Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Task force to look into BEP funding

Yesterday, the Tennessean posted an article by Chas Sisk (who is a bad a$$ state reporter but not as bad a$$ as my guy Tom Humphrey) that said Gov. Big Bill has formed a task force to study the state’s Basic Education Program, or BEP, funding to schools.

Sisk notes that the formula, which factors in enrollment, tax revenues and school staffing, was last adjusted in 2007. (I know some folks don’t want to hear this, but you can thank for then-county Mayor Mike Ragsdale for that.)

The move is good news for the Big Four counties as they’ll more than likely get some more coin.
Last year Knox County received almost $172 million, but Knox is considered a “donor” county, meaning it turn into a lot more – about $40 million in sales taxes – than it gets back.

That could change.

“The students don’t get that money – it gets distributed to other schools across the state,” Knox County Finance Director Chris “Money Bags” Caldwell told me today. “But this has always been a fight between the rural and urban counties.”

He said that seven years ago, the state formed what essentially has been dubbed BEP 2.0. He said Knox County – if it was fully funded under 2.0 – should have received an additional $20 million. It didn’t. Caldwell, who was out buying ties yesterday because the county is closed and wasn’t near his finance books, said he believed it jumped “about $10 to 15 million” at the time.

The task force will report back to the governor at the end of the year.

UPDATE: Ha ha. Randy Neal weighs in. Apparently the task force already exists.

No comments: