Standing Together for Strong Community Schools

Tennesseans invested in local public education.

Latest Legislative News and ST4SCS Opinion On Amended “Charter Panel”

UPDATED 5pm cst
House Education Committee passed a State Charter Panel Bill. It will be made up of 9 appointed people (3 from Governor, 3 from Speaker of House and 3 from speaker of Senate). They will have final approval on Charter school appeals. The state will maintain ALL control over the charter it approves but your district (LEA) will have to fund it. The LEA will NOT be able to close the school if it is failing nor will they be able to hold it accountable if it is not providing adequate services to Special Education students or English Language Learners (ELL). There is NO cap on how many charters the state may approve and districts will be responsible for funding all charter schools approved by the appointed panel. Citizens will NOT be able to hold the panel accountable if the financial burden of charter schools forces increases in taxes. The State will be writing checks that districts state wide will be paying for. Tell the members of the House that YOUR city is not going to fund THEIR charter school.

Harwell’s Charter Authorizer Bill Clears Committee; Dems Call New State Board ‘Death Panel for Public Schools’

Our Press Release Earlier Today

STATEWIDE PARENTS GROUP SAYS VOTE FOR VOUCHERS AND STATE AUTHORIZER IS A VOTE FOR LOCAL PROPERTY TAX INCREASE

Experience locally and nationally show additional taxes will be needed to support new expanded “choices” – Calls for local referendum for voucher program.

Nashville –Standing Together 4 Strong Community Schools, a group of Tennessee parents who oppose proposals for a voucher program to pay for private school tuition and a proposal to create a state authorizer for charter schools, warned legislators today that a vote for these proposals is a vote for local property tax increases.

“Today we learned that charter schools will cost Metro taxpayers $15 million next year.  The creation of a second entity with the authority to approve charter schools could cause this figure to increase at an uncontrollable rate, and this should be alarming to taxpayers in Davidson County whose property taxes were just raised last year,” said Chelle Baldwin a spokesperson for the group.

“This legislation amounts to taxation without representation.   It removes control of our schools from locally elected officials and places it in the hands of an appointed board at the state level.  Under this bill, a voter in Memphis will have as much say about what schools open in Green Hills as a voter here in Nashville.  The state will be able to open as many new schools as it wishes while Nashville taxpayers pay for them.  Nashvillians will have absolutely no say-so about the performance of the state schools that we are funding and no ability to close them. At the very least, we need assurances that state-opened schools don’t drive off us off the fiscal cliff.   The cost of operating charter schools is quite high, and this could be the king of unfunded mandates,” said Metro Nashville School Board member Amy Frogge, who is also a member of Standing Together 4 Strong Community Schools.

Standing Together 4 Strong Community Schools also pointed out that that recent attempts to expand Wisconsin’s twenty-three year old voucher program has stalled over concerns about increased local property taxes to pay for vouchers. The Republican President of the Wisconsin Senate has demanded that any expansion of their state’s voucher program include a requirement for a local referendum approving the use of local public tax dollars going to private schools. Last year“We would suggest that same requirement for local taxpayers’ approval for any voucher program in Tennessee. In Nashville, about two-thirds of the total voucher payment would come from local taxpayers. Shelby County taxpayers would pay about half of the total amount. We need a say in how our public tax dollars are spent,” said Baldwin.

See these articles about property taxes and Wisconsin’s voucher program:

A State Appointed Panel could be in a position to authorize hundreds of charters across all of TN if you don’t voice your opposition NOW! Amazingly, those backing this bill refuse to place any sort of fiscal limit on it. This legislation, as it stands, could have disastrous effects on our city and schools!

Please call Speaker Harwell’s office to express your opposition. (615)741-0709

Or email her: speaker.beth.harwell@capitol.tn.gov

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