Tuesday, January 30, 2007

2007-08 MNPS budget

The number crunching for the Metro Nashville Public Schools budget has been ongoing for a while but today we get to see some hard numbers start to shake out as the first draft of the budget was presented to the BOE this evening. According to the MNPS website this budget is $571,200,000.00 JUST 1.1% above last year's budget. Of that $14,700,000.00 is employee compensation already contractually committed.

Per the MNPS website we have the following available:

2007-2008 Budget Slide Presentation: This includes an overview of our accomplishments, limitations and budgetary challenges.

2007-2008 Budget Rationale: This explains the budget changes in a reader-friendly format, with an explanation of how the proposed additions and reductions will affect our educational services.

2007-2008 Line-Item Budget: This document includes the full line-item budget, along with summary sheets and detailed explanations of various categories.

2007-2008 Unfunded Priority List: The list details the additional services that could be added to the budget if the district receives more revenue.

Metro Schools Fact Sheet: This provides a summary of the district’s 2006-07 budget, students, facilities, personnel and technology. It also highlights some of the most impressive MNPS achievements since 2001.

Metro Schools Budget Brochure: This new brochure explains the funding process, the next steps in the budgetary process and contains the first analysis of MNPS expenses on a per-pupil basis.

Metro Schools Per Pupil Cost Comparison: This information shows how the money spent by MNPS has changed from 2006-2007 to 2007-2008.

Their your children and our tax money. You might want to cruise through and see what's going on.

And of course, contact the BOE members with your concerns and let them know what you want them to do. There's also a link on the right ---> so you can e-mail them all at the same time.


Tom said...

I don't even know where to start on this thing, but I have a few observations. First is that cuts are being made to line 2320, basic classroom teachers, when there are tons of specialists still on payroll. It's been a vicious cycle for over a generation, and no one ever seems to get it. MNPS keeps growing the number of specialists (for example, line 2230, Reading Specialists, which grows by 1 position next year.) and in many years cutting the number of regular classroom teachers, raising class size for most students. I'm sorry but in places on this budget, there is too much money chasing too few students. At some point maybe someone will see that overcrowding regular ed classrooms leads to the need for specialists/supplementary educators. Cut specialists and lower class size for all students- there will be returns! Line 2320 is the heart of a basic education, yet since it's the biggest line, it's usually the first to be cut. This cycle, Mrs. Brooks, is the answer to your question- why are we paying more for the same # of students and the same (or worse) results? The vast middle is being squeezed again.

2. Line 2200, 2203 and 2215- why, with all the personnel we have, are we spending 2 million more on staff development? Let the Asst superintendents and subject area supervisors, with the help of teachers already on payroll, run more staff development. Staff development would be cheaper and more relevant.

3. Line 2185- Essential Literature- $61,700 is being doled out mainly to replace books students have lost. If they are free and reduced lunch, we can get reimbursement funds (see line 2386); otherwise, these funds need to be collected from families of kids who lost the books. One more note on Essential Lit- these required books have slowed down the use of other library materials we've been buying for decades- and are still in good shape.

4. Contracted Services and Print Shop Services- This budget is an incomplete public document without much more explanation as to what each of these items is for. There is waste here, the board or administration should have to better defend each expenditure. It goes overlooked because the figures are broken up and placed here or there, same with materials and supplies.

Kay Brooks said...

Thank you for your insight, Tom. The budget is a behemoth and it takes clues like yours to help us make sense of it.