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Nashville: Charter School Under Scrutiny for Cramming Kids into Small Rooms

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The New Vision Academy in Nashville is in trouble for violating the fire code andquestionable financial practices. 

“The Nashville charter school New Vision Academy has been violating city fire code by enrolling more students than the capacity allowed at the south Nashville church building where it rents space.

“Because of the overcrowding issue, Metro Nashville Public Schools is forced to remove at least 64 students from the school in the coming weeks, according to a letter from the district’s charter school chief.

“It’s the latest development for a school that has been embroiled in turmoil. New Vision Academy remains under 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, MNPS Executive Officer of Charter Schools Dennis Queen said the school has been cramming 18 to 20 students into classrooms that are only allowed to hold eight to 10 students….

”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 criticized the school for financial issues, complaining they sometimes were denied requests to buy books and other classroom supplies.

“New Vision CEO Tim Malone makes $312,971 annually, and his wife LaKesha Malone makes $250,000 per year, according to New Vision’s most recent public tax documents. For context, Tim Malone’s salary is $27,000 more than MNPS Director Shawn Joseph’s salary.

“The Malones said through an attorney last year that they both worked two jobs under a single nonprofit umbrella. In addition to the school, the Malones run a social work nonprofit.

“Several of the teachers who raised the concerns about New Vision were fired on the same day The Tennessean published an investigative story detailing issues at the school. The teachers subsequently were hired for this school year by other schools.”

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