As threatened, TN Department of Education withholds $3.4M from Metro schools

Monday, October 15, 2012 at 7:54pm

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.”


25 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 10/15/12 at 6:30

The bullies of the state are raising their ugly heads. The head of the state's education department should be fired on the spot. They do not care for children, they just want their way. TN wake up and see what we have at the head of our state. Metro/Nashville Board of Education, congratulatioins for being independent and doing what is right for the students. Please don't let them bully you in changing your votes.

By: tnxplant on 10/16/12 at 5:55

Does "diversity" (whatever that means) provide a better education for children?

How is transportation currently provided to Metro's magnet schools? Do parents still provide it as they did when my kids attended them in the 1990's?

When my child attended MLK magnet school in 1997-98, it was not considered "diverse" enough, so a group of unprepared children were brought into the school. Chaos ensued. My child's education had to be sacrificed in an ulitmately failed attempt to rehabilitate the new students. They brought with them poor behavior as well, resulting in constant classroom disruptions. One of the teachers told me that she could no longer teach her students but spent her time in crowd control. How is this approach good for any of our children?

By: westisbest on 10/16/12 at 6:12

Good. I don't want any more of my tax dollars going to Metro schools than already do. I say this because I am forking out over 10,000 a year for private school tuition because Metro can't get their act together and provide my child with a good education. I hope the 3.4 mil goes into a program that we can actually benefit from.

By: Captain Bringdown on 10/16/12 at 6:59


The problem is and has always been that the California group will center the charter schools in predominately white neighborhoods and make transportation to the schools difficult at best for minorities. This is in blatant disregard for and in violation of metro's minimum requirements and is further proof of the war on Nashville and other democratic strongholds by this privileged GOP Plutocrat, Haslem! This group has an unhealthy relationship with Haslem and his commissioner of education as evidenced by communications and e-mails made public.
Your tax dollars expenditures are not just for your own child's education, but an investment in the brighter future for metro via the better education for ALL it's students. To not see this indicates a self centered blindness symptomatic of the ME generation and typical Plutocratic dogma.

By: Bellecat on 10/16/12 at 7:26

Every parent with a child in the public school system should be screaming foul right now. Yes, the bullies are trying to force charter schools onto the public. And when they do not get their way, they will try and diminish the public school system by withholding funds. Does this sound like people who care about education and want our children to succeed??????

By: Left-of-Local on 10/16/12 at 7:47

All the racist and anti-govenment ignorant tripe above blurs the issues, and we can just ignore that while we debate in real-time here in 2012...

The GOP goons in the state are wrong for attempting to manipulate their beloved charter schools into success, yes. But the local yokels are wrong for being arrogant in their misguided quest for sovereignty. NOT TO MENTION they have exhibited polices that were anything BUT diverse in the past 10 years.

MNPS enacted Standard School Attire with some of the most asinine rules ever - including banning denim so lazy administrators would not have to enforce norms of dress, passing undue burden and cost to parents.

They RE-segregated the schools with this "Neighborhood Schools' BUNK, without the proper civic planning in place to keep those communities diverse.

They even discouraged technological diversity by getting in bed with Dell when that jackass Garcia came to town. In fact, hiring him was one of the biggest mistakes of all.

The new School Board COULD have stood up to all of this and righted the ship, pushing a stringent diversity requirement onto the charter schools and making their case in a much better public way - utilizing the INTELLIGENT parents who could make it all "sell" better, and leveraging the mayor. They COULD have just stood up and called this REPUBLICAN BULLCRAP like it is, but they're total pussies.

They could have gained a lot of ground by then going back and reversing all these other NON-DIVERSITY choices. Instead they continued the legacy of the board and played political games for their own ego and career climbing.

We need a school board where the members are not two-faced pricks who are just stair-stepping their way to Council-At-Large or Mayor, or State Legislator. Only a slight improvement occurred this past election, and the people in place who do not suck are still the minority, sadly.

By: InterestedObserver2 on 10/16/12 at 7:59

Does anyone else find it funny that in the Metro prepared statement they reference .....“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.”.... So now Metro is interested in the law?!!! MNSB should be responsible for their actions and performance, accountable for their actions and performance. I tell my children, for every action there is a consequence. broke the law and now you question the consequences of doing that? Ridiculous.

By: dva56 on 10/16/12 at 8:10

...and the lesson for today kids is when arrogant politicians cannot come to an agreement the result always hurts those who can least afford it.

By: Badbob on 10/16/12 at 8:12

This article explains what this is all about:

Republicans don't support public education. They only want educations for their own kids.

By: ohplease on 10/16/12 at 8:21

When the General Assembly arrives in January, you can bet that a first action will be to remove local elected school boards from even considering charter school applications. The state will have an appointed czar to do that. I don't blame the school board for its actions. They were reacting to the arrogance of the state and the Great Hearts sponsors who disdain public schools. Unfortunately, the result of their actions will be more far-reaching than the loss of the money when they are taken out of the picture completely, and the state takes over. Question for Left-of-Local -- has any school board member ever been elected to an office after serving on the board? It's hardly a stepping stone to higher office! It's a thankless job.

By: pswindle on 10/16/12 at 8:57


By: Specter47 on 10/16/12 at 11:03

Wow, what an abundance of responses! I must comment on so many!
*pswindle ~ the Education Commissioner was following the law. The School Board was not. He was not selectively enforcing the law, but applying it where it belonged, after repeated warnings to the Board that they would suffer consequences for breaking the law.
*Auditor_Dood ~ your politically incorrect comments are right on. Expect to be trashed.
*tnxplant ~ Right on...ditto above.
*westisbest ~ Exactly...ditto above.
*Captain Bringdown ~ You've been demoted, dude. Trying to sound like an intellectual causes a Breakdown. The subject Charter School is from Arizona, not California. And our governor is Bill Haslam, not Haslem.
*Bellecat ~No one is forcing anything. The state simply wants to give Charters, including Great Hearts, the opportunity to succeed. Once they are open, they are on their own. There is no guarantee of success, but Great Hearts has a history of success. That's what scares so many in MNPS. A successful model that trumps theirs. Frightening.
*Left-of-Local ~ Once again, the "Diversity" word rears its ugly head. If all else fails, call it a racist problem. Why don't we just ban all white kids from attending public school? Then there won't be anything to scream "diversity" about.
*InterestedObserver2 ~ You are right on track. MNPS School Board is only interested in the law when the application of it is contrary to their desires.
*BadBob ~ WTH? I know many Republicans who are strong advocates for public education. But I want it done right, and it's gotten more and more screwed up under liberal/democrat direction and NEA input.

MNPS will somehow suffer through this terrible injustice done to them by the State. If you were to see the waste that MNPS generates each year, you'd be amazed.

By: govskeptic on 10/16/12 at 12:51

I decided to let all the Teachers Union and SEIU members and administrators
to get their comments in first. This action was announced by the State Dept of
Education was as a possibility before the Board took their vote. The
State supplies as much to Education in dollars as do the locals. So, who is
the bullies in this action. I suggest one might look at the deciding vote on the
School Board with that being the newly elected Chairwoman, then the
remainder that decides they would thumb their noses at the State Director
of Education. The State gives the Board it's authority to even exist, they
probably should have just disbanded the existing board and appointed
a new one. You got what you voted for and elected. The Sky won't fall.

By: yucchhii on 10/16/12 at 1:41

WHO ever said that the state EVER gave a dam about kids or anybody? They proved that when they made a law that moved the OCCUPY protestors out of legislative plaza. Sooo many people thought they were nothing but bums and druggies and these people never did any research about them...the protestors OBVIOUSLY hit a nerve!! Why else would the politicians have done what they did? "ALL" the politicians have something to hide. If they don't, then why not just let them stay out there? They weren't REALLY hurting anyone!! Politicians are the ones who were making up, lying or fabricating stories about the Occupy one else was!! So, again, why would anyone in government GIVE A DAM about anyone but themselves???

By: Captain Bringdown on 10/16/12 at 5:01


Excuse me for misstating the origin of Great Hearts Academy, and misspelling Haslam's name (Specter47) , as if any of that is pertinent to the point I strive to make!
Great Hearts does NOTHING for the success of the public school system, only siphoning off resources and students to the detriment of MNPS. It would in my mind be better to attempt to achieve the mission of public education and invest heavily in bettering the educational experience of ALL the students. After all that is their own purpose, correct? All the charter school concept does is create a two tier system of fortunate and those less than fortunate, harkening back to the days of segregation that I am not to young to remember.

By: jonw on 10/16/12 at 5:57

The Metro school board is like the kid who killed his parents. He then asked the court for leniency because he was an orphan.

Just follow the law, don't be a jackass

By: Auditor_Dood on 10/16/12 at 8:31

The problem is and has always been that the California group will center the charter schools in predominately white neighborhoods and make transportation to the schools difficult at best for minorities.

Um, sorry, missing the part where this is a bad thing. They want to build a school for children that want to learn. The thugs that go to Metro schools are more interested in Fiddy Cent and making sure they are representin', yo. OF COURSE they charter school would want to locate in an area with students and parents that want a good education as opposed to an area where the goal in life is to grow up, take your baby momma to the check cashing place, pick up your food stamps and a pack of Newport menthols, motha *******.

Anyway, I'm finna go to bed cause I've got this thing called a job that I have to wake up to go to. You feelin' me, dawg?

By: RustyACE on 10/17/12 at 8:15

Let's do the math on this transaction.

1. $3,400,000 dividied by 81,000 students equals $41.97 per student.
2. Divided 180 days of school equals 23 cents per student per day.

School Board says if you don't approve this school, we will pull this funding from you and give it to other students.

They didn't approve the school, funding pulled.


By: Specter47 on 10/17/12 at 8:49

Hey, Bringdown... You're obviously a bleeding heart liberal. Your reference to the "fortunate and the less fortunate" is typical leftist tripe. Come on...come out and say what you really feel, which is that WHITE kids don't deserve a great public school experience. Even though Nashville's charter schools serve far more black families than white, your claim is that charters serve the more fortunate kids. Well, you are right. ANY kid who gets to attend a charter school IS more fortunate, whatever their color. Grow up. rock. "Tellin' da troof" will always create angst and cries of foul play from the left. We keep thowing money at the problem in our schools and nothing improves, yet the school leadership wants to keep doing the same thing. RustyACE did a difficult math equation and came up with the answer. Good move, get an A+.

By: pswindle on 10/17/12 at 9:13

The Governor could have steppedin and stopped the Educational Secretary from withholding the money. But as usual he is a wimp and the job of government is well over his head.

By: Left-of-Local on 10/17/12 at 9:36

THAT could not be more accurate, PS. Too true.

By: BigPapa on 10/17/12 at 9:54

I'd love to know what schools the lefties on here send their kids to.

Anyone volunteering to send their little one to Maplewood, Strafford, or Hunters Lane?

Didn't think so...

By: Specter47 on 10/17/12 at 10:05

BigPapa, don't forget White's Creek or Antioch. Cane Ridge, Hillwood and Overton not far behind.

By: BigPapa on 10/17/12 at 1:51

Yeah, I know waaayyy too many folks that talk a big talk and get very high and mighty, very condescending with regards to the race issue, but then they move to Mt. Juliet, Brentwood, & hendersonville for the "better schools".

I always want to ask them if those teachers went to different schools than the teachers in Nashville. If they think those teachers are any different, or..... deep in the back of their minds they know, they know in their PC brainwashed little brains, they don't want their little girl going to school with blacks from the ghetto, they dont want their son beaten and harassed or unable to make one sports team because the school wasn't 99% white.

By: jonw on 10/17/12 at 3:10

Who cares where the teachers went to school as long as it was a recognized school? What is important is a learning environment. Also a school board that obeys the law, & is more interested in education than social engineering is a plus,
If one can make a move & better their child's education, hooray for them. And you are right that I would not want my son beaten & harassed.
As for sports, I believe that Mt. Juliet & Brentwood have enviable football records. Crawl back in your racist hole & do the best for your offsprings that you can.