Casada, Sargent favor school funding lawsuit

Responding to a question from Williamson County School Superintendent Mike Looney, House Republican Caucus Chairman Glenn Casada and House Finance Chairman Charles Sargent both said they think another lawsuit is warranted against Tennessee’s school funding process, according to The Tennessean.

Looney said that he was concerned about state education funding, particularly in light of Williamson County Schools’ rapid growth, which is projected to continue. Next year, he said, the district is slated to grow by more than 1,800 students.

Sargent responded that because he believes Williamson schools get back a relatively small portion of the tax dollars the county sends to the state under the current formula, “Yes, I do think at some point in time Williamson County is going to have to look at suing the state.”

He added that, “I usually wouldn’t say that, but with the way the formula works … several districts are in the same boat we are.”

Casada, meanwhile, said that litigation could be a solution in the absence of a funding formula that is, as he put it, “simple, that’s understandable and that’s fair.”

“The problem we have in Tennessee is that this formula we have called BEP is so complicated and so convoluted that every school district in the state has standing to sue because they’re not getting what they should be,” he said.

Note: Separate lawsuits over BEP funding have already been filed by six Southeastern Tennessee school districts and by the Shelby County school system.