Parents question MNPS spending $14 million on COVID-19 testing program


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After a rollercoaster year for schools during COVID-19, Metro Nashville Public Schools wanted to ensure students, staff and parents felt safe returning to the classrooms this spring.

In February, MNPS signed onto a 19-week contract with Meharry Medical College Ventures, Inc. to offer random COVID-19 testing among other initiatives. Over the last five months, MNPS has spent a projected $14.3 million on the program.

But MNPS said less than one percent of tests collected were positive, 72 cases were identified out of more than 10,000 tests.

“I can off the top of my head think of ten things that would have benefitted students better than this colossal waste of money,” MNPS Parent Amy Pate said.

Pate said she can’t understand how the initiatives added up to such an expensive total.

“The excuse has always been we don’t have the funding; we don’t have the resources. Obviously, they do have the resources they just wasted them,” Pate said.

School Board Member Fran Bush said the contract never made sense to her either. She called the spending egregious.

Dr. Adrienne Battle said, “Ultimately, I believe it was a good thing for our schools and helped us to return students to the classroom while many other urban districts kept their doors closed.”

MNPS said the contract will not be renewed for the upcoming school year and will end on June 30. COVID-19 rapid tests will be offered by an as-needed basis from the school nurse.

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