Haslam forms task force on school funding

Gov. Bill Haslam announced the formation of a task force Tuesday to study the state's funding to schools through the Basic Education Program.

The 12-person task force will include lawmakers, administration officials and representatives for cities, counties and schools. The move comes amid complaints that BEP, which distributes state money to local districts, has not funded programs adequately.

Some have called for legislation to alter the BEP formula, which was last adjusted in 2007. The formula takes into account factors such as enrollment, tax revenues and school staffing.

"The last significant revision of the BEP was seven years ago, and education in Tennessee has changed a lot since then," Haslam said in a press release. "It is the appropriate time to take a fresh look at the formula, identify strengths and weaknesses and determine whether or not changes should be made."

The task force will meet throughout the year and report back to the governor by the end of the year. Haslam faces re-election in November.

State Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, criticized Haslam for not including teachers on the task force.

"Once again the Haslam administration has shown a complete disregard to the valued input of our teachers."


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