Rise & Shine: Charter schools in Achievement School District ask governor to reconsider funding cuts
Every charter school operator in Tennessee's Achievement School District is asking the governor to reconsider cuts to priority school grants that help fund programs and services for special needs students. Charter leaders say the funding is necessary because students with disabilities can cost more to educate because of the cost of hiring additional counselors or creating smaller classrooms, for example.
Meanwhile in Memphis, charter operator Willie Herenton, a former school superintendent and former mayor, is appealing the school board's decision to close one of his schools. He says the board unfairly singled out his schools when they voted to close low-performing charter schools.
The Shelby County Schools board voted earlier this week to keep open three charter schools on the state’s list of lowest-performing schools, but voted to close three others on the list — all run by Herenton. One of his schools slated for closure scored high on the state’s 5-point scale comparing student growth on tests — the standard that some board members used to allow the other schools to stay open.
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— Jacinthia Jones, bureau chief
CHARTER CUTS Ten charter school leaders in Tennessee’s state-run district are asking the governor not to cut priority school grants in his new budget – approved this week – because they say it could reduce much needed funding for students with special needs. Chalkbeat
CHARTER APPEAL A charter school leader running for mayor plans to appeal Shelby County Schools’ decision to close one of his schools after he said board members used a double standard when voting to close low-performing charter schools. Chalkbeat
BUDGET PROTEST Metro Nashville Public Schools called parents Thursday to inform them that a high number of teachers may be absent from schools Friday. The district said they would work to fill the vacancies caused by the absences. The Tennessean
BUDGET PROPOSAL The budget proposal for Jackson-Madison County Schools System includes the expansion of pre-k with five more classes, a two-percent pay increase for JMCSS employees and additional curriculum purchases for the district. The Jackson Sun
BOARD RECALL Madison County residents will be able to recall school board members under legislation that passed the Tennessee Senate on Thursday, its final hurdle before reaching the Gov. Bill Lee’s desk. The Jackson Sun
TEACHER PAY Employees of one of Hamilton County’s largest employers might be getting a 5% pay raise next year. Chattanooga Times Free Press
TAX INCREASE Hamilton County’s school board members on Thursday night were almost unanimously in favor of Superintendent Bryan Johnson’s proposed $443 million budget — and the tax increase that must come with it. Chattanooga Times Free Press
Students from Elizabethton High School in East Tennessee ranked at the top of the nearly 6,000 podcast entries in the first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge. Their podcast is about what happened to a circus elephant in the small East Tennessee town century ago, and what people there today are doing about it. You can hear it here: https://soundcloud.com/user-352618310/murderous-mary-the-rise-of.