Statement from Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham regarding Great Hearts Academy

(NASHVILLE, TN), September18 , 2012 – Following please find a statement from Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) regarding the withholding approximately $3.4 million from Metro Nashville Public Schools due to Metro Nashville School Board’s disregard for following Tennessee’s Public Charter School Law as it concerns Great Hearts Academy:

“It is clear that the Metro School Board voted twice to break the law and stand against giving parents the choices afforded to them under Tennessee statutes to help their child have more opportunities to succeed,” said Chairman Gresham.  “We must hold these elected officials accountable for their decision to break the law.”  

“I applaud the action of the Tennessee Department of Education.  Their action to withhold administrative, not classroom funds, does not punish students and is the correct course to take to demonstrate to the errant members of the school board that you cannot deliberately break the law without consequences,” she concluded.  

Below please find the release from the Department of Education:

State to Withhold Administrative Funding from Metro Nashville Public Schools for State Law Violation

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Education today informed Metro Nashville Public Schools that the state is withholding approximately $3.4 million of non-classroom, administrative funding from the school system, as a consequence of the district’s refusal to follow state law.

The money represents the non-classroom components of the state’s Basic Education Program funding formula. The state is withholding this portion of October’s funds based on the Metro Nashville Public School Board’s refusal to follow Tennessee’s charter school law in its meetings on Aug. 14 and Sept. 11. The state chose the non-classroom funds to mitigate the impact on students.

“We were all hopeful that Metro Nashville’s school board would obey the law and avoid this situation,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “It is our job to enforce state law, and we have no choice but to take this action.”

The department intends to reallocate the funds to other districts in Tennessee using the state funding formula.

Speaker of the House Beth Harwell noted that the Metro school board had multiple chances to comply with state law.

“The Metro Nashville school board had two chances to follow the law, and twice it chose to not do so. This is the consequence,” she said.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey agreed, saying he supported the decision to uphold the law.

“The Metro Nashville school board’s brazen defiance of state law limited options for thousands of Nashville parents and their children,” Ramsey said. “The rule of law is not optional in Tennessee. Those who break it must be held accountable.”

For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at (615) 532-7817 or [email protected].

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