Governor Bill Haslam is expected to sign into law a bill that would allow the Tennessee Board of Education to overrule local rejections of charter school applications.
Legislative Democrats, including state Sen. Jim Kyle of Memphis, lambasted the bill as a threat to local control over school matters. But supporters, including Nashville mayor Karl Dean, said it gives parents more and better options for their children's education. Senate sponsor Dolores Gresham said local school officials would still be a critical part of the decision-making process.
The bill would apply, at least at first, to the five largest school districts in the state, including Knox County. Charter schools are publicly funded, but privately operated.
A separate bill that would have allowed for-profit charter schools to operate in the state failed to clear the House earlier this month.