Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd: Session Highlights from 112th General Assembly

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   Expanding School Choice within a School District –Public Chapter 479 expands public school choice to additional districts that do not already have open enrollment policies. It allows students within the same school district to enroll in open seats at other schools if there is space available. 

   Achievement School District – Public Chapter 490 creates a framework for schools to exit from Achievement School District (ASD) governance, including one option to allow those which are successful to continue by applying to the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission. The options include returning to the LEA of origin, applying to the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission or remaining under the continued governance of the ASD.

   School Turnaround Pilot Program – Public Chapter 578 enacts the School Turnaround Pilot Program Act to improve student progress in struggling schools. It requires the Tennessee Department of Education to create a three-year turnaround program similar to successful models in other states for five priority schools in the state, with at least one located in each of the state’s grand divisions. 

   Students / Threat of Mass Violence –Public Chapter 395 creates a Class A misdemeanor offense for communicating a threat to commit an act of mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity and a Class B misdemeanor if a person with knowledge fails to report it. It also allows a court to order a child held for threatening mass violence on a school to undergo a mental health evaluation.

   As always, I am truly humbled and honored to be your voice on Capitol Hill. If there is ever any issue I can assist with, please reach out to my office by calling 615-741-2190 or emailing me at rep.david.byrd@capitol.tn.gov.