Metro Nashville Won’t Allow Charter Middle Schoolers To Compete On MNPS Sports Teams

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The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

Charter school students in Nashville will no longer be able to participate in athletics at Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The decision comes as Tennessee moves from its current funding formula for public schools, the Basic Education Program, to a new student-based formula called the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement.

Under the new formula, starting next school year students will be assigned $6,860 in base funding along with weights based on a students’ learning needs, whether the student lives in a low-income household or area or if the student lives in a rural area.

Students will be able to choose between a public or charter school and the funds will go to the school they attend.

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Sean Braisted, spokesperson for Metro Nashville Public Schools said “Given the current and anticipated future growth in charter seats, we believe they have the capacity to use their resources to develop a parallel middle school sports program allowing our district to focus on further developing and improving the programs we offer to MNPS students.”

But the CEO of LEAD charter schools in Nashville, Dwayne Tucker, told Fox 17 that he was surprised by the decision.

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“Under Tennessee law charter schools are public schools,” Tucker explained. “The majority of our schools are chartered by the MNPS District. To walk away from that without any communication at all about what the rationale was behind the decision and leaving us to then go out to start a new league with two months’ notice, I just find it unacceptable.”

Braisted, however, said that it is about funding and that charter schools have the same funding as MNPS to pay for athletics programs.

“State law mandates that charter schools receive an equal per pupil portion of state and local funding to serve the needs of their students, with an anticipated $234 million going to Davidson County charter schools in the upcoming budget year,” Braisted said. “Charter schools have autonomy to develop and manage their academic and extracurricular programming. This would include the sports offerings for their students.

“Given the current and anticipated future growth in charter seats, we believe they have the capacity to use their resources to develop a parallel middle school sports program allowing our district to focus on further developing and improving the programs we offer to MNPS students.”

Mark Cunningham, Vice President of Communication and Outreach at Beacon Center, called it a “new low for arguably the most ineffective government entity in the state.”

“It is petty and cruel for MNPS officials to take their disdain for educational choice out on Nashville families,” Cunningham said. “This is a low point for the entity that won Pork of the Year after its appalling $18 million no-bid contract to Meharry Medical last year. Instead of trying to provide the best quality education to our children, MNPS has decided to plot revenge against families who choose public charter schools to obtain a better education. Currently, our team at the Beacon Center is looking into all of our available options to assist families harmed by this needless attack.”

About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

2 thoughts on “Metro Nashville Won’t Allow Charter Middle Schoolers To Compete On MNPS Sports Teams

  • May 25, 2022 at 4:07 pm
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    All tax dollars allotted to the MNPS and there are some should be eliminated from the bills of parents who chose Charter Schools over the bloated school system.

    Reply
  • May 26, 2022 at 12:41 am
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    If parents decide to go charter, their share of tax dollars that fund public school sports or other activities should be redirected to the charter school.

    Reply

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