On the eve of the school board’s final verdict on a proposed $633 million budget, Councilman Walter Hunt urged Director of Schools Jesse Register to reconsider cuts that would affect hundreds of school bus drivers and custodians.
In a letter sent Monday to Register, Hunt offered an alternative, requesting a 3 to 5 percent pay cut among all school employees “beginning with the director of schools.”
Register earns $250,000 a year.
With the plea, Hunt has joined a small group of council members, including Michael Craddock, Eric Crafton and Jamie Hollin, who have public spoken out against cuts outlined in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
Billing the plan as an attempt to protect classroom teachers, Register has recommended outsourcing Metro’s 600-plus custodial positions and reducing the hours of its bus drivers. Combined with slashing 24 positions within the central office, cuts should generate nearly $11 million in savings.
“As I hope you are aware, there is a lot of opposition to the proposal to outsource the job positions as indicated by the many calls and e-mails that I have received,” Hunt wrote in his letter. “I believe it to be wrong to eliminate these positions and take away the wages and benefits from people who can least afford it.”
The council’s Budget and Finance Committee is holding a public hearing tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Metro Southeast building at Genesco Park on Murfreesboro Road, giving Nashvillians their last chance to speak on the matter.
Despite a request by the council in the form of a memorializing resolution, the school board has opted to not hold an additional public hearing on the budget.
The board will vote on the budget at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.