in the full review of the state’s education funding formula and explore possibilities for a more student-centered approach.

The state’s current school funding framework, also known as the Basic Education Program (BEP), has not been meaningfully updated in more than 30 years.

Public engagement will focus on a student investment strategy that incorporates the following: 

  • Prioritizes students over systems
  • Empowers parents to engage in their child’s education
  • Incentivizes student outcomes
  • Ensures all students, regardless of location or learning needs, are served at a high-level
  • Reflects Tennesseans’ values
  • Creates flexible funding that prepare students for postsecondary success

Funding Review Committees

The state’s engagement will include a central steering committee composed of policymakers from across the state and 18 subcommittees, who represent district and school leaders, higher education partners, elected officials, business leaders, families, education stakeholders and members of the public. The department will also have a committee of national experts, regional meetings of county commissioners and school board members and public engagement representatives.

Chair: Elizabeth Brown, State President, Future Business Leaders of America – Tennessee; Senior, Coffee County High School

Chair: Commissioner Brad Turner, Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Chair: Raul Lopez, Executive Director, Latinos for Tennessee 

Chair: Victor Evans, Executive Director, TennesseeCAN

Chair: Dr. Derwin Sisnett, Commissioner, Tennessee Public Charter School Commission

Chair: Morgan Rankin, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year, Johnson City Schools

Chair: Farrah Griffith, Principal, White County Schools

Chair: Dr. Steve Starnes, Director of Schools, Greeneville City Schools

Chair: Dr. Danny Weeks, Director of Schools, Dickson County Schools

Chair: Janet Ayers, President, The Ayers Foundation

Chair: Dr. Ted Horrell, Director of Schools, Lakeland School System

Chair: Cato Johnson, Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Public Policy/Regulatory Affairs, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Chair: Dr. Youlanda Jones, President, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology- Covington, Ripley, and Newbern

Chair: Randy Boyd, President, University of Tennessee System

Chair: Dr. Jared Bigham, Senior Advisor on Workforce & Rural Initiatives, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce

Chair: Dr. Dan Challener, President, Public Education Foundation

Co-Chairs: Scott Niswonger, Chairman and Founder, Niswonger Foundation, and Dr. Nancy Dishner, President and CEO, Niswonger Foundation

Chair: Justin Owen, President & Chief Executive Officer, Beacon Center of Tennessee

Get Involved

District and school leaders, elected officials, families, education stakeholders and members of the public will be engaged in the coming months through committees, survey opportunities, local meetings and more. 

Fill out this form to sign up for consideration to join a committee and receive updates.