Tennessee School Boards Sue State Over Funding

Tennessee School Boards Sue State Over FundingSeven Tennessee school districts recently filed a lawsuit against state officials alleging that the state violated Tennessee law by failing to provide adequate funding for education. The lawsuit alleges that state officials have breached their duty “under the Tennessee Constitution to provide a system of free public education.” According to reports, Hamilton County and six Chattanooga-area school districts allege that by shorting schools by hundreds of millions of dollars, the state has created an huge gap in the quality of education between well-off and less affluent areas. The lawsuit alleges that the state’s funding formula underestimates the cost of teachers’ salaries by roughly $532 million, and that Tennessee schools face an annual shortage of about $134 million for classroom expenses.

The Tennessee school boards claims that in affluent communities many parents have been able to step in and help fill the void left by state funding cuts. In some cases these communities have been able to raise hundreds of dollars through fees and fundraisers to support extracurricular activities and buy educational technology. Yet in less affluent communities funding for such extracurricular programs is nonexistent and in some cases school board officials claims that there are insufficient resources available to operate their facilities at all. In these locals, many districts have been forced to cut core educational services.

Tennessee is not the only state facing this dilemma. Nationwide, states and localities are spending an average of 15 percent less per pupil in lower income school districts. The most recent federal data from 2012 revealed that schools in low income communities spend an average of $9,270 per child, while facilities in the most affluent neighborhoods spend an average of $10,721 per child. According to reports, 23 state and local governments spend significantly less on educating students that many education professionals believe are the ones who need the most attention. Authorities agree that children who live in poverty and low economic settings enter school at a disadvantage, and often lag behind their peers socially and academically.

Educators are face an increasing number of liability complications based on an ever evolving array of issues. As such, it is important that Tennessee educators secure the coverage they need to keep their staff, students and facilities financial secure. At Barnes Insurance Agency, we work with top-quality insurers to provide insurance programs for the educational sector. Our Educational Institutions Insurance Program includes property and liability solutions tailored to the risks faced by educational organizations. To learn more about our Tennessee School Board Insurance, contact us today at (866) 733-5424.

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