Knox County's mayor says the school board needs to push the state to change the way it gives out Basic Education Plan (BEP) funding, instead of asking the county for more money.
The county learned last week that the money it receives from the state's BEP funding will be $2.8 million dollars less than expected.
Knox County is a donor community, which means it pays into the account.
Mayor Burchett says the school system needs to ask the state to change the way it calculates payments so Knox County gets its fair share of funding in return for what it puts in.
"It's a funding formula. It has to be done through the legislature. The governor and the legislature have to provide that leadership and that funding, and change that funding structure. The money's there. But we're just paying to educate every other kid in the state and not our own in Knox County," said Burchett.
The mayor's used state report card data from last year to show that Knox County actually ranks 11th out of more than 130 school districts in the state when it comes to per student funding. He says that if state money is removed, Knox County drops to 51st.
Burchett says that's proof that there are problems with state funding, not local revenue.
Mayor Burchett says he will not approve a tax increase to give more money to schools.
"We pay into the BEP funding. We need to get our fair share back. They need to look within to find more money, not take more from the tax payer's share," said Burchett.
Mayor Burchett's full statement on school funding:
"Knox County ranks 11th out of the more than 130 school districts statewide in local per-pupil funding, something that is not being made clear by those pushing for a tax increase in Knox County. While some would have the public believe that Knox County does not provide enough support to the Knox County Schools, the reality is that our local per-pupil spending in Knox County is higher than nearly 92 percent of the state."The $4,835 Knox County taxpayers spend in local revenue per pupil is nearly 30 percent higher than the statewide average of local per-pupil spending on education," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "The fact that adding state funding to Knox County's per-pupil spending amount drops our ranking from 11th to 51st shows that any funding issue that may exist for Knox County Schools is the result of a disparity in state funding, not local revenue. The solution to this problem needs to be found in Nashville, not in Knox County, where some want to raise taxes or raid our reserves."When comparing only county school districts, Knox County ranks fourth out of 95 counties in the state in local per-pupil funding."I would encourage the board of education and the public to contact the Knox County legislative delegation and ask for their support in addressing this state funding problem," said Mayor Burchett."