School Board sign

Recently released information from the Tennessee Department of Education’s annual “Report Card,” which measures academic performance, lists Franklin County’s students at the bottom in a 14-county surrounding area.

However, annual per-pupil expenditures ranked fifth highest among the school systems compared.

Compared to statewide results, where 27.8 percent of Tennessee’s students scored as being on track or mastering annual state tests, Franklin County was at 18.9 percent.

Lincoln County was well above the state average at 34.9 percent.

Ahead of Franklin County were:

  • Lewis County at 30.6 percent.
  • Marshall County at 29.0 percent.
  • Lawrence County at 27.8 percent.
  • Moore County at 27.5 percent.
  • Tullahoma at 24.3 percent.
  • Marion County at 24.0 percent.
  • Coffee County at 23.8 percent.
  • Bedford County at 23.1 percent.
  • Sequatchie County at 23.1 percent.
  • Warren County at 22.2 percent.
  • Giles County at 21.0 percent.
  • Grundy County at 19.6 percent.

Franklin County Mayor David Alexander said the local School System needs to work on improving student scores. He said when prospective industries consider locating in Franklin County, they heavily weigh how well students are achieving academically.

“The information speaks for itself,” he said, referring to where Franklin County’s students stand in the Report Card statistics.

With per-pupil annual expenditures, Franklin County ranked fifth among the same 14 school systems.

They include:

  • Moore County at $11,322 per pupil.
  • Tullahoma at $10,570.
  • Grundy County at $10,067.
  • Coffee County at $9,741.
  • Franklin County at $9,701.
  • Giles County at $9,593.
  • Warren County at $9,408.
  • Lewis County at $9,390.
  • Marion County at $8,912,
  • Marshall County at $8,884.
  • Lawrence County at $8,732.
  • Lincoln County at $8,714.
  • Sequatchie County at $8,605.
  • Bedford County at $8,264.

Kim Tucker, elementary curriculum instruction supervisor; Leah Harrell, secondary curriculum instruction supervisor; and Jenny Crabtree, the School System’s testing coordinator, recently updated the School Board on how students have fared academically through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tucker said Franklin County’s students have lost academic ground. However, she said she was glad the conditions weren’t worse than what they were.

 “Last year was a little odd because we didn’t have students in school very much,” Tucker said, referring to how online learning substituted for attending classes on campus. “I’m pleased we didn’t lose as much as we could have because of COVID, but we’ve got work to do. I feel pretty good about where we are, but some think it’s a little rocky.”

However, Tucker said Franklin County’s students aren’t as bad off as some in other school systems.

The Shelby County School System had 11 percent of its students on track or mastering annual state tests while Metro Nashville Public Schools was at 15.9 percent. Nashville’s per-pupil expenditures were at $12,374 while Shelby County’s was $11,168.

“Ultimately, we didn’t do as well as we would have liked, but we didn’t lose as much ground as others in the state,” Tucker said.

She said the objective is to take the state information and use it to improve student performance and make up lost ground.

"It’s like bricks in a house,” Tucker said. “You can’t build until the bricks at the base are taken care of.”