Legislative Priorities

  • The Knox County Board of Education has identified the following legislative priorities for 2021:

    Funding for Public Education

    The Knox County Board of Education believes it is crucial to the future of our state that the Legislature invests more in public education, to adequately fund our public schools.

    State-mandated programs and/or responsibilities must, without exception, be accompanied by 100% state funding for all direct and indirect costs, and without corresponding reduction of state financial support in any other areas of public education. Waivers should occur whenever 100% state funding is not received.

    State legislative bodies and regulatory agencies should determine the full impact on local school systems before taking action on proposed legislation, regulations and/or guidelines related to education.


    Local Control of Schools

    The Knox County Board of Education believes that local boards of education are best equipped and informed to make decisions to address the needs and challenges of their local schools.


    The Knox County Board of Education urges the General Assembly to amend the BEP formula to include:

     Full Funding for Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) positions within school districts.

    • Funding for School Nurses, Counselors, Social Workers, and Mental Health Professionals:
      • School Nurses: 1 nurse per 750 students1
      • Guidance Counselors: 1 counselor per 250 students2
      • Social Workers: 1 social worker per 250 students3
      • Mental Health Professionals: Additional funding for mental health workers and supports.
    • Funding for Teacher Salaries: Funding for the total number of teachers each individual school is required to employ to meet student teacher ratios under state law.
    • Hold Harmless BEP Funding: Student enrollment (average daily membership - ADM) is the primary component which generates BEP funding. However, school districts across the state are experiencing reductions in student enrollment likely as a result of COVID-19 concerns. Since this could seriously impact BEP funding, the Knox County Board of Education believes that school districts experiencing reductions in ADM should be held harmless such that 2021-2022 BEP allocations would not be negatively impacted as a result of any decrease in average daily membership.


    Teacher Performance Evaluation

    Hold Teachers Harmless: Due to COVID-19 and its detrimental impact on educational instruction the Knox County Board of Education believes that teachers’ Level of Overall Effectiveness scores should be decoupled from state testing, and student achievement data should have no bearing on individual teacher evaluations for the 20/21 school year.


    School Vouchers

    The Knox County Board of Education supports school choice within the public school district / LEA and opposes any legislation to create a voucher program in TN, diverting public money to private schools.  Private schools are not required to serve all students or meet Tennessee’s standard accountability measures. Vouchers diminish equal opportunity and public oversight of education.


    School Grading

    The Knox County Board of Education opposes legislation requiring the A-F grading of public schools. We would like to see an accountability system that does not stigmatize students, schools and communities.


    1. Recommendation of BEP Review Committee, the National Association of Nurses, the American Association of Pediatrics and the CDC.
    2. Recommendation of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).
    3. Recommendation of the National Association of Social Workers and the School Social Work Association of America.