Shelby school board authorizes lawsuit against state-run Achievement School District

The Shelby County School Board has authorized a lawsuit against the Achievement School District, operated by the Tennessee Department of Education, for accepting students in middle school grades when state law authorizes only those at the elementary school level, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The board voted 7-0 with two members abstaining, for a resolution that instructs its general counsel, Rodney Moore, to “research and pursue any and all appropriate legal and judicial remedies including but not limited to legal action” to stop the Achievement School District  from operating grades it wasn’t authorized to operate.

.. The vote, which included minimal discussion, authorizes Moore to pursue legal action against the ASD, the state department of education and Aspire Public Schools charter network.

The resolution is the latest, and arguably most significant, episode in a five-year struggle between the state-run district and SCS. While the two compete for students and thus funding, and SCS has resisted the role of the ASD in Memphis, the inter-district squabbling has never resulted in a lawsuit.

Two campuses, run by Aspire and Memphis Scholars, are further mentioned in the resolution. Those two operators had added middle school grades to schools that previously served only elementary students under SCS before the state absorbed them into the ASD and outsourced their operation to charter networks.

Three opinions by the Tennessee Attorney General in the last several months, however, say ASD schools, which aim to turn around struggling schools, were never given the legal authority to add grades the school did not previously serve.

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