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.