Last year we spent $674 million educating more than 79,000 students. Every year that number goes up – and not necessarily because we want it to. Inflation hits individuals and organizations alike. We have to pay more for many of the same services we receive year to year.
For 2012-13, the Board of Education has approved a budget increase of more than $48 million over the 2011-12 budget.
So where would it all go? Let’s take a look.
Earlier we saw how people are the biggest expense in Metro Schools and looked at a plan that will pay teachers more and help recruit the best new teachers available.
Today we give you a plan to replicate some of the success we’ve already had in graduating more students and preventing drop outs. And we need your help to make it happen.
We already mentioned the new Cane Ridge Elementary School. That’s an area that needs a new school and will get one no matter what. But we also need new schools for those students who may need a little extra help or a second chance.
No one wants a student to drop out of school. We want every child who enters our schools to leave with a high school diploma. One way in which we’ve made huge strides toward making this happen is with our Academy schools. The Academy at Old Cockrill and the Academy at Hickory Hollow are terrific schools for students who need another option for earning their diploma. They opened three years ago and have since graduated 1,000 students. And they do it at a fraction of the cost of a traditional high school. It’s one reason for the significant rise in our high school graduation rates.
They have been so successful, in fact, that we’d like to open another one. Opry Mills was the original home of the Academy at Hickory Hollow, but the school had to move after the May 2010 flood destroyed the mall. Now that the mall is back open, we’ve been invited to reopen the Academy at Opry Mills. We know a third Academy will turn out as many graduates as the other two. But it requires more teachers, an investment in technology, and supplies. And all of that costs money.
Another step in fighting the dropout rate is catching students early, before they get to high school. That’s the idea behind the new Nashville Bridge School proposed in this budget. Bridge would be a place for middle school students who are over aged and under credited, which are warning signs of dropping out. These students would attend Bridge until they get back on track academically.
These are proven strategies to boost the graduation rate. And they’ll do it for less money than traditional schools: $2.1 million. That takes our total increases up to $47.5 million.
OTHER EXPENSES – AND SAVINGS!
Where does the other million in expenses go? Several smaller increases are listed below:
- Match for Teacher Incentive Fund Grant: $292,000
- Increase in contract with New Teacher Project: $261,000
- Increase in contracts for Health Services for school nurses (Red Cross, Metro Health, & Vanderbilt): $398,000
- Hiring more school translators: $117,400
- Hiring more parent outreach translators: $165,000
- Making up for funds in a now-expired grant for Smaller Learning Communities: $198,800
- Music Makes Us, the collaboration among Mayor Dean, the district and private supporters to improve music education: $540,900
- Staffing adjustments in various departments: $1,783,000
There are also savings!
- Staff savings (including changes to pension, FICA savings, and new hires replacing higher paid retirees): $3,632,000
- Not purchasing new literature textbooks (they must be further studied for compatibility with Common Core Standards): $2,000,000
And when it’s all added together it comes out like this:
- NEEDED CHANGES: $39,401,200
- PROPOSED CHANGES: $9,484,300
- TOTAL ADDITIONAL FUNDS: $48,885,500
How can the district get the funding needed? You are the answer. We need your public show of support for fully funding Metro Schools.
Mayor Dean has presented his full budget proposal for Metro Nashville to the Metro Council. In June the Metro Council will vote on a final budget, including funding for schools.
Call and email your Council Member and the five at-large Council Members and ask them to vote for the Mayor’s budget for schools.
Metro Nashville’s public schools are making strides. Support full funding for education, so schools can continue the journey to success.