Cheatham County Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a plan to draw up a resolution to encourage the state of Tennessee to release Basic Education Program (BEP) funding figures earlier.
The commission, which conducted the vote for the proposal during the body’s May 18 meeting via web teleconference, expressed concern that the numbers would not be released in time to assist with the creation of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
“I don’t know how we as a commission are expected to pass a budget when we don’t what the final numbers are,” said Gary Binkley, District One Commissioner.
Chairman Donnie Jordan said the timing of the release of the figures had been an “ongoing issue.”
Cheatham County Schools Director, Dr. Cathy Beck, said during the meeting that the state education department bases the figures on student attendance during certain months of the academic year, and that the figures are typically released in mid-July.
Commissioners approved a measure to allow copies of the resolution to be sent to the county’s state Representatives and Senators, as well as the Governor’s Office and the Tennessee Department of Education.
According to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, the BEP is the funding formula for the state’s K-12 schools, and represents a large portion of the state’s budget, approximately $4.8 billion. The BEP has two parts: a state portion, and a local match contributed by local school districts.
For more information on the BEP, read this explainer from the state: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/research-and-education-accountability/legislative-toolkit/bep.html.