Friday, April 18, 2014

Schools want $32.5 Million more. MNPS Mayor's budget hearing.

Below are news reports on the budget hearing.

This Tennessean article provides a very good summary of the  Schools budget request:

Mayor praises pre-K but doesn't pledge funds yet 

The Tennessean, by Joey Garrison, April 16, 2014 - Mayor Karl Dean called a plan to expand prekindergarten "a very innovative and thoughtful idea" Wednesday but stopped short of promising funds for it just yet as his administration reviews $32.5 million in requested new education spending.
Dean, following his annual budget hearing with the Metro school board, pointed to unfinished work on a final 2014-15 budget proposal when asked whether he endorses what has turned into Director of Schools

New spending
Highlights of $32.5 million in new spending proposed by MNPS:
  • $7.4 million for 2 percent salary increase for school employees
  • $3.4 million to expand pre-K to 340 students and open three pre-K centers in East, South and North Nashville
  • $14.7 million to open three charter schools and to increase seats at existing charters

Nashville Public Radio - Nashville Mayor Karl Dean wouldn’t give a “yes” or “no” to any of the initiatives in Metro Schools’ budget presentation Wednesday, which asked for $32.5 million more than last year.

The changes would lift the school system’s total funding, which was already the largest chunk of Metro’s budget, to $779 million.

School officials want to keep a 2 percent raise for teachers and support staff, after Governor Haslam reneged on his plan to increase teacher pay statewide. The Mayor wouldn’t give a definitive answer on if the salary boost would make his final proposal to the Metro Council.
This is an excellent article that explains the conflict between Dean's vision and the School Boards resistance to change.
Has Karl Dean missed his chance to shape Nashville public education? 
 The Nashville Scene, by Bruce Dobie, April 17, 201-   This week's hearings were to give Dean an opportunity to challenge the board's request for its large increase, in light of the school system's inability to work or play well with charter schools and reluctance to move toward the portfolio approach. Dean is on the right side of the argument — the tide has turned so dramatically on the issue of education reform that it's not a matter of "if" but "when." But he has two strikes against him. First, the school board has all the power: It comes up with the budget. And second, Dean has yet to articulate what a new portfolio-based budget should look like.

Months ago, Dean might have written a new budget himself — one with a portfolio-based financial model that pushes decision-making down to individual schools while dramatically reducing overhead. Budgeting is a dry domain, but numbers never lie. With Register and the board refusing to move his direction, the mayor might have provided a way forward by writing his own budget. It may not be his job, but he still controls the purse — and writing one would have changed the conversation.

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