Funding for Tennessee Schools
Tennessee schools are funded through the Basic Education Program (BEP). This formula generates a total amount of dollars needed per school system and it also determines the percentages of responsibilities between the state and local funding bodies.

Student enrollment, or Average Daily Membership (ADM), is the main factor in the BEP. The enrollment drives most components of the formula to generate funds (e.g., number of teachers, principals, nurses, and counselors needed per system).

The BEP is a very complex formula which consists of 45 individually calculated components. For more information on the formula, please visit

Attendance is Linked to Funding
Families and community members want schools to have the funding necessary to provide a safe environment and a quality education for all children. Though details of attaining funding and use of the monies received may seem complicated to some people, there are two areas in which everyone can contribute to their district’s funding of schools.

  1. Be aware of the details of property and sales tax discussions.
    Vote in elections when these school funding topics are reflected on the ballot. When elections are held, the schools need voter approval to secure funding for needs such as new schools, remodeling of schools, and additional technology.
  2. Make sure your child attends school.
    Student attendance data directly impacts school funding. In Tennessee, districts receive some money based on the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) data. Basically, the figure is calculated by dividing the total number of days present by the number of days taught within the prescribed period of accountability (20 days).

Having a good attendance record helps not only with your child’s learning experiences, but also supports the financial elements of operating a school. Because state funding is based on student attendance, when students are absent, schools lose money! However, all of the costs of operating a school continue at the same rate. This includes items such as teacher and staff pay, utilities, building and grounds maintenance.

Additional information about student attendance is located at the following site:

On the page that opens, scroll to Title 49 – Education, scroll to Chapter 6, then scroll to Part 30: Attendance. Numerous topics related to Attendance are located within Part 30.

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