Metro school board members took a first glance at next years budget last night.
Acting director and chief financial officer Chris Henson says the 617-million dollar budget represents just over 3-percent growth from this year. In the face of a tight budget year on the city and state levels, Henson calls the figure a ‘baseline.’
“So you’re not going to see anything over and above what we feel like is required to move us forward, again, taking a conservative approach at this point.”
The 19-million dollar increase accounts for inflation and the added cost to open Cane Ridge High School and Thurgood Marshall Middle, both in Antioch. 56 teachers and staff positions would be added if the baseline budget is fully funded.
However, the first budget draft doesn’t include 13-million dollars worth of recommended improvements to help the district step up its standing with the state under No Child Left Behind. More than half of that money would go toward hiring some 150 special ed teachers, translators and math coaches – all areas the district has fallen short of federal benchmarks.
The additional dollars will likely be optional for the Metro Council to fund when it finalizes its budget in June.
Schools officials say they’ll have a clearer picture for next year once they receive revenue projections from Metro Finance.