The Metro Nashville Public Schools admitted the school system has a $7.5 million budgeting shortfall in a blockbuster announcement released on Friday.
“Teachers braced for impact after Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph made the stunning admission that the district was set to lose $7.5 million in state funding, due to a unpredicted drop in student enrollment numbers,” NewsChannel 5 reported.
A grim fiscal outlook for next fiscal years, means some principals may be forced to cut as many as 17 positions at schools where enrollment decreases are the highest.
For the first time in 15 years, Metro Nashville Public School’s enrollment numbers have dropped. District officials thought they would add more than 1,500 students in 2017 instead the district lost 500 students.
Because of the drop in enrollment, the district is expected to lose $7.5 million in state funding, which had already been built into the budget.
MNPS School Director Dr. Shawn Joseph offered no explanation for the administrative budgeting fiasco that failed to anticipate the enrollment decline in a letter sent to teachers on Friday.
Instead, he simply acknowledged that a budget shortfall existed for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
“Budgeting for the many needs in our district is always a challenge, but less funding this year due to declining enrollment is always a challenge, but less funding this year due to declining enrollment and competition with other city priorities will make planning our budgeting especially difficult,” Joseph wrote.
Joseph also offered no explanation for the decline in MNPS enrollment while the population of the city is increasing.
“Our unexpected enrollment decrease this year means we will receive $7.5 million less in state funds than we budgeted for the school year,” he said.
Joseph listed a number of budget reductions MNPS will be taking. Not on that list was a reduction in the high expenditures associated with his office and his staff.
He also identified several areas where additional spending will be considered, despite the $7.5 million shortfall:
- Increasing the dollars that go directly to school-based budgets
- “Investing” in areas that address the social and emotional needs of our students
- Investments in our employees
- Funds for profeessional development
Parents and teachers alike reacted negatively to the announcement. Many criticized Joseph and the MNPS for poor planning and its failure to anticipate the reduction in enrollment.
You can read Dr. Joseph’s full message to teachers here:mnps letter