Crafton wants Metro to sue state for more education funding

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 12:01am

Stirred by what he believes are insufficient state funds allocated to Metro Nashville Public Schools, Councilman Eric Crafton said he and other members plan to hand Mayor Karl Dean a letter urging him to sue the state on behalf of Metro government.

At issue for Crafton and others is the state’s Basic Education Program, which establishes the amount of state dollars set aside for school districts by taking into account, among other factors, a county’s fiscal capacity, measured primarily by property values and sales tax collections. Metro uses two-thirds of its sales tax revenue to fund public schools.

Under the BEP formula, Tennessee’s smaller rural counties rely on greater proportions of state dollars for school funding than larger counties. On average, the state spends $2,523 on each MNPS student, compared with $3,988 on the average Tennessee student, according to recent figures. As a result, Davidson County ranks second-to-last in per-pupil state funding, behind only Knox County.

“We’ve met with the Davidson County delegation,” Crafton said. “They’ve said because we’re so outnumbered by representatives of the rural counties, that the only way we can seek an equitable distribution of funds is to actually file a lawsuit against the state.”

Slapping a lawsuit on state government could be a hard sell to the mayor’s office, however.

In a written statement, Janel Lacy, Dean’s spokeswoman, called Gov. Phil Bredesen a “strong advocate for public education” who has “worked closely with Mayor Dean on education reform.”

“Any lawsuit brought by Metro government is originated by the law department,” Lacy added. “If Mr. Crafton believes there is something illegal about the way the state is allocating funds for education, he can bring that to the attention of Metro Legal.”

As of Tuesday, Crafton said he had enlisted 20 council members to sign the “letter of cooperation” and thought the number would increase to 25. He said a news conference for the cause would likely take place later this week.

Crafton, who represents parts of Bellevue and is running as a Republican for juvenile court clerk, has called attention to the state’s BEP formula before.

Over the summer, Crafton sponsored a memorializing resolution asking Bredesen and the state legislature to revise the BEP formula to “ensure a more equitable distribution of funds” for MNPS.

18 Comments on this post:

By: njmccune on 3/3/10 at 7:15

Can Eric Crafton find any other obscure way to keep his name in the news???

If you look up self-aggrandizement in the dictionary you will find Craftons picture!!

By: Anna3 on 3/3/10 at 7:36

Way to go njmccune! Nothing like puttin' those kids first! Why do you nit-wits always key on the fact that its Crafton and that he gets under your skin? Are you obsessing over him? I have a question for you...How many of YOUR favorite Council members saw that we were getting short changed $150 million dollars EVERY year by the state and DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT? None...thats how many. Like Crafton or not...he gets the job done. If we had 34 others on the Council like him....we might actually have somebody looking out for our interests for once. Stop the nonsense and start thinking about our city for once instead of being so petty. Whatever your agenda may be...could you please add our kids to it for once?

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 7:36

Thus far, everything Crafton has supported, if for the betterment of this City! Show one that wasn't.

By: njmccune on 3/3/10 at 7:50

I have no agenda... in fact, I think most of the council is pretty lame... I am not saying that I am against all of what Crafton is for, quite the contrary... what I am saying is that Mr. Crafton manages to get himself in the news way more than most... and he does! That was my comment!

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 7:54

Big majority of the other councilmembers are too busy sucking up to Dean to be involved in anything else!

By: TN4th on 3/3/10 at 9:10

The situation may be more complex than a pure dollars-for-dollars comparison. The comparison should be services-for-services. In my county, which is very rural, the school system spends a lot on buses, for example, where in Davidson County, the average distance to school is much shorter. There are economies to running an urban system that don't exist in the rural areas. We should be equalizing the educational experience across all the counties, instead of looking at the superficial dollar measure.

By: TITAN1 on 3/3/10 at 9:15

Eric Crafton is proof, you can't fix stupid!

By: TITAN1 on 3/3/10 at 9:22

Anna, crafton does not give a damn about the kids! All he cares about is getting his name in the news! He is a grandstander and will do anything to get his name in the news. Metro suing the state? He is a freaking IDIOT!

By: concernedtaxpayer on 3/3/10 at 9:54

njmccune and TITAN1: Crafton is one of the few council members that actually cares for Davidson County taxpayers. But of course, people like each of you do not know because you have probably never actually spoken to him to be able to understand his interests. All you can do is trash talk about someone when you really do not even know him.

By: njmccune on 3/3/10 at 10:08

And you are sure that I do not know him, nor have I spoken to him??? Your clairvoyance is tuned into the wrong channel as you are wrong on both counts!

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 10:51

Titan1 - Go back to cheering your idol "spitman" jones. You don't seem to comprehend anything good for this City!

By: trtay2004 on 3/3/10 at 10:55

I'm not a fan of Crafton, in fact, his low end rentals that he owns are bringing down my property values in East Nashville because of the riff raff he keeps there. Regardless, though, I agree with trying to get a more equal portion for Metro Schools. I think he's actually doing the right thing even though he needs to follow the correct procedure to get it done. And yes, I know he's doing it more for show than substance, but that's okay with me as long as the end result is a positive one for our schools.

By: TITAN1 on 3/3/10 at 12:30

Oh! Trust me, I have spoken to Crapton! Barf, it is time for you to slither back under your rock.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 1:11

Titan1 - Comeon let's hear so more rah rah for your spitman. That is your idol, which means you know little about what's good for this City!

By: TITAN1 on 3/3/10 at 3:18

He must be your idol since you are the one that always brings him up. I was right, you can't fix stupid.

By: Dragon on 3/3/10 at 3:39

Maybe Metro should stop giving away all its property and sales taxes for convention centers and sports arenas. The BEP looks at the locality's tax base and doesn't take into account how the taxes are spent.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 5:26

Titan1 - You are the only "one" I ever heard dumb enough to say, "what he did off the field didn't matter"!

By: TITAN1 on 3/3/10 at 6:20

I never said that barf, but someone that posted here did say that at least once. I supported him not being kicked off the team until the Vegas incident, just as thousands of fans did. I said during the times leading up to that incident that he was making bad decisions and needed to stay away from the clubs. Get your facts straight. You have a very bad memory or you are a pathetic liar.