New Vision Academy, Nashville

Charter school in Nashville is violating fire codes by exceeding capacity

March 4, 2019
School district tells New Vision Academy that it must reduce enrollment by at least 64 students in the next two weeks.

A Nashville, Tenn., charter school has been violating city fire code by enrolling more students than the capacity allowed at the church building where it rents space.

The Nashville Tennessean reports that because of the overcrowding issue at New Vision Academy, Metro Nashville Public Schools has to remove at least 64 students from the school in the coming weeks.

The school is already the subject of  federal and state investigations related to financial irregularities, special education requirements and compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

In a letter to school board members on Friday, Metro Nashville Public School Executive Officer of Charter Schools Dennis Queen says the school has been cramming 18 to 20 students into classrooms that are allowed to hold only eight to 10 students.

"New Vision Academy does not have a plan to accommodate the (fire marshal's) restrictions, add additional classroom space, or conduct classes of only 8-9 students," Queen says.

Queen says the most viable option is to notify families of the issue and schedule a parent meeting where the district will "offer families options for enrollment in their zoned schools." Students should be ready to attend their new schools the week after spring break beginning March 18.

Last year, a group of teachers sent the district a whistleblower's report detailing an array of concerns at the school, including students with disabilities and English-learning students not receiving the specialized classroom time required by federal law.

The teachers also complained they sometimes were denied requests to buy books and other classroom supplies. 

Several of the teachers who raised the concerns were fired on the same day The Tennessean published an investigative story detailing issues at the school. 

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