Metro School Board Works To Balance Budget - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro School Board Works To Balance Budget

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by Emily Luxen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro School Board Members said they're preparing to make some difficult decisions when it comes to balancing the district's budget, but vow that won't include cutting teaching positions.

The proposed $1.81 billion budget before Metro Council Members includes $746.4 million for schools — a $26 million increase over last year's budget, but $18 million less  than school board members asked for.

At a work session Tuesday night, board members discussed several possible reductions. 

Suggested cuts include reducing 21 positions at the central office, freezing step raises for employees, reducing some raises from 1.5% to 1.12%, and not hiring seven additional teachers originally requested because of growing student enrollment.

The suggestions were met with mixed reactions from board members.

"Anything we requested here was because there was a need," said Board Chair Cheryl Mayes. "Every teaching position you cut, you have to increase students in the classroom, and then you impact learning for every student in the classroom."

"From my vantage point, the proposed budget is still heavy on the administrative side," said Board Member Jill Speering. "Teachers appear to be taking the brunt of the cuts."

Board members said they are still grateful to be receiving more money than last year, and will do everything they can to keep teachers.

"We're going to make the best decision we can going forward about reducing administrative costs, and not taking money out of classrooms and instructional positions," said Board Member Will Pinkston.

"I wish we could do some other things we aren't doing now," said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register.

"It is still in the middle of the process, and we will make adjustments between now and July first."

School officials will meet with Metro Council Members Thursday to discuss the budget.  The council will make a final decision on the budget next month.

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