Oct 4, 2021

Nashville's school board residency scandal gets a DA shuffle

John Little. Photo provided by Metro Nashville Public Schools

The Williamson County district attorney has taken over an inquiry into whether Nashville school board member John Little lives in the district he was elected to represent.

Why it matters: Little purchased a house outside his eastern Davidson County district earlier this year, leading to criticism from some constituents and political opponents that he should be removed from office.

  • It is not a criminal violation, but local elected officials can be removed from office through civil proceedings if they're found to live outside the boundaries of their district.
  • Little told the Tennessean that while he serves on the school board he will maintain two residences, one of which is in his district.

The latest: The matter was referred to the Metro Legal Department earlier this year, leading to an initial inquiry.

  • Little's attorney, Alex Little (not related), pushed back against a Metro Legal letter asking the school board member to provide utility bills and other information.
  • In response, the legal department forwarded the matter to the Davidson County District Attorney's Office. DA Glenn Funk recused himself because John Little backed his campaign in 2014.

Driving the news: After Funk's recusal, the inquiry into John Little's residency was assigned to Williamson County DA Kim Helper.

  • Metro Council passed over John Little when he first sought appointment to the board after incumbent Anna Shepherd died in 2020. Several council members criticized John Little's ties to charter schools and the education reform movement.
  • But Little won the November election to finish the term, which expires next year.

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