Andy Spears: Get Those Kids A Dome
Andy Spears makes an observation about funding priorities in Tennessee.
While Tennessee consistently receives low grades on its investment in schools and similarly low overall rankings in terms of student achievement, there is hope on the horizon.
For starters, the state has a multi-billion-dollar surplus that only continues to grow.
In fact, the Department of Finance and Administration reports that the projected surplus is getting very, very large:
Year-to-date revenues for six months were $2.15 billion more than the budgeted estimate. The general fund recorded $2.02 billion in revenues more than estimates, and the four other funds totaled $126.7 million more than year-to-date estimates.
A state with one of the lowest investments in public education in the country now has a record budget surplus. This, of course, means Tennessee could make great strides in shoring up an education budget that can best be described as severely lacking without raising taxes one dime. In fact, investing in schools with new state money would also have the added benefit of keeping local property taxes low. It’s a policymaker’s dream.
That’s why Gov. Bill Lee has announced his definitive TISA plan – Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement.
Apparently, a key element of that plan was just announced today:
A $500 million investment in a domed stadium in Nashville for the Tennessee Titans.
Sure, that really has nothing to do with student achievement or funding schools or anything at all related to education. It does, however, continue a trend of placing just about everything else above public schools when it comes to Lee’s priorities.