Thursday, September 13, 2012

Update: School Board meeting of 9/11/2012. Great Hearts fails.

The School Board meeting on 9/11/2012

This is the first meeting of the new school board. The first order of business is the election of Chair and Vice Chair. The Board unanimously elects Cheryl D. Mayes as Chair and Anna Shepherd as Vice Chair.

"Public Participation" starts at 09: 06. Councilman James Stanley addresses the Board making a plea and argument for a new high school for the Dupont Area. At 22:36 Shelly Baldwin makes an argument against the approval of Great Hearts academy, arguing that their existing schools are not adequately diverse. She is followed by a couple other people who speak against Great Hearts and one person who speaks in favor.

The discussion of the Great Hearts application begins at 35:06. Will Pinkston of District 7 ask good questions about the legal issues surrounding the state's authority to order the school board to approve the Great Hearts charter application. Mr. Soloman, the attorney representing the Board says the State is on sound footing and the School Board has no legal grounds for defying the State.

Anna Shepherd says the State is bulling the School Board. Jill Speering of District 3, argues against Great Hearts as well as Amy Frogge of District 9. The Attorney, Mr. Soloman, in response to a question from Mr. Pinkston had explained that the three "contingencies" in the State order are not conditions that the state must meet before approving the Charter but are requirements of Great Hearts that go along with the order. Frogge, who is an attorney, takes an opposing view and says the Board cannot approve the Charter until the contingencies are met.

Michael W. Hayes of District 8 speaks in favor of Great Hearts saying that the majority of Great Hearts schools meet the Metro School Board's definition of diversity. Elissa Kim of District of District 5 does not take part in the discussion. I was anxiously looking forward to hearing what she would have to say on the issue.

The vote is taken and those voting against Great Hearts and voting to defy the State are Amy Frogge, Jo Ann Brannon, Sharon Gentry, Anna Shepherd and Chairman Cheryl Mayes. Voting in favor of Great Hearts are Jill Speering, Elissa Kim, Will Pinkston, and Michael Hayes. The discussion end at 1:16:07.

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