NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Director of Metro Schools said in an interview that a hiring freeze is not being considered as an option to deal with the loss of $3.4 million following the Great Hearts charter school rejection.
During OpenLine on News Channel 5+ Wednesday, Dr. Jesse Register put to rest rumors that a partial hiring freeze was being considered in order to deal with the Tennessee Department of Education's decision to withhold $3.4 million in funding after the school board voted not to approve Great Hearts Academy.
The funding lost was part of the non-instructional portion of the Basic Education Program( BEP) funding plan for the month of October. Register said that this funding lost would not affect students and classrooms, but would cuts within areas like transportation. The funding cuts end up being about $44 per student.
The school board has called a special meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, to discuss the possible options Metro Schools has to deal with the funding cuts. Register said during the meeting the School Board leaders plan to discuss how they can adjust their budget for the year to make up for the October shortfall.
Despite other media reports, Register said that a hiring freeze and layoffs were not being considered in the new budget analysis.
"We will not consider that (layoffs) at this point in time. We are fiscally very sound and we've managed our funds very well, so we don't have to worry about that," he said. "Jobs are not in jeopardy."
According to Register that the cuts would affect prior plans the schools had made, and that officials would have to consider scaling back early propositions. Leaders will also need to make plans to make possible cuts in the areas of textbooks, technology, and transportation all of which are funded by the non-instructional portion of the Basic Education Program.
Register said he was disappointed that school leaders have been unable to continue a dialog with leaders of the Tennessee Department of Education regarding the charter school decision.
"Our board doesn't feel like it violated the law, it violated a directive from the State Board of Education, but there is a great deal of uncertainty around the law and the authority of the State Board and the State Commissioner to really take this action," he explained. "We do not believe that we violated the law,"
Due to the funding issue Register said that his relationship with the State Department of Education has become strained. In spite of that fact, the Director of Schools said that he plans to continue to work with the Department to provide a quality education for students.
"We want to do what's best for our children in Davidson County, what's best for our school system and we feel like we are taking actions to do that," Register said.