(WBIR- Union County) The Union County School Board is sending a waiver to Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman that would unenroll more than 600 new students from the Tennessee Virtual Academy just a couple weeks before the school year begins.
If the school board did not send the waiver, the state said it would shut down the school for all 2,500 currently enrolled students.
At an emergency meeting Thursday night, the school board heard testimonies and concerns from parents who want their children to be able to take classes through the online school.
The school board repeatedly said they are fighting alongside the parents to allow these students to attend the school.
According to a letter from Huffman dated July 11, the school has demonstrated "student achievement growth at a level of significantly below expectations for three consecutive years." The state cut off all enrollment because Huffman said he was concerned about low test results.
The letter also notes that the data shows most of the challenges lie with first-year students, but students who have attended the academy for multiple years demonstrated improvement in performance.
"The first year is a transition year for any new program, especially the virtual setting," said Summer Shelton, a master teacher at Tennessee Virtual Academy. "It's a transition year for students. It's a transition year for parents."
The school cut off enrollment July 10, but more than 600 students had already enrolled.
Marissa Alexander said her daughter, Hailey, cannot attend a traditional school due to a health condition so the virtual academy is a good option for her.
Alexander said she wanted her other daughter, Alexis, to enroll in the school for the coming year as well.
"That puts us in a predicament of we don't know what to do so now I guess they're asking us to wait till Monday," she said. "School starts a week from Monday so we're lost."
The school board says they hope to hear back from the commissioner Friday or Monday, in which case, they will schedule another emergency meeting to discuss the students' future.