Concerns about school funding and the condition of school buildings were front and center in results published Tuesday from a statewide survey of Tennessee education leaders.
Of the 575 leaders who responded, none said that they thought Tennessee’s funding formula should stay as it is, according to TennesseeCAN, a Nashville-based education advocacy organization. This is the third year of the organization’s survey.
School funding has been a high-profile topic in Tennessee for years, and is the backdrop of a three-year legal fight between the state and Shelby County Schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools. Tennessee’s two largest districts are suing the state over whether it allocates enough money to provide an adequate education, particularly for urban school systems that serve more students who live in poverty, have special needs, or come from non-English-speaking homes.
In the survey, 71 percent of district and school leaders said they support some sort of change to the way Tennessee funds schools. More than 40 percent of both groups said they favor weighting school funding based on student need.
Only 4 percent of the 63 district leaders surveyed said they believe they receive an adequate amount of funding.
About 6 percent of the 512 school leaders surveyed said they had more than $500,000 worth of deferred maintenance on their school building, while about 30 percent said their building had $50,000 worth of repairs or less.
The surveys also covered topics like leader preparation, parental involvement, and previous educational experience. You can find results for district leaders, school leaders, and overall takeaways on TennesseeCan’s website.