TSBA Legislative Institute

Members of the Haywood County School board joined some of the HCS leadership team in Nashville on February 14-15 to gain a better understanding of the current legislation being presented that could impact public education across the state.  

Attorneys for the Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA) presented a list of bills currently in legislation that the TSBA supports as well as a list of bills that the TSBA opposes.  Below are a few bills from each list that could directly impact HCS and the work being done to support our community and our schools:

Bills the TSBA Supports

SB 1887/HB 1912

  • Allows a district to provide up to ten days of remote instruction per year
  • Can be a class, school, or all schools
  • Must occur due to weather or outbreaks of illness
  • State assessments must be in-person

This would allow districts some much needed flexibility during tenuous circumstances such as a pandemic, severe weather, or any other situation that could arise that would cause the need for a district to use remote learning as an option.  

SB 1890/HB 1860

  • Teachers may use the results from benchmark assessments as measures of students’ achievement.
  • This would be in a category weighted at 15 percent
  • LEAS and Schools may use results from benchmark assessments to measure student performance and growth 

This bill would allow teachers and districts to use results from benchmark assessments that are given multiple times throughout the year as a way to measure student growth and achievement as well as be used as data points for teachers and districts when being evaluated.  This is especially encouraging for HCS as we have seen positive growth through benchmark assessments so far this school year.

SB 2321/HB 2138

  • Allows the use of results from the 2020/2021 TCAP tests to be used when determining AMO’s for the 21-22 year
  • Previous legislation prevented the use of 20-21 TCAP scores
  • Other option would be 18-19 TCAP scores                                                                                                                                                      This bill would allow districts and schools to use data from the 2020-2021 school year as a baseline for comparison against test scores from the 2021-2022 school year.  Comparing these data points would give educators a clearer idea of how much learning loss has been addressed over the course of this school year.  

Bills the TSBA Opposes

SB 1674/HB 1671

  • Expands eligibility for the ESA
  • Students zoned to attend or attending a school in the ASD
  • Students zoned to attend a school in a district that did not offer 180 days on in-person learning between 9/1 2022 to 2025

This bill is one of several that push school vouchers and the establishment of charter schools.  It would penalize schools who may need to offer virtual learning because of widespread sickness or weather related incidents.  It would also expand the eligibility for school vouchers which would pull money from public education.

SB 2124/HB 2468

  • Contains a provision that allows a charter school to enroll students from outside the geographic boundaries of the LEA where the school is located

This would be specifically harmful to HCS and surrounding rural counties.  A charter school application has already been filed in Madison County, and this bill would permit that school to enroll students outside of Madison County to enroll should the charter school get approved.  This would set a harmful precedent and would have the potential to decrease public education funding in Haywood County.

SB 2168/HB 2833

  • Allows institutions of higher education to authorize charter schools
  • Allows a charter to lease at no cost or purchase for 1.00 underutilized and vacant property

Another bill advocating for charter schools.  This would allow private institutions to authorize charter schools and implement curriculum for charter schools while using taxpayer money.  This bill would also allow charter schools to lease or purchase underutilized or vacant properties in areas where the charter school is seeking to establish a school.  

These bills are only a few of many that are currently being discussed and filed pertaining to education.  Some of these bills would be helpful to Haywood County and some would be detrimental.  Please contact Representative Chris Hurt and Senator Page Walley and let them know that taxpayer money should only fund public schools. 

Not only was current legislation discussed, the TSBA also stressed the importance of evolving educational opportunities for students that revolve around Career and Technical Education pathways.  Haywood County Schools was mentioned specifically as a district that has these programs in place as well being the epicenter of change with the arrival of Blue Oval City.  

As we move forward as a community and a district, it is vital that we have a unified voice in support of public education as well as the diligence to continue to move forward with the programs that are providing HCS students with options for postsecondary success whether that be job opportunities, TCAT, community college, or a four year university.