District 41 Representative John Windle said his main takeaway from the Tennessee House Education Committee session Tuesday was how to guarantee state BEP funding.
House members met with Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn and several superintendents from across the state.
“We are in flux this fall, and it is just not fair to penalize the local school system which penalizes the county tax payer by cutting funds out this year,” Windle said. “We need to have a hold harmless year for a year and then take a look at it for the next school year.”
Windle said he left the briefing surprised by the number of virtual learners statewide.
Schwinn came under fire from lawmakers about missteps during the COVID outbreak and, in particular, the reopening of schools statewide over the last two months. Windle said he is glad the department is allowing school systems make their own decisions.
“I am glad that the department of education has left most of the decisions up to local decision making,” Windle said. “I think the decisions are best made in Jamestown, Livingston or Gainesboro as opposed to Nashville dictating all the rules. I think that the schools in the Upper Cumberland overall have done a good job trying to adapt to what the situation has been.”
Windle said members of the state legislature agree that Tennessee must provide each school system the same amount of money as last year.