NIMBY Complaints Cured with Narrower TN State Charter Authorizer

A proposed TN state panel for approving charter schools initially rejected by local boards is again limited to just a handful of districts.  The charter authorizer was going nowhere when it applied statewide.

Republican lawmakers were pulling their support when there was a possibility state-approved charters could pop up in their backyard.

“No one could vote for this bill when everyone was included,” said Rep. Joe Armstrong.

Armstrong, a Democrat, opposes the state charter authorizer, which has morphed again to include only districts that have one or more the state’s 83 lowest-performing schools. That’s Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and rural Hardeman County.

Rep. David Alexander of Winchester is one of the Republicans back on board. He said students in these schools need all the options they can get.

“How can I not vote for a bill that gives them the possibility of opportunities,” he said.

The most vocal critic has been the board of Metro Schools, which is considering a lawsuit if the state charter authorizer singles out only a handful of systems.