Children and Youth Funding Report Recommends Inflation Adjuster for Education Formula

Monday, April 18, 2022 | 12:50pm

Children and Youth Funding Report Recommends Inflation Adjuster for Education Formula

Resource Mapping of Expenditures on Tennessee Children shows importance of annual increases to education funding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) has released its annual Resource Mapping of Expenditures on Tennessee Children Report. TCCY tracks expenditures on youth programs that flow through the state budget and reports annually to the General Assembly. Recommendations from this year’s report include that the State should consider automatic inflation adjustments in its new education funding formula.

For years this report has noted that one strength of the Basic Education Program formula is funding increases when the price of inputs increases. Tennessee’s per-student expenditures are low compared to the rest of the country, but fully funding the BEP requires increases every year to keep up with the cost of inputs the formula measures  “New investment in education is critical,” said Rose Naccarato, Director of Data and Communication at TCCY, “but it will quickly lose its impact if base funding amounts do not move with inflation.”

In accordance with 2008 Public Chapter 1197, codified as TCA 37-3-116, TCCY annually reports trends in expenditures and funding streams for programs primarily benefiting Tennessee children and youth with funds flowing through the state budget. The report examines funding sources and amounts as well as program outcomes and numbers of children served.

This year’s report examined FY2020-21 data from 26 different state agencies, with expenditures totaling over $13.3 billion. Nearly 50 percent of all expenditures for children in FY2020-2021 were federal dollars; this was driven by large federal COVID-19 increases in education and SNAP. The Department of Education reported a 167% increase in federal funds compared to FY 2019-2020, and the Department of Human Services reported an 80 percent increase. Excluding the BEP, almost eight of every 10 dollars spent on services for Tennessee children and families in FY 2020-21 were from federal funding sources.

The funding for the Basic Education Plan was the largest expenditure for children in the state at $4.8 billion, followed by Department of Education non-BEP funds at $2.8 billion and Department of Human Services and TennCare both at roughly $2 billion.

The report highlights spending in five outcome areas: Safe, Healthy, Educated, Nurtured and Supported and Engaged in activities to help them reach their potential. Annual recommendations regarding spending to improve outcomes for children, youth and families across the state are included in the report. In addition to including an automatic inflation adjustment in the education formula, this year’s recommendations include; Increase Funding for Prevention, Early Intervention, and Services for Young Children, Access Federal Medicaid Funds, Enhance Opportunities for the State to Receive Federal and Other Funding and Further Develop an Integrated Data System in Tennessee.

  • Increase Funding for Prevention, Early Intervention, and Services for Young Children

Resource mapping data reveals prevention and early intervention services cost significantly less ‎‎per child than more intensive intervention. However, these less costly, but often more effective, ‎‎services generally do not receive the resources necessary to prevent many poor outcomes. This ends ‎‎up costing taxpayers more in the long term for more costly and more intensive interventions.‎ The future health and well-being of Tennessee children, and, therefore, the future prosperity of the state, depends on what we do for them in the early years. Resource mapping data clearly suggests we are not doing enough.

  • Access Federal Medicaid Funds

The easiest and most beneficial way for Tennessee to infuse substantial additional federal dollars (estimated at $8.2 million per day) into the state’s economy would be to accept Medicaid expansion funding for TennCare. The multiplier effect of additional federal expenditures is substantial. The benefits would accrue to children and families, the state’s health care system (especially rural hospitals whose survival is in jeopardy), and the state’s economy as a whole.

·         Enhance Opportunities for the State to Receive Federal and Other Funding

The resource mapping data demonstrate a heavy reliance on federal funding for the provision of ‎‎essential services and supports for children and families. The state must continue to take ‎‎advantage of all possible sources of federal and other external funding consistent with ‎‎state purposes and goals

  • Further Develop an Integrated Data System in Tennessee

Every program in state government tracks its expenditures and services in some fashion, but the data are not uniformly linked across systems to allow analysis to identify programs that address needs most efficiently.

 

Release Information

The FY2020-21 Resource Mapping of Expenditures on Tennessee Children can be found at www.TN.Gov/TCCY/ResourceMapping