Monday, September 9, 2013

Glover to Defer Council Resolution Calling for Moratorium on Charter Schools

Posted By on Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Amidst another flare-up in the debate about the present state and future course of Nashville's public schools, Councilman Steve Glover says he will defer a Metro Council resolution calling for a moratorium on the approval of new charter schools in Metro.

Glover tells Pith he agreed to delay the memorializing resolution after House Speaker Beth Harwell reached out to him, through an intermediary, with concerns about the measure, which would be non-binding and, thus, largely symbolic.

"I got a phone call from an individual asking for me to meet with the Speaker of the House," Glover says. "She requested I pull it, according to this individual, but I'm not going to pull it. I will defer it, until we have a conversation. But I will be kind enough to meet with the speaker and have a conversation about my concerns."

Harwell confirms to Pith that the two are planning to meet and says she wants to hear his "legitimate concerns." She says that although the non-binding resolution has no legislative teeth, she worried about the message it would send.

"My concern was that it sends a negative message to potential public charter schools that may want to open here in Nashville," she says.

Glover's resolution was to be up for a vote Tuesday night, just as Metro school board members will be making the case that the district can't afford to approve more charter schools. The council resolution cites budgetary strain as well as the possibility, raised in a legal opinion given to the district, that the state's charter school law could be unconstitutional.

Charter schools supporters, and particularly the Tennessee Charter School Center (which recently hired a lobbyist to advocate for their cause at the council), have been pushing back against a school board they say has been largely "hostile" to charter schools.

As for Glover's resolution, the councilman says whether he brings it back will depend on how his conversation with the speaker goes.

"I will defer it, and then she and I will have a conversation," he says, "and then I will bring it back up or I will let it go if the state does what I think is right for the people of Nashville."

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