Sycamore Wins Two National Awards for Our Research & Analysis

GRA Award Winner 2023

Last week, the Sycamore Institute received two national awards from the Governmental Research Association (GRA) at its 110th annual conference hosted by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The first award, presented for Best Short-Form Writing, was for an op-ed written by Executive Director Brian Straessle, entitled “Make court fees and fines more consistent and transparent.” The piece, published in The Tennessean and other newspapers across the state, centered on criminal fees and fines and how similar crimes can incur different costs based on where the crime happened.

The second award, Most Effective Education on a Regional/Multi-Jurisdictional Issue, was awarded based on Sycamore’s work last year on K-12 education funding in Tennessee. In 2022, Tennessee overhauled its previous education funding formula in favor of the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA), the topic of this winning series of research briefs, data tools, and testimony.

  1. Fiscal Capacity 101: A Key Factor in K-12 Education Funding in Tennessee
  2. TISA 101: Student & School District Characteristics that Boost K-12 Funding
  3. How Does TISA Affect School Districts’ Local Funding Requirements?
  4. Legislative Testimony to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
  5. Tennessee’s New Education Funding Formula: What’s in Law and What’s Left to Decide?

GRA awards recognize exceptional research, education, and communications work by organizations that conduct civic and governmental research across the U.S. To learn more about the GRA or what’s happening with public policy in other parts of the country, visit

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