Education Funding

Cigarette-Tax Increase to Raise School Funds

By Lesli A. Maxwell — June 19, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2006 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.


Education initiatives dominated this year’s legislative session in Tennessee, keeping with an agenda outlined in January by Gov. Phil Bredesen to increase funding for public schools while demanding more accountability from them.

Gov. Phil Bredesen
16 Democrats
16 Republicans
1 Independent
53 Democrats
46 Republicans

A tripling of the state tax on cigarettes, approved by lawmakers this month, is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for public education. Much of the revenue is to be spent at schools that serve high numbers of children deemed at risk of failure, such as English-language learners and low-income students. The 42-cent-per-pack increase, a priority for Gov. Bredesen, a Democrat, will boost the per-pack tax to 62 cents.

Lawmakers closed out the session last week with a vote to approve a $27.9 billion state budget for fiscal 2008. The spending document includes $25 million to expand Tennessee’s prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds by 250 classrooms statewide, bringing the total to nearly 800 classrooms.

The additional tax on cigarettes will pay for overhauling the state’s Basic Education Plan, the complex funding formula used to calculate the state and local shares for financing public schools. The new revenue will be used to help increase standards for student achievement, and provide for earlier interventions in schools that are failing to meet testing benchmarks. Some of the money also will be directed to fast-growing districts.

“We are raising the bar for education in Tennessee with these important reforms and the adoption of a funding source to sustain this progress,” the governor said in a statement.

The newly approved budget, which takes effect July 1, includes money to pay for a 3 percent pay raise for teachers around the state. Lawmakers also added $200 to student awards under the state’s lottery scholarship program, raising the award to $4,000 a year for four-year colleges and $2,000 a year for community colleges.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Tennessee. See data on Tennessee’s public school system.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 20, 2007 edition of Education Week

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Reported Essay Are We Asking Schools to Do Too Much?
Schools are increasingly being saddled with new responsibilities. At what point do we decide they are being overwhelmed?
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Education Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP