Nashville Schools Budget Barely Keeping With Inflation

by : Patricia Hawke

The Nashville Schools are bracing for a budget cut. While costs are rising at about 3.4% due to inflation and other needed costs, the increase in the overall budget is only 1.1%. Despite the Nashville Schools best efforts to insure this deficit is not felt by students-there will certainly be changes felt by the loss of 40 classroom teachers and almost 100 custodians.

While the cuts will hurt some areas of the district, the Nashville Schools will still have some winners in the budget game. Several positions will be added, programs kept or expanded, and critical concerns addressed. For starters, there will be an overall increase in guidance counselors and attendance counselors. These are two positions that are expected to improve overall student success in Nashville Schools by steering students towards appropriate programs, and by ensuring regular and consistent attendance.

The Nashville Schools will continue to fund its attendance initiative. One key part of that is the automated ‘phone home’ program that notifies parents if their children are absent from school. Nashville Schools feel this is a vital program to keep parents informed of their child’s attendance, and to hold parents accountable. Also, slated to be kept on the budget for Nashville Schools, is the credit recovery program for both middle and high school students. This program allows students to earn missing credits in order to move up to the next grade level and to graduate on time. The Nashville Schools have seen an overall increase in the number of students graduating on time since its implementation.

The safety officers at each high school will actually see an increase in their numbers as both parents and administrators feel that they are necessary to keep students in Nashville Schools safe. In addition to safety officers, behavior specialists will be placed in schools with the most behavior challenges to help resolve these issues and have a positive impact on the academic lives of these students. The Nashville Schools will also be adding several special education teachers to better serve special needs students. The highly gifted students of the Nashville Schools will see an increase of nine new classrooms for highly gifted students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

A control clerk will be added to the textbook department which will save thousands of dollars a year in lost and misplaced textbooks. The Nashville Schools estimate they lose thousands of dollars each year in books that the school board simply can’t trace. The Nashville Schools will also see an increase in the budget for charter schools. While charter schools aide in the education of students of the metro Nashville area, they deplete funds from other schools where teachers and supplies must be kept on hand even though the student population drops. There are also slight increases in the budget for materials, technology information, routine classroom supplies and clerical supplies. The Nashville schools also made an increase in their budget to cover the inflationary costs of fuel, natural gas, and electricity.