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Understanding Tennessee’s Maintenance of Effort in Education Laws


September 2015

Authors: Linda Wesson and Tara Bergfeld

Legislative Brief

Tennessee’s maintenance of effort laws ensure that local funds budgeted for schools do not decrease as state funding for schools increases. County commissions, city councils, and special school districts must budget at least the same total dollars for schools that they did the previous year to comply with maintenance of effort laws. This brief provides a history of Tennessee’s maintenance of effort requirements, describes how maintenance of effort is determined, and explains how maintenance of effort is related to the state’s education funding formula, the Basic Education Program.