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
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?
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.
Carolynn Polanchek, Associate Legislative Research Analyst
Fiscal Year 2016-17 BEP Financial Data by District
for a larger, searchable version of this map.
|BEP formula base||$4,204,743,000|
|ADM growth and unit cost inflation||40,400,000|
|Instructional salary unit cost increase||104,600,000|
|12th month of health insurance||29,480,000|
|Additional technology funding||15,000,000|
|Lowered English learner ratios||13,901,000|
|Changes in minimum funding adjustments||6,483,000|
|Condensed special education options||4,801,000|
|January insurance premium rate increase||15,186,600|
|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:
|Teacher salary equity funds||14,500,000|
|Sevier County supplement||1,840,000|
|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.