School board members did not hold back during a special meeting on Tuesday night to discuss potential litigation against the state for withholding millions of dollars in funding.
“I am ready to take this to court because that's what courts are for I think we have no other course of action if the state wants to hold money in retaliation for our vote [against Great Hearts Academy Charter School],” school board member Amy Frogge said.
Since the school board voted against the charter's school application, the state withheld $3.4 million dollars in funding.
According to state officials, by law, the school board should have approved the school's application.
However, Frogge and other members said they believe they were within their rights to vote down the application and said the next step is for the board to hire outside legal counsel.
“I want to make sure we are moving forward with fully independent counsel and if we meet with counsel with at the board, I will be satisfied with whatever the board decides to do in terms of litigation,” Frogge said.
Despite some members ready to hire outside legal counsel, there are others on the board who oppose litigation.
“I'm not of the mind to file suit against the State Department of Education. I think that would put us in an adversarial and contentious position and many other in Nashville-Metro schools,” vice chair Anna Shepherd said.
Also during Tuesday night's meeting, school board members raised questions about how the school system would make up the millions of dollars being withheld.
“We are very fortunate out tax revenues exceeded projections this year as did Metro government and as did the state so we are really not short funds, so it's not a question of what we have to cut but what we cannot do,” Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register explained.
A motion to hire outside legal counsel is expected to be made at next Tuesday's board meeting.
- Sept. 21, 2012: No change after high stakes Metro school meeting
- Sept. 20, 2012: Metro schools director hopes for 'common ground' with state
- Sept. 19, 2012: Metro, state to try high level meeting on funding loss
- Sept. 18, 2012: State withholds $3.4M from Metro Public Schools
- Sept. 12, 2012: Great Hearts looks again to state for help
- Sept. 11, 2012: School board votes against Great Hearts academies
- Sept. 4, 2012: Board meets to discuss Great Hearts charter school
- August 14, 2012: Metro school board defers Great Hearts indefinitely
- July 27, 2012: State tells Metro to approve Great Hearts charter school
- June 26, 2012: Metro School Board approves 2 additional charter schools
- May 29, 2012: Metro School Board approves 2 new charter schools