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School board opposes house, senate budget control bills

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The Tipton County Board of Education and Director of Schools, Buddy Bibb, signed a resolution at its school board meeting Thursday, March 13, stating that it opposed House bills 2250 and 2293, as well as Senate Bill 0677.

The resolution, submitted by school board member Farrel Vincent, was unanimously signed by the board. 

“The Tipton County Board of Education opposes HB 2293 seeking to limit Boards of Education ability to participate in legislation affecting the public education system.”

“HB 2293 was passed with an amendment on Tuesday and no longer effects the Tipton County Schools system,” said Vincent, as control remains with the Board of Education. 

HB 2293 is regarding out-of-state agencies lobbying legislatures in an effort to make money off of Tennessee school systems. 

“Many of these companies and organizations are out of state companies and organizations who are spending significant sums of money to advance their agenda through television advertising and lobbying,” stated the resolution.

“A lot of these changes are about the money and these companies are looking to make a profit,” said Vincent, referring to new testing materials and textbooks.

HB 2293 has moved on to the Senate, with an amendment and would become effective for the 2015 fiscal year.

“The Tipton County Board of Education opposes HB 2250 seeking to restrict local Boards of Education ability to control its own budget.”

 The bill, sponsored by Tate Rep. Glen Casada of Williamson County, allows the county commission, an elected entity, to cut down the budget if more than 10 percent is allocated to administrative costs.  

“These bills are unprecedented, giving another elected entity authority to veto every line item of the school board’s budget,” said Vincent. “We wouldn’t have had a problem with it, because we get along well with the county commission, but there are other school districts in Tennessee that had this bill passed in its prior format, things could have been very difficult for them.”

If passed in both the House and  Senate, the bill would become effective for the 2015 fiscal year. It passed the House's Local Government Committee on Wednesday.

“The Tipton County Board of Education opposes SB 0677 seeking to vest certain control over local Board of Education matters to the State of Tennessee's appointed Commissioner of Education.”

A fiscal rating system is assigned to schools via the Senate Bill 0677, or the Fiscal State Tracking and Accountability Report (STAR) System Act, sponsored by state Sen. Dolores R. Gresham of District 26.

The rating system would award stars to public schools based on their fiscal responsibilities, i.e. financial operations and outcomes. The star rating, from one to five, with five as excellent, would be on the commissioner’s website, with a three year tracking period. 

If a school receives two or less stars, then they are placed on an intervention track, including transferring the responsibility of allocating the school’s funds to an appointed direct report of the commissioner of education, thus bypassing the board of education. 

For more information on these bills, go to capitol.tn.gov.


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