Nashville Metro School Board should consider charter school lawsuit in public — not behind closed doors

In Advocacy on October 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm

The fact that the Tennessee Open Meetings Act permits elected officials to go into private, closed-door, executive sessions to discuss certain items of business, does not mean they have to do it. Nashville’s Metro School Board has already held one closed door meeting with an attorney, reportedly to discuss the loss of $3.4 million in state funding after the rejection of the Great Hearts charter school application. As reported in The Tennessean, Oct. 4, 2012, the board has also mulled the issue in an open public meeting and individual board members have spoken with the press. The issue is divisive, the board appears to be spilt and the state’s Open Meetings Act does allow for discussing legal strategies in actual or pending litigation in closed meetings. However, the issues go way beyond courtroom strategy. The controversy is complex but includes the role of a local board of education, the powers of the state department of education, the will of the citizens and the impact on stakeholders in the Metro school system. The legal counsel hidden behind closed doors, may not be the best advice and may not be reflective of how citizens want their elected representatives to proceed. All of these preliminary discussions should be fully deliberated in open public meetings with public input encouraged.

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