Laws Impacting Tennessee Public Schools To Go Into Effect July 1

Monday, June 27, 2022

Tennessee Republican lawmakers this year approved a variety of new laws impacting Tennessee’s public schools that will go into effect July 1 — the beginning of the new fiscal year. Among these include legislation that will alleviate school staffing challenges, ensure fairness in girls’ sports and prohibit school computers from accessing obscene materials.  
 
Addressing ongoing staffing challenges in schools:
 
A bill that takes effect July 1 will remove barriers for retired members of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System to be reemployed as a K-12 teacher, K-12 substitute teacher, or as a K-12 bus driver without the loss or suspension of their TCRS benefits. Currently, retired members of TCRS may return to work, but only for a maximum of 120 days. Starting July 1, the limit will be extended to allow retired teachers to return to the classroom for up to one year while maintaining their retirement benefits. 
 
During the reemployment, retirement benefits would be reduced to 70 percent of the retirement allowance the member is otherwise entitled to receive, and the existing salary cap would be removed. This law will sunset on June 30, 2025. At that time, lawmakers will reevaluate the need for this measure given the current staffing situation for public schools in 2025.  
 
“This legislation will go a long way to alleviating the staffing crunch facing schools statewide,” said Senator Ken Yager, the sponsor of the legislation. “Many retirees are already helping their local school districts and want to continue to help, but are being held back by current requirements. This bill temporarily removes those barriers to provide much needed support in our schools.”

Ensuring fairness in girls’ sports:

On July 1, a bill sponsored by Senator Joey Hensley will be enacted to enforce legislation passed last year that prohibits biological males from participating in girls’ sports in public K-12 education institutions. The new law requires the Tennessee Department of Education to withhold a portion of state funds from public middle or high schools that fail or refuse to uphold state law by allowing biological males to compete in girls’ sports at public K-12 schools. 
 
“When girls have to compete against biological males, who have a strength and power advantage, it’s just not fair,” said Senator Hensley. “This legislation simply ensures school districts are following existing law intended to maintain fairness in girls’ sports.”
 
Protecting children from inappropriate content:
 
Another new law that takes effect July 1 ensures vendors that contract with schools to provide internet services comply with state law prohibiting pornography and obscene materials from school computers. Sponsored by Senator Mike Bell, the legislation requires vendors to take steps to block any inappropriate content on school computers. If a provider fails to comply with the new law, then a LEA may withhold further payments to the provider and ultimately consider non-compliance a breach of contract. 
 
The law also requires each local board of education to establish a mechanism for parents to report a failure of the technology selected by the LEA to prevent access to harmful materials, and submit an annual report to the State Board of Education on the successes or failures of the technology.
 
Other bills impacting Tennessee public schools that take effect July 1 include:
 
Establishing a 10-point grading scale for Tennessee schools:
 
To align with neighboring states, the General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Powers to establish a 10-point grading scale for grades nine through 12 in schools statewide. Tennessee is currently on a seven-point grading scale. 
 
This change will make it easier for Tennessee high school students to compete with out-of-state students for competitive scholarships and college admissions based on GPA. 
 
Expanding human trafficking training in schools: 
 
A new law, sponsored by Senator Todd Gardenhire will require all school employees to be trained to detect and prevent human trafficking of children. Previously, only teachers were required to take the training. Under this new law, all personnel that aren’t contractors, including bus drivers, janitors or cafeteria workers, will be required to undergo the same human trafficking training as teachers every three years. It ensures other staff will have the training to know how to identify abuse and report it. 
 
Revising teacher evaluation criteria: 
 
A new law requires greater consideration of student achievement in teacher evaluations. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Hensley, lowers the teacher observation component of the evaluation from 50 percent to 40 percent and increases the student achievement component from 15 percent to 25 percent to more adequately measure the proficiency of students.
 
Find a list of more bills that will go into effect on July 1, 2022 here.


C.O.A.G. Scholarship Awarded To Paige Blakemore Of Flintstone

Cleveland State To Offer Evening CNA Program

Chattanooga State TCAT Receives VETS Campus Certification


Paige Blakemore of Flintstone, a 2022 Ridgeland High School graduate, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Constitutional Officers' Association of Georgia Thursday. Ms. Blakemore will ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Community College is accepting applications for its evening Certified Nursing Assistant program. This is the Tennessee approved Nurse Aide Training class for individuals ... (click for more)

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Chattanooga State Community College became second TCAT in Tennessee to receive a VETS Campus certification by the State of Tennessee Higher Education ... (click for more)



Student Scene

C.O.A.G. Scholarship Awarded To Paige Blakemore Of Flintstone

Paige Blakemore of Flintstone, a 2022 Ridgeland High School graduate, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Constitutional Officers' Association of Georgia Thursday. Ms. Blakemore will attend Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga. later this summer, where she will major in mass communications. Georgia's 636 Constitutional Officers' are comprised of ... (click for more)

Cleveland State To Offer Evening CNA Program

Cleveland State Community College is accepting applications for its evening Certified Nursing Assistant program. This is the Tennessee approved Nurse Aide Training class for individuals desiring to become licensed as CNA’s in the state of Tennessee. The nurse aide is a specially trained individual who works at an entry-level position under the supervision of a licensed nurse. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Strong Storm With Lightning Strikes Keeps Firefighters Busy On Saturday Night

The weather made way for a very busy Saturday night for the Chattanooga Fire Department. As a result of severe thunderstorms, Green Shift companies responded to many calls across the city, including wires down, flooding, motor vehicle crashes and several residential fires believed to be caused by lightning strikes. One of the residential fires occurred in the 4000 block of Caine ... (click for more)

Man, 79, Killed In Wreck Near Soddy Daisy On Friday Afternoon

A 79-year-old man was killed in a wreck on Highway 27 near Soddy Daisy on Friday afternoon. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Phillip Morris was going south when he veered across the median and struck a vehicle heading north. The driver of the other vehicle was 28-year-old Tera Denton, who suffered unknown injuries. (click for more)

Opinion

Rest In Peace, Larry Wallace

Athens and Tennessee lost a great friend and a long-time public servant when Larry Wallace passed away Saturday afternoon. The 1962 McMinn County High School graduate started his lifetime law enforcement career with the Athens Police Department in 1964. He joined the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 1967 and was appointed as a special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of ... (click for more)

Election Day Observations - And Response

Congratulations to all the winners in Thursday's election. And also thanks to all who ran, it takes a lot of courage to enter the arena of politics. I didn't vote for Weston in the primary but I certainly did in the general election. I think he will do a wonderful job. Sabrena, I voted for you but I would imagine your career is over after one of the dumbest political stunts I ... (click for more)