Knox Schools Could Get $27M in New Money

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) - More money for several local school districts is on the way.

State funding through the BEP, or Basic Education Program, in the revised BEP 2.0 plan is bringing millions.

In the overhauled program, Knox County Schools will be receiving almost $27 million a year.

Volunteer TV’s Jim Freeman has been sizing up the numbers, looking for the big winners.

Certainly Knox County is one of them, but Memphis City Schools is getting the biggest bump at more than $86 million.

All but six school systems are getting increases.

Those six remain unchanged.

The larger metropolitan areas are getting major increases in the revised Basic Education Program fondly called BEP 2.0.

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale says "this has been a situation that we've worked on for well over three years now."

And that work will be paying off in dividends for Knox County Schools to the tune of $26,945,000 a year.

"Knox County's been so far below the state average in funding per child. This helps us substantially, but even with this, it doesn't get us to the average of what every child in Tennessee is getting,” Ragsdale explains.

Higher percentages for Knox County mean smaller percentages for systems like Loudon County.

"It'll still be an increase. It will be a smaller increase than we would get under the current BEP program,” says Director of Schools for Loudon County Edward Headlee.

Here's how some of the other area school systems fair under BEP 2.0.

Anderson County's increase is more than $4.5 million, while Blount County's is less than a half-million more. Hamblen County Schools is almost $7 million. Knox County's increase is just short of $27 million, Loudon County's figure is a little more than a quarter-million dollars. Roane County is getting an increase of nearly $2 million, while Sevier County remains unchanged. No matter how the numbers work out, the goal remains the same.

"You know. What's essential here is that we get adequate funding for education,” says Knox County 5th District School Board Member Karen Carson.

"I applaud Governor Bredesen and the legislature for taking it. This should result in a huge impact for our Knox County School System and benefit a lot of kids across this community,” adds Mayor Ragsdale.

The numbers here do not include "growth money."

That's money schools get for new students which is called ADM, Average Daily Members.

You can see how all the numbers in BEP 2.0 for every school district by following the link below.

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