Federal Court ruling supports Metro Nashville Schools Zoning Plan

Court affirms school district’s position in Spurlock case

NASHVILLE, TN (July 27, 2012) – Today, Federal Judge Kevin Sharp vindicated the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Board of Education and the Student Assignment Task Force in the long-running Spurlock litigation.

Judge Sharp lauded the Student Assignment Task Force, a racially diverse body of laypersons, for their “commendable effort.”  The court also commended the Board for its work in implementing “a federal magnet grant” to improve schools “in the urban core” and make them more racially and ethnically diverse.

With this ruling, the U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee dismissed the case without conditions. The ruling means Metro Schools can continue with its current zoning plan for neighborhood zoned schools and numerous school options.

“We are happy to have this litigation behind us. We value diversity in our schools and will continue to promote diverse schools through innovative programs and school choice,” said Jesse Register, director of schools. “We are committed to providing every student with an outstanding education.”

About one-fourth of Metro students choose a school other than their zoned school; the district provides MTA bus passes to magnet school students who qualify for free and reduced price meals.

The court said the plan, adopted by the Board of Education in 2008, does not classify students on the basis of race. The district has been battling the lawsuit since 2009, asserting the zoning plan enables families to take advantage of the benefits of neighborhood schools, including greater opportunities for parental involvement. The plan also provides families with a wide array of school options in addition to zoned schools.

The district is planning a First Choice Festival for Thursday, Oct. 18 from 4:30 to 7:30 PM at McGavock High School, 3150 McGavock Pike. At the festival, families can learn about their school options and the district’s new, streamlined optional school application process. In the 2013-14 school year, the district is expected to offer more than 60 schools through the school option process.

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