Nashville People's Budget Coalition calls on Metro Council to cut SRO spending, among other things

People's Budget Coalition wants cuts ahead of budget vote
Posted at 9:19 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 04:04:53-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tuesday, Metro Council will vote on the city's budget. It includes millions in spending increases, but less than 24 hours before the vote, one group wants to pump the breaks on how part of the money is spent.

"The city is going through large changes right now. Many people are being left behind, many groups- specifically neighborhoods- are being left behind. So what can we do to get funding that is allocated with them in mind," said Marcus Trotter-Lockett, a member of Nashville People's Budget Coalition.

The Nashville People's Budget Coalition says the answer is funding. They're calling on police funding to be cut in half, among other things

The coalition also wants to see $6.8 million the city spends on school resource officers spent elsewhere.

"Removing an officer from a school is a very crazy step - it's not the abandonment of a post, it's the replacement of someone who may be better tailored to deal with that, " said Trotter-Lockett. "That's money that could fully fund social and emotional learning and the recommended ratios for psychologist, school counselors and nurses in schools."

Council member Freddie O'Connell wishes the coalition's survey results had been released sooner.

"We did have a specific budget hearing for the budget at our last meeting and by the time of that meeting the survey here had not even closed. So we did hear from some members of the coalition but all of this detail was not available even by the time we had the public hearing," he said.

An amendment to the budget was filed late on Friday- but it doesn't give members much time to consider it.

O'Connell says even though the proposed budget isn't perfect - the city is moving in the right direction.

"To me, I'm looking at a budget that says we are making massive investments in teacher pay, we are emphasizing social and emotional learning in various parts of the community."

Both O'Connell and Trotter-Lockett agree SRO funding is a conversation that needs to continue.

"The idea that there's professionals who deal with these things, there are professionals put in place and funded to do these things- why won't we fund them," said Trotter-Lockett.