Tennessee School Board Association
Push 2009 Legislative Agenda
Leroy Tate Gary Ubben Bill Marcus - TLN Scott Newman
NOTE: Pictured Loudon County's Board of Education TSBA Delegates.
The BOE did not take a formal stand on the proposed taxing authority resolution and/or other legislative resolutions (see below) before delegates attended the Opryland junket; instead each delegate voted as they wished.
By: Pat Hunter
December 7, 2008
The Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA) just met in November at the Opryland Resort and delegates overwhelmingly approved the proposed 2009 Legislative Agenda. Next step, TSBA's lobbying efforts to start the ball rolling for a new law by the Tennessee General Assembly that would permit school boards to set property tax rates for school spending and budgets.
It came as no surprise that by a 65 percent margin, school board member delegates voted to move forward with proposed legislation to give school board taxing authority. Currently, counties and cities set property tax rates but school boards would like to change that.
The TSBA’s is proposing taxing authority legislation, which would require state lawmaker approval and an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution and voter approval. Although it will take more time then originally thought it will be a slow drawn out process for TSBA to achieve their ultimate goal of school board taxing authority.
The TSBA is also proposing other legislation in the upcoming 2009 legislative session. According to the website, the TSBA "supports legislation permitting boards of education to go into executive session for the purpose of contemplating prospective land purchases, evaluating the director of schools and conducting collective bargaining strategy sessions."
Why would the TSBA propose legislation that would circumvent the Open Meetings Sunshine Law that would permit school boards to go into executive session for the purpose of contemplating prospective land purchases, evaluating the director of schools and conducting collective bargaining strategy sessions?
The Loudon County Board of Education was involved in a Hwy. 321 land deal, which involved over $2 Million taxpayer dollars. Some school board members have questioned the purchase of this property and some feel that the property was purchased for far more than the property was worth. When former school board member Freddie Walker tried to discuss this matter at a school board meeting, he was quickly silenced, adding fuel to the fire about the sweetheart land deal.
Can you imagine another sweetheart land deal but this time State law says that its ok for the school board to do things in secrecy; what's wrong with that picture?
Why would the TSBA want to promote backroom deal making on land purchases or the evaluation of a school director when taxpayer monies are used for both? Why wouldn't the TSBA want to promote openness and transparency?
Why would the TSBA want to exclude parents, community citizens and taxpayers from details about land purchases, which use taxpayer monies? Also, why would the TSBA want to exclude parents and citizens regarding an evaluation of a school director? Both of these issues impact a child's education and ACCOUNTABILITY issues!
To see other proposed 2009 TSBA Legislative issues, see below. If you have any concerns about these proposed legislative matters, please voice your opinion to your elected officials.
Rep. Jimmy Matlock Rep. Dennis Ferguson Senator Randy McNally - Open Government meeting
Tennessee School Board Association 2009 Legislative Agenda
"The Tennessee School Boards Association will actively support legislation relative to these and other issues, as determined by our 2009 Resolutions and Position Statements."
Open Meetings/Executive Session
TSBA supports legislation permitting boards of education to go into executive session for the purpose of contemplating prospective land purchases, evaluating the director of schools and conducting collective bargaining strategy sessions.
Fiscal Independence - Taxing Authority
TSBA supports a constitutional amendment to provide fiscal independence taxing authority to boards of education.
TSBA supports removing the prohibition on the creation of special school districts.
Appointed Directors of Schools
TSBA supports the appointment of the director of schools by the board of education and opposes any measure to revert to the process of electing superintendents.
Basic Education Program/State Funding
TSBA supports full implementation and funding of BEP 2.0.
Maintenance of Effort/Local Funding
TSBA supports the revision of the definition of maintenance of effort to include an annual inflationary adjustment as well as legislation to prohibit local funding bodies from reducing the local effort made to public schools when the state increases its contribution to education.
Local Decision-Making and Flexibility
SBA supports maximum flexibility for boards of education, including legislation clearly permitting school districts to randomly drug test students who participate in voluntary extracurricular activities.
TSBA supports the recognition of principals as management personnel and the removal of principals from the teachers’ negotiating unit under the Education Professional Negotiations Act.