WASHINGTON, D.C. – Late last month, Tennessee’s House and Senate passed HB 940 and SB 796, respectively, which have been signed into law by Governor Lee. These bills establish a nine-member independent Tennessee Public Charter School Commission with authorizing authority. Additionally, the bills allow charter school applicants from any district in the state to appeal to the Commission a decision by a local school district denying an application to establish a public charter school within its jurisdiction. In addition to establishing the Commission, the bills authorize the body to serve as a local education agency for any public charter school it authorizes. The Commission will begin hearing appeals in the 2020-21 school year.
National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees released the following statement:
“We applaud Governor Lee and the Tennessee legislature for demonstrating leadership in ensuring the state’s public charter school sector has the tools it needs to serve students well. Allowing for non-district authorizers is an important piece of a strong charter school law, and a measure that the National Alliance includes in our annual State Charter School Laws Rankings Report. Last year, Tennessee scored six points out of twelve on this measure, showing room for progress. We are encouraged by the creation of the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission and the work of the Tennessee Charter School Center to strengthen the public charter school sector in Tennessee. We hope that other states look to the Volunteer State as an example of how to improve their charter school sector.”