Council asks school board to hold another hearing on budget cuts

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 10:28pm

The Metro Council has asked the Metro Nashville Board of Education to hold a second public hearing on the school district’s proposed $633 million budget for the next fiscal year.

In an overwhelming vote of 32 to 2, the council approved a memorializing resolution that requests another public hearing be held, this time on a Saturday and at a school auditorium equipped to hold a large crowd. In addition, the council has urged that Metro3, the government-run station, televise the hearing.

School board chair David Fox could not be reached for comment.

Sponsors of the resolution are council members Michael Craddock, Eric Crafton and Jamie Hollin, who each took turns at last week’s hearing to blast cuts that target custodians and bus drivers in the proposed budget.

Under the plan, Director of Schools Jesse Register is looking to cut $10.9 million by outsourcing the district’s custodial services, which would affect more than 600 employees, and by reducing the work hours of school bus drivers. The budget proposal would also eliminate 24 positions inside the district’s administrative office.

Last week’s hearing saw hundreds of custodians and bus drivers try to squeeze into the school board’s work room, forcing many to watch from outside through an ajar door.

The bill’s sponsors told the board at the hearing they hoped Nashvillians would have a second chance to voice their opinions on the budget, requesting it be scheduled on a weekend to accommodate all school employees.

The timing of the council’s memorializing resolution could be an issue, as the board is scheduled to vote on the budget at its next board meeting on March 23.

8 Comments on this post:

By: Teeb on 3/17/10 at 5:40

If Michael Craddock, Eric Crafton and Jamie Hollin are that concerned about the layoffs and cutbacks, why don't they sponsor a bill to increase funding instead? No, they'd rather grandstand and bash the school board rather than do something constructive. Also, since Craddock is running for Criminal Court Clerk and Crafton is running for Juvenile Court Clerk they know they'll need all the SEIU support (and votes) they can get to snag a government job for themselves.

By: Anna3 on 3/17/10 at 6:23

Teeb, There you go again...focusing on your hatred of a Council Member or two. Take a deep breath, close your eyes...and think of the impact on the kids. I was AT that meeting and hundreds of people were excluded from the meeting because the room was not large enough. They ought to be extended the courtesy of being heard by those officials they elected to represent them as well as you. As for sponsoring a budget increase to help...I believe that IS in the works but these helpful Council Members are trying to give the School Board the opportunity to "Do the Right Thing" first before telling them they must do it. I am a Conservative and I generally like privatization when it makes sense...but this is non-sense. The board wants to balance a $5 million dollar shortage by privatizing Custodians, Some Food Service Workers, and cutting 1 hour a day from the bus drivers pay ...all of these folks generally make between $7.50 and $12.00 per hour. The company (Service Master) that would take over and "Privatize" these folks admit that they have no benefits and would reduce the pay of many in order to make a profit. This is just poor judgment to do this to our lowest paid workers in the middle of the worst economic downturn in 75 years. I think that the Board could find $5 Million in a $633 Million dollar budget some other way such as eliminating executive bonuses this year, or eliminating travel to any destination not critical to the operation of schools etc. We tried this a few years ago with miserable results...rampant school theft, persons with criminal records working around the kids, and the schools couldn't pass health department inspections. IMO ...This is just plain dumb to do again.

By: bfra on 3/17/10 at 6:36

For all the councilpeople that voted for this Karl ego boosting, boondoggle "MCC", I wish they would confiscate your salaries and donate it to our school system. Now the yellowbellied, Karl kissers want more money for schools. Some dopes!

By: JohnR on 3/17/10 at 7:30

Teeb, as far as Craddock is concerned, he has always been on the side of the little guy. Six years ago when he was fairly new to the Council the NES board was trying to shaft the employees and Craddock came to a board meeting to speak for the employees. Whether he is a candidate or not he has a great track record of fighting for us little people.

By: 742180 on 3/17/10 at 7:59

Personally I don't have a problem with it. Yes, it will displace a lot of entrenched workers. Workers who take their positions for granted and perform at a snails pace. The same is true with the entire MNEA, they are essentially a self protection agency, resisting anything that resembles change and progressiveness.
As to outsourcing other school jobs, ie cafeteria workers, I, once again, don't have a problem with it. I would even like to see the outsourcing of Teachers, and the dismanteling of the MNEA bureacracy.
I know many of you will scream at this post, but I would suggest that you read in
"mondays edition" of this very newspaper the article describing how Private Education is succeding and expanding.
How do you rationalize, (expain away), that?
A larger venue for more 'crying' isn't going to solve anything. Throwing more funding at it has proven time and again not to be an answer. Entrenched educational unions and tenure in jobs has destroyed public education. And you know it!!

By: Anna3 on 3/17/10 at 8:29

742180..Thanks for a thoughtful post and the civil demeanor with which it was delivered. As a true Conservative I agree with much of what you are stating. I personnaly believe that one may not easily discount the damage that will be done to those with whom we have a "Covenant" which I believe must be honored. I sat next to a man that had been employed 13 years as a school Custodian and was making $12.00 per hour. He said he was a single parent and that he owned a small house (For the first time in his life) a 8 year old car, and had a good and decent health care plan (For he and his son) and a retirement plan...but thats all he had in life. He said he bought his home based on his continued steady employment and that if he were to become a Service Master employee that he would probably continue to make $12 per hour but would lose his insurance, vacation, and retirement benefit as well as his home because he cannot go without insurance. That is probably the reality of it. How does a company like Service Master get "Profit" out of $7.50 to $12.00 per hour employees? Do you feel comfortable for a mere $5 million dollars a year in the scheme of a 3/4 billion dollar budget breaking this covenant with our lowest paid people. I personally do not. You are correct in that Democratic pandering and capitulation to the Unions for many, many years in the name of "Buying Votes" has put us here. The problem for the Democrats is that they did all of their pandering with OUR money...and the taxpayers are now fed up with it and replacing them all. If I were the SEIU President (Doug Collier) I would come up with $10 million dollars in suggested cuts and ask the School Board to choose any $5 million of them so as to give them flexibility...Also I would publish my suggested list far and wide if I really wanted to save my folks jobs. The taxpayers are tired of the adversarial relationships rather than some collaboration and help from the SEIU. They have a responsibility in my mind to use their folk whom work every day in "The Trenches" to discover cost saving opportunities...it sure would make them look alot better in the eyes of the Public. Is anyone at SEIU listening?

By: localboy on 3/17/10 at 8:58

"I am a Conservative and I generally like privatization when it makes sense...but this is non-sense." "As a true Conservative..." Who are you trying to convince-the un-"True" conservatives?

By: 742180 on 3/17/10 at 12:32

anna3 - No actually I would hate to see anyone lose their livelyhood. I am just fed up with the lack of 'real' effort to restore an education system that once worked quite well. Like so many levels of government it just needs to be blown up and start all over again. But, unfortuantely I know this will not happen due to all the layers of bureaucrats who are making a living off the few remaining non governmental tax paying citizens.