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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- A online petition has been created to ask The Tennessee Department of Education not to withhold the $3.4 million in funding from Metro Nashville Public Schools because of the district's decision to deny charter status to Great Hearts Academy.
The petition asks Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman "to show mercy to the 81,000 students of Metro Nashville Public Schools".
The Department of Education made their decision in September after the Metro School board denied Arizona-based charter school Great Hearts Academy in its meetings on August 14 and September 11. The State Board of Education had recommended Great Hearts' approval with conditions, and said that failure to approve the charter was in violation of state law.
"Please join us as we petition Commissioner Kevin Huffman with our plea to him to not go through on his promise to withhold $3.4 Million in state funding from public school students in Nashville, Tennessee. The legal arguments used by the Commissioner to support his decision are far from clear. Even if they were (and they're not), it's unacceptable to withhold $3.4 Million used to benefit public school students in Nashville, students who cannot afford to suffer consequences of this terrible action by the State of Tennessee," read the petition.
State educators said the funds would be withheld from administrative and other non-classroom accounts to mitigate the impact on students, but creator of the petition disagree.
"According to MNPS, the $3.4 Million in funds being withheld are funds used for "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."