Budget 2018-19 Operating Year


Equity and Excellence – those are the two key values describing our goals and our focus for the 2018-2019 Metro Nashville Public Schools operating budget.

We believe in equitable access and opportunities for all students regardless of where they come from and we believe all students benefit from excellent, high-quality instruction and high expectations in every subject and in every classroom across the district. Those guiding values will shape the 2018-2019 operating budget proposal currently in development.

“We are anticipating a lean budget year next year, but we can’t let that keep us from focusing strategically and intentionally on our needs and using all funding sources to their maximum effectiveness,” said Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph. “While we are still a few weeks away from having a full budget proposal for the Board’s consideration, our budget discussions are centered on providing additional funding to our highest needs schools and students and addressing the priorities identified in our Strategic Plan.”

On Tuesday, March 6, the Board of Education met for the first time in a series of budget-focused meetings and discussed three key areas of the district’s operating budget.

This Year's Budget

For the 2017-2018 school year, MNPS estimated an enrollment increase of 1,500 students; however, the district actually experienced an enrollment decrease of 500 students.

What does this mean for this year’s budget? It means the district experienced a net loss of funding for approximately 2,000 students and, because the state allocates BEP funding based on enrollment, the district will receive $7.5 million less for this year’s operating budget than anticipated.  

As announced last week, the district will review spending for the remainder of this operating budget – above and beyond daily operational practices. These reviews will cover all hiring, travel and spending in an attempt to better align the remainder of this budget year’s expenses with available funds. This will not affect budgeted classroom positions.

Our Budget Process Timeline

Budget Process Timeline_032818.jpg

Looking to Next Year’s Budget

Our Schools

Metro Schools is committed to looking at our work through an equity lens at all times—to remove social, economic, and other obstacles that disadvantage children from succeeding in school.  

In a city like ours, with constantly shifting demographics, we need to look at all available resources to make sure our schools with the greatest need are getting the resources necessary to provide equitable access to a great education to all students of all socio-economic backgrounds. 

To that end, the district will reallocate federal Title I funds to serve those schools and students who need it most. With next year’s budget, Title I funds will be distributed to schools at a poverty level of 75 percent or higher, whereas today they are allocated to schools with a poverty level of 50 percent or higher. This will hyper-focus those dollars on 87 schools in our district – 39 of which have a 100 percent poverty level. This does mean some schools could lose some Title I funding. 

In early March, Metro Schools announced our decision to reallocate Title I funds to hyper-focus those federal dollars on our schools that fall above the 75 percent poverty threshold.  In the week following, the district carefully listened to and considered feedback from the community, families, faculty and staff about reallocating Title I funds for the upcoming school year. As an underfunded school district, we must be intentional in allocating our funds in a way that supports all of our students, especially those that need it the most. 

While the district will still reallocate federal Title I funds to serve those highest-need students and schools, we have heard your feedback and, as such, will reallocate these funds on a phased-in approach.  

For the upcoming school year (2018-2019), Title I funds will be allocated in the following manner:  

  • Schools that fall within the 50 to 74 percent poverty range will receive Title I funding, though it will be a  less than previous years.  

  • Schools that fall above the 75 percent poverty threshold will receive additional Title I funding, ensuring our students who need additional resources the most will have access to them. This category of schools includes 39 schools that have a 100 percent poverty level.  

One-hundred twenty of the district’s traditional public schools participate in Student-Based Budgeting, which gives principals the autonomy to decide how to build their budgets based on their students’ unique educational, social and emotional needs.

For the upcoming operating budget, the district will add $7.2 million to the Student-Based Budget allocation through an increase of the dollar amount allocated for each student. With the exception of six schools, every school is receiving a higher per-student allocation. Metro Schools does operate non-traditional schools that do not participate in Student-Based Budgeting because of their unique nature as a program. Those schools receive a direct allocation from the district's budget.

By state law, charter schools receive the total state and local revenue per pupil based on the number of students they have enrolled. For fiscal year 2018, $111,149,000 was distributed to charter schools. The projected charter distribution for fiscal year 2019 is $125,107,000.

Schools that experience a decrease in enrollment could see their Student-Based Budget allocation decrease and some may also see their Title I allocation decrease because they are below the 75 percent poverty level.

Our Workforce

Our district is committed to excellence by design and the work we do every day would not be possible without the people who do the work. Every day, more than 10,000 employees show up for our 86,000 students and work to deliver a great public education to each of them.

For the second year in a row, the district is prioritizing pay scales for all employees to ensure we continue to recruit and retain high-quality employees. The district recently completed a pay-scale analysis comparing MNPS salaries to other like-districts as well as the private sector.

To begin to address the findings of that analysis would require a 4.5 percent increase in the district’s pay scales at an estimated cost of $25.4 million.  This amount includes a step increase for eligible staff.

Improving salaries for all employees is a long-term endeavor that will take multiple years and strong partnership with city leaders and Metro Council.

As we approach this budget season, we invite families, faculty and staff to attend a Board of Education budget meeting and advocate on behalf of all students:

March 6, 2018                Budget & Finance Committee Meeting, 4 p.m.
March 13, 2018              Budget & Finance Committee Meeting/Public Hearing on Budget, 6 p.m.
March 27, 2018              Budget & Finance Committee Meeting, 4 p.m./Public Hearing on Budget, 6 p.m.
March 28, 2018              State of Schools Address, 10:30 a.m. @ Overton High Auditorium
April 9, 2018              Bud Comm Public Hearing 5:00 p.m.
April 10, 2018              Board of Education Meeting/Vote on Budget Proposal
April 12, 2018              Bud Comm Public Hearing 5:00 p.m.
April 16, 2018              Special Called BoE Meeting (Budget Vote) 5:00 p.m.
April 18, 2018                 Budget hearing with Mayor, 9 a.m.