How an Extremist Charter Network Plans to Use TN Tax Dollars to Fund its Agenda

Hillsdale College and the collapse of TN public schools

Andy Spears
2 min readMay 15, 2023

Over at The Education Report, I write about how Hillsdale’s charter network has gained access to local tax dollars in Rutherford County — and how this opens the door for them to treat local taxpayers as an ATM in support of their Christian Nationalist agenda.

Ultimately, local taxpayers could end up footing a $350 million bill to support Hillsdale in Tennessee.

Here are some highlights:

Hersch explains that even when there is broad public opposition to Hillsdale’s charters (as has been the case in the Tennessee districts where Hillsdale has applied to operate), the school has found a way to foist its charters on districts.

In Tennessee, that means that even the four rejected Hillsdale charters — in Madison, Maury, Montgomery, & Robertson counties — could end up being approved by Gov. Bill Lee’s handpicked State Charter Commission.

A recent analysis of the potential fiscal impact of Hillsdale charters in Tennessee shows that if all five Hillsdale charters ultimately get approved, local taxpayers could be stuck with a tab of an additional $35 million a year.

If the school ultimately reaches Gov. Bill Lee’s promise of a network of 50 charters in Tennessee, that’s a total local taxpayer bill of $350 million a year.

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .