Some Metro Council members aren’t giving up when it comes to the school board’s decision to outsource school custodians and reduce the hours of bus drivers.
On Tuesday night — shortly after the council votes on Mayor Karl Dean’s $1.52 billion budget — the council will weigh in on a memorializing resolution that would ask the school board to reconsider budget reductions, specifically cuts aimed at custodians, groundskeepers and bus drivers.
The resolution has been co-sponsored by council members Edith Langster, Vivian Wilhoite, Erica Gilmore, Erik Cole, Jamie Hollin and Jerry Maynard.
“Privatizing the groundskeepers, janitors and reducing the hours of bus driver is just something I’m not for,” Langster said. “These are people who have families. It’s so unfair. Why do we always start at the bottom?”
Approval of the nonbinding memorializing resolution would be symbolic of the council’s attitude toward school cuts, but it’s unlikely to reverse the school board’s decision.
Though several council members have bemoaned the school board’s choice to move towards privatization, under the Metro Charter the council only establishes the level of funding Metro Nashville Public Schools receives. The school board decides how dollars are distributed throughout the district.
Both Director of Schools Jesse Register and the school board have indicated that if more money were appropriated to the schools budget, other areas of need would take precedence over maintaining the status quo in terms of custodial and bus operations.
“They’re not paying any attention to us,” Langster acknowledged.