Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CP: Metro School Board Stiff-Arms Great Hearts and the State, Again

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

We passed along the news last night, that in a stunning display of [choose your own noun], the Metro school board rejected Great Hearts' charter application for a third time (or fourth, counting a deferral earlier this month), once again defying the state.

Now more, from Joey Garrison's report at The City Paper :

This time, the decision came down to a 5-4 vote. And after denying the Phoenix-based charter group for the fourth time in three-plus months Tuesday, Metro’s continued resistance might have forced a new reality: It appears Great Hearts’ entry to Nashville could require a lawsuit from the charter group or further pressure from the Tennessee Department of Education.

Following a summer of balking at the charter group’s plans for a West Nashville school over concerns of diversity, Metro made its position even clearer Tuesday: If Great Hearts doesn’t dramatically alter its diversity plan, it won’t receive the Metro board’s blessing.

Following Tuesday’s latest rejection, Great Hearts’ attorney Ross Booher said he would have to speak to his client when asked whether he would pursue litigation.

“Great Hearts is obviously disappointed that the school board chose to again break state law but remains hopeful for the future,” he said.

State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman did not immediately return a phone message.

Cheryl Mayes, newly minted as the board’s chair prior to the vote, broke a 4-4 tie to reject Great Hearts. The meeting marked the first for four new board members, and District 9’s Amy Frogge was the only of the new crop to vote to deny.

Read the whole story here.

It's not clear what happens now. It would appear that a lawsuit from Great Hearts, or a strong(er) arm from the state, is the only way the charter will open in Nashville. I don't know about Garrison, but after this, I wouldn't be expecting a quick call back from Huffman.

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