Statement on Tennessee Department of Education’s Decision to Cut Funding to Metro Nashville Public Schools

Funding supports district’s 81,000 children

This morning, the district first heard from the State Department of Education about its decision to cut the Metro Schools Basic Education Program allocation by almost $3.4 million in October. We are very disappointed.

BEP is a funding formula and not a spending plan, so there are no funds earmarked for “administrative costs.”  The BEP formula for non-classroom expenses includes utilities, student transportation, maintenance and other things that directly affect our 81,000 students and 5,000 classrooms. None of these items are in any way linked to charter school approval processes.

We do not yet have a plan on how we will respond to this disruptive mid-year cut. Our priority will always be to give the best education to our students with the resources we have. Budget amendments require action by the Metro Nashville Board of Education.

Metro Nashville has earned national recognition for its rigorous process to review charter school applications and its process is considered a national model. The Board of Education had genuine concerns about the Great Hearts application and how the district manages diversity. The Board approved four other applications this cycle and the number of charter schools in the district has increased from four in 2009, when the process was adopted, to 14 this year.  Six more are approved to open by 2013, for a total of 20.

We believe children will benefit when the State Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and the local Board of Education and school district work together. In Metro Nashville, we are committed to improving student achievement and to collaborating with the State, quality charter school operators and the people of Nashville for our children.

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