RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-556
A resolution opposing all state legislation that would create a school voucher program in Tennessee or a state charter school authorizer without adequate state funds being appropriated to local school districts to cover the additional costs.
WHEREAS, Governor Bill Haslam appointed a special task force in 2011 to explore the use of "opportunity scholarships", commonly referred to as school vouchers; and
WHEREAS, the panel met for approximately one year but was unable to reach a consensus regarding whether students who get vouchers should only come from low-performing schools, or whether vouchers should be made available to all low-income student regardless of their zoned school or their academic performance; and
WHEREAS, vouchers divert public taxpayer dollars from local public schools and use such funds to pay the tuition for public school students to attend private and religious schools; and
WHEREAS, all of the urban school systems in Tennessee have gone on record opposing the use of school vouchers; and
WHEREAS, there is a lack of empirical data supporting the assertion that school vouchers improve student performance; and
WHEREAS, rumors of a possible statewide charter school authorizer have been repeatedly discussed in the media in recent months; and
WHEREAS, in June 2012, the Metropolitan Council approved a substantial property tax increase, the majority of which has been allocated to Metro Nashville public schools; and
WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government’s percentage of funding for Metro Nashville Public Schools is higher than almost every other school district in Tennessee due to inequality of the state Basic Education Program (BEP) per-pupil funding formula; and
WHEREAS, vouchers and state-authorized charter schools would essentially operate as an unfunded mandate for local public school systems since the removal of a few students from a school would likely not reduce the number of required teachers and would not reduce the capital costs associated with the school, yet the public school system would lose funding to cover these costs; and
WHEREAS, another property tax increase would likely be required in order to adequately fund Metro Nashville Public Schools and meet the state maintenance of effort funding requirements if a voucher program or state charter school authorizer is created; and
WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council wishes to make its position regarding school vouchers and a state charter school authorizer known to the public and to the Tennessee General Assembly.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:
Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as opposing all state legislation that would create a school voucher program in Tennessee or a state charter school authorizer without adequate state funds being appropriated to local school districts to cover the additional costs.
Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to each member of Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly, and to each member of the House and Senate Education Committees.
Section 3. That this Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsored by: Steve Glover, Megan Barry, Buddy Baker, Bill Pridemore, Edith Taylor Langster, Darren Jernigan, Sheri Weiner, Davette Blalock
|Referred to:||Budget & Finance Committee
|Introduced:||January 8, 2013|
|Adopted:||January 8, 2013|
|Returned Unsigned by Mayor:||January 9, 2013|