“The Dose,” a weekly dose of news you can actually use.
Ayrika L Whitney, The Tennessean

A booming Nashville doesn’t mean success for its schoolchildren. Why musicians struggle to call Music City home. And the story of why a student who identifies as transgender got kicked out of a local college. I’m Jessica Bliss, and this is your weekly Dose.

This week’s dose of news

Olivia Rodney holds a sign saying “Public Schools Matter” as teachers and supporters march from Cumberland Park to the Metro Courthouse demanding higher wages Thursday, May 16, 2019 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: George Walker IV / The Tennessean)

For some students, Nashville isn’t the “it city.” It’s the “inequity city.”

Nashville’s “it city” status continues to rise, attracting new tourists, development, money and attention. But the burgeoning economy has not changed the struggle for Metro Nashville Public Schools. Children do not have an equal chance of success, and an entire segment of students has been left behind — creating a divide between the prosperity of the city and the future of its youth.

During the next year, The Tennessean will examine the inequality in Nashville’s public schools, focusing on the interconnected issues affecting students, families, teachers and the city as a whole and examining what can be done to bridge the divide for children. This is the launch of the series, and it’s definitely worth the read. Wondering how Nashville schools stack up against each other? Here’s an interactive map with key statistics and disparities. Have something to add? We want your input on the challenges facing Nashville public school students. Here’s where to share it.

The rise of the “Rock Doc” and a “costly mistake”

For years, state health officials in Tennessee investigated an outlandish nurse practitioner in Jackson. A man who fostered a larger-than-life persona for himself — a tattooed, rebellious, womanizing party animal who worked hard, played hard and lived by his own rules. To his social media followers, he was the “Rock Doc.” To those he treated, he was a threat. Investigators found evidence he was running a pill mill and having sex with patients. And they didn’t stop him. Federal prosecutors called this decision a “costly mistake.” Here’s the full story.

Updates, quick hits and tidbits

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Numbers worth knowingWhere should Music City Center’s surplus tax money go? 

That answer is up for debate, depending on which of Nashville’s two remaining mayoral candidates (current Mayor David Briley and run-off opponent John Cooper) you ask. A key component of that discussion is what is known as the tourism development zone (TDZ), an area around Music City Center that diverts some sales tax collected within the zone to pay for the convention center debt. The tourism taxes and fees dedicated to pay for the building have come in substantially higher than expected, thanks largely to a boom in leisure tourism. The question now is: Where should that money go?

Here’s what each mayoral candidate thinks, along with a closer look at the numbers:

$623 million: In debt taken on by Nashville to build Music City Center.

$122.8 million: Collected by the Music City Center’s tourism development zone since 2013. Of that, $87.9 million was the state portion and $34.9 million was the city’s share. 

$175 million: In reserve funds for Music City Center last year.

$20 million: Amount of the surplus rerouted to cover city costs downtown, such as police overtime and public works expenses after a deal struck by Briley with the Convention Center Authority.

$43.5 million: What remains of the reserves after approved capital projects, minimum cash reserves and money committed to Metro, according to data provided by the Convention Center Authority.

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All the good feels

Bringing a triple dose of fun to you this week.

Jason and Lucy Maxwell, and daughters, Addy, 9, and Maya, 6, film for their YouTube channel Tic Tac Toy at their home Monday, July 15, 2019, in Brentwood, Tenn.  (Photo: Courtney Pedroza / The Tennessean )

Quote of the week”I was under strict rules that I could only attend the college if I stayed with a Christian therapist and if I didn’t tell anyone else I was transgender or bisexual.”

— Yanna Awtrey, a college student who was kicked out of Welch College in Gallatin on the day of his breast reduction surgery.

Awtrey spent most of his life with his family in Bulgaria. His parents are Free Will Baptist missionaries. He is now living alone in a hotel room after being dismissed from Welch and kicked out of the dorms. He has no family in this country.

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