The Tennessee Department of Education will go ahead with its plan to withhold $3.4 million in funding from Metro Nashville Public Schools, according to an MNPS statement released Monday afternoon.
“We were disappointed to learn around noon today that the Tennessee Department of Education has refused to reconsider its decision to withhold nearly $3.4 million in taxpayer funding designated for the education of more than 81,000 students in Metro Nashville Public Schools,” the statement read. “The funding is 10 percent of the state’s annual “non-instructional” funding for Nashville’s children.”
The state announced its intention to withhold the funds from Metro schools last month, after the Metro school board rejected Great Hearts Academies’ charter application in defiance of a state order. The funds will come out of “the non-classroom components of the state’s Basic Education Program funding formula,” according to the state, and will be reallocated to other districts.
While the state’s initial announcement claimed that it “chose the non-classroom funds to mitigate the impact on students,” MNPS said Monday that the “funds are used for a number of services that directly affect students and classrooms.”
“We are concerned about the effect of this reduction and how we will address this shortfall in the middle of the school year,” read the district’s statement. “We intend to be good stewards of public money and to make thoughtful, deliberate decisions in an effort to minimize the penalty’s effect on the children in our schools.”
In its latest statement, which can be read here, MNPS also questioned whether there is precedent for such a punishment.
“The $3.4 million reduction is significant and raises concerns about how the amount was determined and whether it is consistent with other penalties assessed by the state,” the statement read. “Tennessee law does not address penalties in this situation.”