Nashville Charter Parents Want to Know Why School Board Members Didn’t Attend Meeting

Amanda Haggard:

At Tuesday’s Metro Nashville Board of Education meeting, the night started with more than half of its members absent from the board floor.

Granted it wasn’t a heavy agenda compared to other meetings, but a large slate of charter school parents, advocates and students were scheduled for public comment and board member Mary Pierce had a resolution item up for a vote. Until Christiane Buggs showed up near the end of public comment, the board didn’t have a quorum and couldn’t have voted on the consent agenda nor Pierce’s resolution.

Pierce says the resolution’s intention was to reiterate a portion of the board’s current policy of advocating for Metro Nashville Public Schools and all of its students. Language in the resolution points to the board supporting charter schools the same way they would support traditional district schools. (You can find the full resolution on Pg. 19 of Tuesday’s agenda.)

Jill Speering missed the meeting because of an ongoing illness, and says she would’ve been there otherwise.

Amy Frogge and Sharon Gentry did not respond to calls requesting comment, but Will Pinkston, while saying he had more pressing commitments Tuesday night, also didn’t feel he was missing anything by being out of the room.

Pinkston says Pierce’s resolution was “intended to put a muzzle on one or more board members. Ultimately, the arbiter of what individuals can say is a matter of the constitution, and that’s what I’ll say when it comes to the floor. But I don’t know how I’ll vote on it.”

Pierce pulled the resolution and pushed it to the board’s meeting on June 27, saying that she felt it was important for all members of the board to be present to discuss and vote on the resolution.

“The resolution is simply a recommitment to our policy (GP3) to advocate for the organization and all of the students it serves,” Pierce said Wednesday when asked to comment on her colleagues’ absences. “Any further comments should be first discussed on the board floor.”

Madison lacks governance diversity.