Tag Archives: innovative

‘Virtual Schools’ Bill Creates a Flap in House; ‘Innovative Schools’ Stalls

A Republican-sponsored bill dealing with “virtual classes” in public schools, which passed the Senate unanimously last month, inspired some hostile questioning from Democrats on the House floor Thursday before passing 69-24.
Sponsor Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, said the bill, as amended, would simply allow public schools to charge a “tuition” fee to other students who take a “virtual education program” class over the Internet.
But Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, said the bill would tie into a separate Brooks-sponsored bill, HB1030, allows for-profit companies to operate virtual schools.
In tandem, Stewart contended, the two bills would be a “momentous change” that would have for-profit recruiting multiple students who pay them, then “send the tab to our public school systems.” The public schools would thus be supplying the courses that make money for the private schools, he said.
Brooks said Stewart was mistaken and, by allowing a charge for attendance, the measure “does just the opposite of what you’re perceiving.”

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‘Innovative’ Bill Could Impact Memphis City Schools Flap

A bill to allow Tennessee school districts to fix their boundaries in the name of “innovation” adds yet another tangle — by coincidence, it seems — in the ongoing Memphis school merger dispute, reports the Commercial Appeal.
Some merger proponents worry that Shelby County Schools’ leaders would jump at a new opportunity to avoid taking in Memphis’ city school system by freezing the suburban system’s borders.
However, SCS doesn’t appear to be behind the proposed “innovative school district” legislation, which is scheduled for a House floor vote on Thursday. (Note: The bill is HB175, by Rep. Harry Brooks and Sen. Jamie Woodson, both Knoxville Republicans.)
“I don’t believe that it is, if you will, a disruptive action or exit strategy for (SCS) to get out of their fight of the merger,” Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz said Friday. “But we are waiting on an opinion from the county attorney to confirm that.”
A federal judge has been overseeing mediation discussions between SCS, the county commission and other parties and is scheduled to hear oral arguments Thursday on the school merger lawsuit.
…Woodson, a Germantown native, said the proposal has nothing to do with the local school merger issue.
“It is not related to that very important community conversation in any way,” Woodson said. “We would not in any way want to interfere with the lawsuit.”
The “innovative school districts” are similar to “special school districts” in that both allow systems to freeze their boundaries.
However, Woodson said, the biggest difference is that the new bill doesn’t involve taxing authority for districts.