Volunteer Public Trust

 Fund/K-12 Schools

   The General Assembly passed legislation making improvements to the Volunteer Public Trust fund for K-12 schools seeking to imitate the successful Chairs of Excellence Fund in higher education which has raised $395 million since its creation in 1985. The measure changes the fund’s structure to expand the pool of donors and creates an endowment where the interest can be used to assist with improvements or projects outside a school’s normal funding stream. 

   The new law designates the State Treasurer and the State Commissioner of Education as the fund’s trustees, restructuring it to mirror the Chairs of Excellence Fund. It creates subaccounts where money can be earmarked so donors can give to a specific school or the project.  Earmarking the funds for specific projects is one of the main reasons the Chairs of Excellence Fund has been highly successful. Public Chapter 379, effective May 10th, 2019.

TNReady Tests

   Final approval was given to legislation this session changing the way the TNReady test will be administered in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic school years. It requires that the TNReady test be administered in paper format for the 2019-2020 school year. Effective May 24th, 2019. As for the 2020-2021 academic year, the Local Education Agencies (LEAs) will be required to participate in an online verification test conducted by the Department of Education. The Commissioner of the Department of Education will then use the verification test results to determine which format to administer the TNReady test for that school year. Effective July 1st, 2019.

Grading Policies/

 K-12 Schools

   Legislation passed during the final week of legislative action prohibiting the State Board of Education from modifying the uniform grading system more than once every two years. Tennessee’s grading scale has changed in 2005, 2015, 2016, twice in 2017, and  2018, leaving freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors with different grading policies applying to them.  The new law helps prevent such frequent changes. Public Chapter 414, effective May 21st, 2019.

   As always, I am truly humbled and honored to be your voice on Capitol Hill. If there is every any issue I can assist with, please reach out to my office by calling 615-741-2190 or emailing me at rep.david.byrd@capitol.tn.gov. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and suggestions during the 111th General Assembly.

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