A bill that would broaden access to charter schools in Tennessee has cleared another hurdle.
Members of the K-12 subcommittee of the Tennessee House Education Committee voted, in a 7-to-5 split on Wednesday, to advance the bill. A companion bill in the Senate is awaiting a floor vote.
Mayor Karl Dean, who advocated to committee members on the bill’s behalf, said Wednesday that he is encouraged by the vote. He’ll speak to legislators again if he’s invited, he said.
“It’s a long process, going through the legislature, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Dean said. “If invited, I will return. It’s their process and I want to be as helpful as I can be.”
Nashville Board of Education member Alan Coverstone, who spoke to the committee as a leader of a Metro school district charter school work group, is also pleased with the decision.
“I’m optimistic. I recognize that the whole thing represents a new way of thinking about the relationship between charter schools and school districts,” Coverstone said Wednesday. “I’m just asking people to keep an open mind and think through the argument. I don’t think we have all the answers, but I think people are beginning to see it in a different way.”
The House bill is sponsored by Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jamie Woodson, (R-Knoxville), and Rep. Beth Harwell, (R-Nashville).