Employees of Tullahoma City Schools who live outside the city limits will no longer need to worry about paying tuition for their children to attend school where they work.
The Tullahoma School Board voted unanimously Monday night to waive tuition for all TCS employees. By waiving tuition, board members believe they can recruit more educators to the area, giving more potential applicants incentive to come to and stay in Tullahoma.
Per district policy, any child living outside of the Tullahoma City limits must either attend the school for which they are zoned or pay a fee to attend school in Tullahoma.
This also applies to the children of TCS faculty and staff if they live outside the city limits. Tuition fees vary according to a child’s grade level, according to district officials.
The move has been debated by the school board for several months as part of a discussion on how to best recruit and retain employees.
While several ideas were discussed at a previous study session, including reducing the tuition amount across the board, board member Jessica Fogarty suggested waiving the tuition for all employees instead.
Director of Schools John Carver said Monday he supported the idea, calling it a “benefit” for the district in recruiting employees who don’t live within the city limits.
By waiving tuition fees for the children of potential employees, the district should be able to attract more people from out of the area to come work in Tullahoma.
Waiving the tuition for employees does mean a loss in those fees for the district; however, Carver reminded the board and those attending the Monday night meeting that state funds would follow those students who move into TCS from other districts.
The Tennessee Basic Education Program (BEP) provides funds to public schools in the state based on how many students attend school in any one district, Carver said.
If TCS manages to gain students from other districts, the BEP funding for each of those students thus moves to Tullahoma.
“In the event that we do allow the students in [from other districts], that … BEP money would follow them, too,” he said. “We may be losing some of that tuition money, but we would be gaining money coming in from other districts.”
Carver recommended the policy pass, and the board unanimously agreed.
Erin McCullough may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.