(The Center Square) – The Tennessee Department of Education wants a $260 million increase in its base education funding and an overall $293.6 million budget increase for next fiscal year.
Commissioner Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds said the bulk of that increase is to fund the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement funding formula and teacher pay increases.
Legislation passed last year will incrementally raise the minimum teacher pay in the state to $44,500 next year before it hits $50,000 in 2026-27.
“This request continues to support district in the next step of increasing teacher salaries in alignment with the legislation passed last year,” Reynolds said.
Deputy Commissioner of Operations Sam Pearcy said the funding request is equivalent to around $1.7 billion in increased state funding to the department annually since 2019.
The department also asked for $2.5 million to pay for a Universal Reading Screener the state is required to provide free to schools along with $4.8 million for cybersecurity and district support, $3.2 million for college, career and technical education and Advanced Placement Access for All along with an additional $1 million for workforce development.