Members of Nashville’s school board are speaking out against the state’s request to let its students attend Metro Nashville Public Schools’ summer school program.
For the first time ever, the school district is offering free summer learning to all its public school students. The Promising Scholars program kicked off on Monday and over 16,000 schoolchildren are attending the program.
This past spring, the State Board of Education had asked MNPS if 50 of its state-authorized charter school students could attend Promising Scholars because the state is not offering its own.
State-authorized charter schools refer to schools that had their charter applications denied by the Nashville school board but then approved by the state on appeal. Some board members feel it’s unfair to shift any of the cost to the district if these schools and their students are under the state purview.
“If they want to force us to have these charter schools in our district then I think it is more than fair to ask them to be the ones to oversee it,” said school board member Abigail Tylor, referring to the state board. “And if they are not capable of creating whatever it takes to meet the needs of these students, then they should not be overriding our decisions.”
Hosting the additional students will cost the district roughly $62,500 dollars. MNPS anticipates the state will reimburse the costs of students attending, but some board members still have objections.
“I think we can care deeply about every child who lives in Nashville and still feel like that this request is very inappropriate,” school board member Emily Masters said.
Masters added that she was torn because if the board decided to reject the state’s request, the 50 students already enrolled would be forced to stop attending the program.
On Tuesday evening, the board voted to approve the state’s request. School board chair Christiane Buggs says she hopes to discuss these concerns in July, when the State Board of Education visits Nashville.
“We just don’t have relationships with the people that we should have relationships with,” Buggs said, referring to the state board. “They’re disconnected from us like we’re disconnected from them.”