Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Board of Education Chair Christiane Buggs announced her alliance with Save Nashville Now, a grassroots campaign to defeat the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. It is unclear whether this alliance poses a breach of MNPS ethics policy. According to the Metro Nashville Board of Education’s Boardmanship Code of Ethics, board members shouldn’t represent special interests or partisan politics.
“[Board members] will represent at all times the entire school community and refuse to represent special interests or partisan politics,” states the policy.
The Tennessee Star inquired with MNPS legal counsel for comment on this policy and Buggs’ alliance. They didn’t respond with comment by press time.
The coalition published a press release detailing Buggs’ rationale for joining the campaign. Buggs claimed that she had firsthand knowledge of how this referendum was “reckless” and would roundly harm MNPS. The press release classified Buggs as a “community leader,” though she is identified exclusively using her title as an elected official.
“As a long-time educator and advocate, proud parent, and product of our Nashville school system, I know first-hand the real harm this reckless referendum poses to our schools, teachers, and students,” stated Buggs. “It’s simple. Less investment means bigger classes, fewer activities, lower teacher pay and school repairs unfinished. We cannot afford to let this happen. We must join together and protect our children and future generations by defeating this proposal.”
Neither Buggs or the mayor’s office responded by press time to inquiries from The Star. We inquired as to whether Buggs’ statements were true in light of Mayor John Cooper’s historic investment of $81 million into MNPS and $50 million for MNPS teachers, and Governor Bill Lee’s recent announcement that the state will invest $4.2 billion into K-12 schools statewide over the next four years. The Star also asked whether Buggs’ alliance would conflict with her professional duties.
The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act obtained over 12,300 signatures throughout Davidson County – slightly over the required 12,100.
As Chris Butler with The Star reported Wednesday, Metro Nashville government filed their lawsuit against the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act not long before Save Nashville Now was established.
Citizens may vote on the referendum on July 27.
– – –
Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Christiane Buggs” by Christiane Buggs. Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.