Oak Hill commissioners frustrated with MNPS over portable classroom, lack of cooperation

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 11:58pm

The city of Oak Hill’s Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to deny Metro Nashville Public Schools’ permit request for a new portable classroom at an elementary school situated in the affluent satellite city.

But there’s one problem: The portable classroom — a blue structure, described as an eyesore by some neighbors — is already in use.

At issue is a new portable classroom at Glendale Spanish Immersion School on Thompson Avenue in Oak Hill. According to Oak Hill officials, Metro schools’ permit application didn’t address setbacks, elevation, drainage, traffic or other guidelines, making the portable classroom noncompliant with the city’s zoning ordinance.

Nevertheless, Metro schools installed the Glendale portable classroom for the new school year, even though the Oak Hill commissioners say they reached out to the district over the summer to address its application’s shortcomings.

“I would hope that they would follow the process,” Oak Hill Mayor Austin McMullen said moving forward, adding that Oak Hill would “investigate other alternatives” to get Metro schools to comply if the district is unwilling.

He said Oak Hill has started to take property owners to court for failing to adhere to zoning guidelines. “I don’t want to take anybody to court –– whether it’s Metro schools, or you, or me, or whoever.”

Metro schools did not have a representative at Tuesday’s commission meeting to present the district’s argument. The City Paper was unable to reach MNPS officials for comment Tuesday evening.

McMullen said Oak Hill has built a “much more cooperative relationship” with Metro under Mayor Karl Dean than during previous mayoral administrations. But he suggested that relationship doesn’t extend to the school district.

“We haven’t made as much progress with MNPS,” McMullen said. “That’s not to say anything bad about the parents or students at Glendale or any of the other schools ... but there’s something not connecting higher up in the administration it seems like.

“This trailer is the most recent example of that,” he said.

Earlier this year, Oak Hill inspectors found several codes violations at John Overton High School that they said presented safety concerns. According to McMullen, the district wouldn’t allow inspectors back into the high school to monitor whether safety hazards had been fixed.

Other Hillsboro cluster elementary schools — including Julia Green and Percy Priest — utilize multiple portable classrooms, prompting some parents to request that a new elementary school be pegged for the area to ease the overcrowding.

9 Comments on this post:

By: Res Ipsa Loquitur on 8/29/12 at 3:09

Too funny! It has been well-documented that the City of Oak Hill has a history of electing some corrupt characters who fail to fully comply with the law. Therefore, I would think if MNPS would simply hire counsel with some ties to the current officials this could easily be resolved by making a few payments/fees to the City of Oak Hill. However, maybe that only works for the private institutions. ;-) #GoodOl'BoyNetwork

By: Rasputin72 on 8/29/12 at 6:06

The City of Oak Hill and their willy nilly government is the third leading joke in Davidson County. The first is the MNPS system, The second is the Davidson County Mayor.

By: artsmart on 8/29/12 at 8:48

Rasputin I agree with you. Kinda scary for me though.

By: Left-of-Local on 8/29/12 at 9:31

GOOD! Stick it to MNPS. They need to BUILD SCHOOLS, not tow in more portables. My child is at Haywood, and it is AWFUL on portables. They're a horrid solution in so many ways. More power to them. The only way to negotiate with MNPS is to force their hand and be an asshole about your issue. They don't respond to teamwork.

By: radiyojo on 8/29/12 at 8:09

If you are located in Davidson County, you should be apart of Metro Nashville. No exceptions.

By: Quill on 8/30/12 at 5:08

I' m not sure this is the full story. First of all, I believe the Metro Charter and Zoning laws trump anything Oak Hill puts in place as far as zoning is concerned on property owned by MNPS. Therefore, Oak Hill does not have any zoning authority over the property in question. Second, word on the street is MNPS tried to deliver the zoning application this past summer to the city offices of Oak Hill before the portable was in place and the paperwork was denied acceptance, that is to say city officials refused to even take the paperwork from the hands of the person trying to deliver it. If this is true, then MNPS tried to play by the Oak Hill "rules" and when no one would communicate with them they used the power of the Metro Charter and Zoning law to trump the process.

Yes, it would be nice if MNPS could budget the construction of new schools and the hiring of new teachers, but the money is simply not there. It would be if taxes were raised, but I'm sure the good people of Nashville would rise up in revolt of that happening. It is sad that a school scoring in the top 5% in the STATE must be bothered with a few people who are angry the district is providing them one more classroom to provide an excellent education to young children.

By: aky on 8/30/12 at 5:28

Now even glendale is feeling the pinch. If they are having this reaction to ONE portable, I wonder what they'd do if they had SEVEN? (They can just drive to Julia Green to visualize...)

By: Djc on 8/30/12 at 7:34

Totally agree with you, aky. Go see what a truly overcrowded school looks like...

By: govskeptic on 8/30/12 at 12:09

So glad this group is concerned with the visual tackiness of those
Portables, and will raise the Oak Hill taxes to build a permanent replacement..