Tennessee counties file class action against state over school funding

Posted on: June 24th, 2015 by Steve Larson

school busThe Hamilton County Department of Education has filed a class action lawsuit against the Tennessee Basic Education Program.  Every school district in Tennessee could be part of the lawsuit involving a school funding formula if a judge grants a motion to grant it class-action status.

The suit claims the state has “breached its duty under the Tennessee Constitution to provide a system of free public education for the children of this state.”

The lawsuit argues the state doesn’t provide enough funding for numerous expenses, including teacher pay and health insurance. The state underestimates by about $10,000 what teachers are actually paid, the lawsuit says, and pays only for 10 months of teachers’ 12 months of insurance.

The lawsuit is being funded by Hamilton County. The smaller districts aren’t paying, but Bennett said they will provide data to support the argument that the General Assembly continues to underfund education despite years of recommendations from the Basic Education Program Review Committee to increase funding.