Proposed budget prioritizes education improvements

GIVE Act expanding access to vocational and technical training advances through the Senate Education Committee

The centerpiece of Governor Lee’s 2019-2020 budget is funding for a series of proposals designed to improve education opportunities for Tennessee students, preparing them for the jobs of the future. This includes $25 million for the Governor’s Investment in Vocation Education (GIVE) Act, expanding access to vocational and technical training for Tennessee students.  The legislation authorizing the program was approved by the Senate Education Committee this week.

Senate Bill 805 is a two-pronged approach that utilizes regional partnerships to develop work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities.  GIVE also provides funding for high school juniors and seniors to utilize four, fully-funded dual enrollment credits for trade and technical programs. Previously, high school students only had access to two fully-funded dual enrollment credits. With access to four credits, students will now be better prepared for entry into the workforce within two years of graduation.

Two grant programs will fund the initiative: GIVE Community Grants and GIVE Student Grants. Using the framework of the state’s Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP), the governor will recommend new funding to support work-based learning through GIVE Community Grants. These competitive grants will go to regional partnerships between TCATs, industry, and K-12 to build new programs in work-based learning and apprenticeships, market-driven dual-credit opportunities, and the expansion of industry-informed CTE offerings at local high schools.

GIVE Student Grants will be funded via the Tennessee Lottery and support expanded access to dual enrollment.

In addition to the GIVE Act, other key proposals in the budget to improve education and support teachers and students include:

  • $71 million for a pay raise for teachers and school personnel across Tennessee and professional development programming;
  • $175 million in new funding to support teachers and students in the state’s traditional public schools;
  • $30 million in new funds, to be combined with $10 million in recurring funds, to provide  school safety grants to better protect teachers and students;
  • $25 million for an Education Savings Account (ESA) pilot program to serve low-income students in districts with three or more schools ranked in the bottom 10 percent, with no loss of funding for the school district in which the pupil leaves;
  • $12 million to double the amount of facility funding available to public charter schools and provide new criteria for access to public facilities;
  • $5.45 million for the Future Workforce Initiative to increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training in K-12 schools;
  • $4.5 million to support a three-year pilot program to provide support services for high school students in Tennessee’s 15 distressed counties; and
  • $500,000 to support and recognize those schools that prioritize teaching our nation’s history and civic values.
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