Metro Schools may cut 665 jobs to help offset a $35 million budget gap next school year. This morning district officials released their first draft of a budget that totals $633 million.
Nearly all of those 655 positions are custodians and maintenance workers. The district estimates it will save 5 million dollars by outsourcing that work to a private company. Mainly the savings will come from cheaper benefits packages. Current custodial workers will get first dibs on the jobs but no hiring guarantees. Director of Schools Jesse Register says this wasn’t an easy decision, but he didn’t feel comfortable making cuts to the classroom.
“We cut 150 teaching positions last year in the district. This year we can’t go back there. I tell you we tightened up our teacher allotment just as tight as we could make it.”
In the proposed budget, bus drivers will have shorter hours and fewer paid days. Also 24 positions are being eliminated from the central office. Even with all these reductions, the district must still ask Metro Council for 25 million dollars to keep from making further cuts.
Tennessee is a finalist for millions of dollars in federal grant money in the Race to the Top program. Even if Tennessee wins, that money can not go toward operating budget costs.