School board asks Metro Council for $15 million

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Posted at 9:12 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 23:27:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — COVID-19 is continuing to wreak havoc on budgets across the state. On Thursday, Metro Schools asked city leaders for more money on the heels of spending cuts slated to close four schools.

School leaders defended the plan that the school board approved Tuesday, during a Metro Council budget hearing Thursday held via teleconference.

"As we’re making these determinations and looking at our limited dollars, we want to be cognizant of assuring that less of the money is going towards overhead and more of the money is going toward supporting students," said Metro Schools superintendent Dr. Adrienne Battle.

But the budget troubles for Metro Schools aren’t over. The school board is asking Metro Council for $15 million beyond what Mayor John Cooper put forward to help fund the 3% raise teachers were afforded last year. Metro Council members wanted to know why they were they ones tasked with finding that money, instead of the school board.

"Why wasn’t a budget presented to this body that included what that $15 million cut would be?" asked Metro Councilmember Tanaka Vercher.

But school officials said if Metro Council doesn’t give them the extra $15 million, more cuts to the classroom will be coming.

"If we have to absorb the $15 million, it will mean cuts in staffing at schools, and we believe our kids are going to come back and will need all hands on deck on their return," said Gini Pupo-Walker, Metro School Board Budget and Finance Committee Chair