Science

The Basic Education Program, or BEP, is the funding formula for Tennessee’s K-12 public schools. The BEP represents a huge portion of the state budget – over $4.3 billion, or more than a quarter of total state dollars in the budget. The BEP formula is also exceedingly complex. The Comptroller’s Office has repeatedly called for independent verification of the BEP given the magnitude of taxpayer funds involved, and for the formula to be made as transparent and understandable as possible.

The Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) has attempted to answer this need on all three fronts by recalculating and verifying the BEP formula, explaining the computation of all 45 components in detail, and making the calculation publicly available for all Tennesseans. The resulting BEP Calculator, available for download below, uses input data for student enrollment, unit costs, and other factors to reconstruct the entire BEP calculation from scratch. Users can run the BEP for any combination of districts and counties and input new unit costs – teacher salaries, insurance premiums, etc. – to see the impact of different inputs on BEP allocations.

Download OREA's BEP Calculator for FY 2016-2017

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Requires Microsoft Office 2013 or later. Users with Office 2010: Click here to download the updated insurance figures, effective January 2017. Click here to download the original data.

Download User Guide

Calculator not working?

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If you receive this error message when trying to run the Calculator, please use the Office 2010 version, available for download underneath the blue button.

Calculating the BEP independently from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) allowed OREA to identify several issues with the formula. OREA then recalculated the BEP with changes to address these issues to determine their overall effect. The size of OREA’s changes are negligible relative to overall BEP dollars: in total, districts lost $835,000 in state funding and gained an additional $1,197,000 for a net statewide increase of $362,000 in state dollars. Of the $4.3+ billion statewide total, this discrepancy represents a 0.00825 percent difference between TDOE’s calculation and OREA’s changes. No individual district experienced more than a 0.22 percent loss or gain in its final state share, and 37 districts saw no change in funding. For an analysis of OREA’s changes, please see the BEP Analysis document and the accompanying Analysis Details Spreadsheet below.

OREA brought these changes to the attention of TDOE in late September 2016; in response, TDOE stated that it intends to apply these changes to its calculation in the upcoming fiscal year 2017-18.


Analysis Details Spreadsheet
updated insurance
original

Carolynn Polanchek, Associate Legislative Research Analyst
 Carolynn.Polanchek@cot.tn.gov    (615) 401-7972


Fiscal Year 2016-17 BEP Financial Data by District

Click here for a larger, searchable version of this map.


BEP formula base$4,204,743,000
ADM growth and unit cost inflation40,400,000
Instructional salary unit cost increase104,600,000
12th month of health insurance29,480,000
Additional technology funding15,000,000
Lowered English learner ratios13,901,000
Changes in minimum funding adjustments6,483,000
Condensed special education options4,801,000
January insurance premium rate increase15,186,600
Total BEP formula funds$4,434,594,600

In addition to money used to fund the formula, growth funding and teacher salary equity funds are included in the BEP appropriation:

BEP formula$4,434,594,600
Growth funding19,000,000
Teacher salary equity funds14,500,000
Sevier County supplement1,840,00
Total BEP appropiation$4,469,934,600

Any unspent BEP funds revert to the General Fund at the end of the fiscal year. In fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15, approximately $7.6 million and $6.9 million reverted, respectively.