Mayor signals Metro schools may not get requested $44M increase - WKRN News 2

Mayor signals Metro schools may not get requested $44M increase

Posted: Updated: April 12, 2013 03:53 PM

Using words like "difficult budget" and "finite resources," Mayor Karl Dean signaled on Friday that Metro schools may not get the $44 million increase it has requested.

It comes as Metro schools were the final department to go before Mayor Dean in his annual budget hearings for the upcoming fiscal year of 2013-2014.

Metro Schools Director Jesse Register and Metro School Board finance committee chair Will Pinkston told the mayor that they recognized the six-percent increase as a "sizeable sum," but it's a "responsible budget."

"I don't know if we are going to be able to do all that they ask for," said Mayor following the hearing.

The $764 million overall budget includes a 1.5% increase for teachers and all school employees along with nearly $15 million dollars to open five new charter schools.

As the budget hearing closed, the mayor indicated we'll "do the best we can," but he noted that the school budget had grown from $597 million during his first year in office to $720 million for the current year.

"One of the things we have to look at is the entire government, police, fire, public works and water, which has not grown as much as schools over the last few years," added Mayor Dean.

In response, Metro Schools Director Jesse Register said, "I don't want to say we are going to cut this or going to cut that until we come closer to finding out the mayor and the council will be able to fund."

Metro School Board member Will Pinkston, who chairs the board's finance committee, told Nashville's News 2, "We knew that he was going to push back on some key areas and we were prepared to answer questions and I think we are now prepared to go back and sharpen our pencils and make adjustments as needed."

School budgets typically average slightly more than 40% of the total Metro budget.

Last year the entire Metro budget was about $1.7 billion dollars.

Mayor Dean plans to present his entire budget to the Metro Council on April 30.

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