MNPS Board Member Suggests Legal Action Against The State
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Many Metro School board members say they did not violate state law when voting against Great Hearts charter school application. The assertion contradicts the state's claims that lead to the district losing $3.4 million in funds.
During a special called meeting Tuesday, board members discussed the funding shortfall and considered their options on how to proceed. It comes after school board chairperson Cheryl Mayes reached out to Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman in hopes of averting the penalty. On Tuesday, Mayes said her and the Commissioner agreed to disagree. The meeting concluded with both sides wanting to have an amicable relationship, but Mayes says it ended with them at an impasse about how to move forward.
Board member Amy Frogge was outwardly the most passionate about the state fine calling it retaliatory and punitive. Frogge said it doesn't benefit anyone but adults. She questioned the state's accusation that the board violated the law, saying if that were the case state leaders should have sought legal action against board members versus withholding funds that could impact students.
Frogge, an attorney, said, "I am ready to take this to court because that is what courts are for," if the state and school board couldn't come to an agreement. It's a sentiment that wasn't shared by fellow board members who want to put the matter behind them.
"It's a painful thought thinking about spending many more hours of our valuable time discussing this issue and wallowing in potential litigation when we have much bigger challenges to take on," board member Elissa Kim said.
Frogge also called into questioned the legal advice the school board received. She raised concerns about attorney's who she said could have a conflict of interest since they also represent districts across the state who could be benefiting from Metro's state fine. The $3.4 million previously earmarked for the district is instead being distributed to other districts.
Twenty-eight percent of Metro's budget comes from the state. Which is why board members want to tread lightly for fear that litigation will further strain what needs to be a good working relationship.
Budget meeting to address the loss in funding have not been scheduled. Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register says the district isn't necessarily going to make cuts, but rather determine what it can go without. He assured the board that the district is in a good position financially and does not believe a decision on how to address the shortfall has to be made immediately.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:04 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:04:23 GMT
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