In the numbers game, comes this release from Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett’s Office. Apparently school funding is just fine, Burchett said:
While some would have the public believe that Knox County does not provide enough support to the Knox County Schools, the reality is that our local per-pupil spending in Knox County is higher than nearly 92 percent of the state.
“The $4,835 Knox County taxpayers spend in local revenue per pupil is nearly 30 percent higher than the statewide average of local per-pupil spending on education,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “The fact that adding state funding to Knox County’s per-pupil spending amount drops our ranking from 11th to 51st shows that any funding issue that may exist for Knox County Schools is the result of a disparity in state funding, not local revenue. The solution to this problem needs to be found in Nashville, not in Knox County, where some want to raise taxes or raid our reserves.”
When comparing only county school districts, Knox County ranks fourth out of 95 counties in the state in local per-pupil funding.
“I would encourage the board of education and the public to contact the Knox County legislative delegation and ask for their support in addressing this state funding problem,” said Mayor Burchett.”
So the math here is what Knox County only spends. Add the state funding in, and the figure drops.
And the easy argument against that point would be the BEP funding that the state recently recalibrated. Based on the county’s ability to tax – its fiscal capacity – the state formula says that there could be more money raised locally.
Again, as noted in today’s KNS story, elected officials are trotting out numbers to make their cases.
The Tennessee Education Association – a group that, understandably, is all for more school spending – says Knox ranks much lower on per pupil in average daily attendance, in 2011-12. The same website says that the county is third in fiscal capacity.