Tenn. Withholds Funds Over Charter-School Fight

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tennessee education officials withheld $3.4 million from Nashville's school district after the city barred a charter school from opening in an affluent neighborhood, the culmination of a fight that has highlighted growing tension over the expansion of such schools.

The Tennessee Department of Education's unusual move to cut funding came after it told Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in July that its school board had violated state law by not allowing Great Hearts Academies to open a charter school, a public school run by an outside entity. The Arizona-based nonprofit wanted to open a school in 2014 in West Nashville, and to open four more in later years.

The Nashville tussle reflects broader controversy over a recent push into middle-class and suburban communities by operators of charter schools, which typically have been seen as an alternative for low-income and minority students in underperforming schools.

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