Charter School Fight Costs Tennessee School District Millions in Funding

Oct 17, 2012

Tennessee’s education leaders are following through with their threat of withholding millions of dollars in funding for one of the state’s largest school districts. At issue is how the Nashville school district handles applications for charter schools.

The Tennessee Department of Education officially withdrew $3.4 million in funding from Metro Nashville schools this week after warning that the city’s school board violated state law when it rejected a charter school application in July.

Great Hearts Academies in Arizona wanted to open a charter school in west Nashville in 2014, and four more schools in later years. Nashville’s school board rejected the application, saying it worried the charter schools set up by Great Hearts would cater primarily to wealthier, white families and not minorities.

But Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman repeatedly told Nashville officials that the charter application met state requirements.

Great Hearts says it planned to open charter schools that would cater to students from all across the district.