Wednesday night, the Board of Education voted on a final 2012-13 Operating Budget for Metro Schools.
The Board previously approved a budget, which was submitted to the Metro Council. The Council voted to increase funding for Metro Schools, but provided $3.5 million less in operating funds than the Board of Education proposed.
After hours of consideration, deliberation, and a line-by-line review of the budget, an amended version was agreed upon. Whenever possible, reductions were kept away from classrooms and instruction.
Many people are asking what is in the budget and what didn’t make it. Here is a brief rundown.
WHAT’S IN THE BUDGET
Starting Teacher Pay Increase – All teachers in the first five years of their careers with Metro Schools now have a base pay of $40,000. This was one of the cornerstones of the budget proposal and has already generated a lot of excitement among our teachers and our new recruits.
Raise for All Teachers –All teachers will receive a raise of 2% – at minimum – in addition to any step increases they are due.
Support Employee Raise – Support employees will receive a 2% cost of living raise, their first since 2007. This is in addition to step increases.
New Teachers – The district planned to hire 90 additional teachers this year to meet growing enrollment. Those positions remain in the final budget. The district did not reduce any teaching positions.
WHAT WAS REDUCED
Compressing the Top End of Teacher Pay Scale – The earlier budget proposal called for a compression of the teacher salary schedule, so teachers would reach the top level of pay in 15 years. There just wasn’t enough money to make this happen this budget cycle, but we hope to take another look at it for next year.
Some Vacant Positions – The district will not fill some vacant positions and will shift some responsibilities among other employees.
Various Items in Several Departments – Supplies, printing, travel, overtime and other items were reduced to reach the final number. While no one wanted to ‘nickel and dime’ the budget, all reductions were considered, no matter how small.
In the end this is a terrific budget that will have a major impact on our students and employees. Teachers and support staff will earn more. We are in a better position to recruit the best teachers from across the country. And we still have top quality educators in every school.
We are a very fortunate urban school district. While many cities are forced to cut school budgets dramatically, Mayor Dean, the Metro Council and the people of Nashville have provided the funding the district needs to continue our forward momentum. We are a school district on the rise.