Good afternoon, everyone.
Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and were sufficiently served. Expect a lot of fireworks in the media this week as Bill Lee is expected to roll out his plan to expand school vouchers across the state tomorrow afternoon.
Today, Miles wraps up the college football season and Megan takes an early look at next year's school board races.
✺ COLLEGE FOOTBALL REGULAR SEASON WRAP-UP
From Miles Harrington
Another SEC football season ends, another disappointing season for the Vanderbilt Commodores. Vandy tripped, stumbled, and fell to a 2-10 (0-8) record. Head Coach Clark Lea once had high hopes for this squad coming off a 5-7 record in 2022, but the next step towards bowl eligibility was too tall of a task. From the beginning, it was always going to be a long season for the Dores, winning just two non-conference games against much inferior opponents by a combined five points – these guys were fortunate not to put up a goose egg in the win column this year.
To make matters worse, the outlook for 2024 does not look any brighter as Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC party all while Clark Lea sits squarely on the hot seat. Looking ahead, another 2-10 season is quite plausible as the Commodores will likely only be favored in a home game against Norfolk State and on the road at Georgia State. As I firmly anticipate Vandy to be in the market for a new head coach this time next year, it is noteworthy that rumors have grown from a swirl to a snowball that the university will fire Lea in the coming days and replace him with a grand slam hire—Jimbo Fisher.
✱ AN EARLY LOOK AT NEXT YEAR’S BALLOT
Now that we’ve caught our breath after September’s local elections, let’s look ahead. As of this writing, 38 people have signed up to run for various offices that will be on March’s County primary and Berry Hill’s municipal election ballot. Four candidates have declared their intention to run for District 20’s Circuit Court Judge, all of them Democrats. Incumbent Vivian Wilhoite is the only candidate running to be Nashville’s Assessor of Property. But the most contentious local races will likely be the school board primaries and elections. So far, five people— four Democrats and one Republican—have turned in paperwork to run for MNPS’ board.
BACKGROUND: PARTISAN SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS
This will be Davidson County’s second time executing partisan school board elections. Back in October 2021, Republican members of the state legislature initiated and supported a bill requiring school board races to be partisan with the intention of promoting clarity and transparency. That being said, in Nashville it was Democratic candidates who overwhelmingly benefited from the change during last year’s first partisan school board race: all of the school board districts on the ballot went blue. Even incumbent board member Fran Bush, a Democrat-turned-independent, was ousted by her Democratic opponent Cheryl Mayes in District 6. (You may recall that Bush pushed back against extended lockdowns in 2020, which earned her condemnation from one of the largest teachers unions in the state.)
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
Among the hot topics we expect to be raised on the campaign trail are…
- MNPS’ historically low literacy rates.
- The state’s exploration of rejecting federal education funds.
- MNPS Director Battle’s rejection of state SRO funding.
- School safety, with a focus on gun violence.
- The governor’s proposal to create a statewide school voucher program.
- The mayor’s proposal for later school start times.
- Student discipline, mental health, and teacher safety.
Metro school board members serve four-year terms but elections occur every two years, alternating between odd and even districts. Next year’s primary election for school board members will be March 5th and includes all the odd districts. You can keep up to date with petition submissions on the Davidson County Election Commission website.
Summary outlines Gov. Bill Lee's plan to expand school vouchers across Tennessee (Channel 5) Gov. Bill Lee is preparing to announce a plan to dramatically expand Tennessee's controversial school voucher program, allowing K-12 students to receive taxpayer funding for private school regardless of need.
O'Connell's Transition Committees Offer Policy Recommendations (Scene) Nearly two months into his mayoral term, Mayor Freddie O'Connell on Tuesday released recommendations from his three transition committees. The groups presented their policy briefs at a public meeting at the downtown library.
UT Quietly Renaming its Division of Diversity and Engagement to Dodge State Law (Star) Guy Harrison, the newly-appointed director of DEI for the School of Journalism and Media, said the move is “an effort to detract attention from state politicians who have begun to take issue with discussions of diversity in recent years.”
Judges rule against Tennessee Senate redistricting map over treatment of Nashville seats (AP) A Republican-drawn map for Tennessee’s Senate seats violates the state Constitution because lawmakers incorrectly numbered the legislative districts in left-leaning Nashville, which affects which years those seats are on the ballot, a panel of judges ruled Wednesday.
- Butchertown Hall, Last Chance Liquors owners open bar and restaurant Cherries to Dickerson Pike (NBJ)
THINGS TO DO
📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.
🎸 Liz Phair @ Ryman Auditorium, 7:30p, $34.50+, Info
📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.
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- And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.