by Steven Hale
When Metro Nashville Public Schools officials appear before Mayor Karl Dean & Co. at a budget hearing Friday, they'll be asking for a few more dollars.
The City Paper's Andrea Zelinski has the details from last night's school board meeting:
“We’re just going to make the ask and have a discussion about it,” said board member Will Pinkston who chairs the board’s budget committee. “This is the moment in this community where we really get to have the conversation about costs, how committed people really are to creating new innovation through charters and other schools, and carrying forward investments when federal dollars run out, if we think they’re good investments.”
The nine-member school board approved the budget easily at its regular school board meeting Tuesday after weeks of discussing the implications of the increases, particularly the effect of needing $15 million to add five privately run, publicly funded charter schools next school year.
Approximately 80 percent of the district’s operating budget is made up of labor costs, according to Chris Henson, the MNPS chief financial officer. The budget also includes a 1.5 percent pay increase for district employees, plus increases in costs for pension and insurance benefits.
MNPS’ budget proposal also includes absorbing projects now paid for with federal grants like alternative teacher licensing programs, staff for a data warehouse and the district’s STEM office focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.
MNPS meets the mayor Friday at 9 a.m. on the first floor of the Metro Courthouse.