Program for students facing suspensions might see cuts

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 8:40pm

A program Metro Nashville Public Schools credits with helping reducing its number of suspensions could be cut as the school board ponders a proposed $670.5 million budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The Twilight Program, implemented last academic year, allows students who commit disciplinary offenses to replace suspension days with their attendance at after-school classrooms. Offered at nine middle and 12 high schools, the program prevented 1,535 suspensions last year alone, according to school officials.

Director of Schools Jesse Register said the program is made by possible by approximately $900,000 in annual state dollars. The district is still waiting to find out the level of state funding for next year.

“It’s just an unknown,” Register said of potentially losing the program. “We hope the state will continue to fund this. It’s a really important program to us. It employs teachers. It gives additional pay to teachers to do this.

“If we lose the state funding, we’ll certainly try to keep it with local funds, but that’s an unknown too,” he said.

There are plenty of unknowns one week before a March 10 public hearing on a school budget that would represent a $37 million increase compared to the budget of the current fiscal year.

Metro school officials still haven’t seen local property and sales tax revenue figures. Hence, once the district matches the proposed expenditures with actual revenue projections, cuts in some form or fashion appear likely. Complicating the matter is $30 million in revenue the district is losing thanks to depleted stimulus dollars.

“I think the greatest concern that we have is our federal budget,” Register said. “We’re losing jobs money and we’re losing stimulus money. We’ve used that up. So, we’re going to really have to work with staffing. I think that’s the biggest challenge we face now.”

School board members met Wednesday night to discuss the proposed budget. A final budget draft is to go before the board March 22 for a vote.

Mayor Karl Dean has scheduled a Metro schools budget hearing for March 31 at 3 p.m.  

4 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 3/3/11 at 12:31

Cuddling the "Little Darlings" does have it's cost.

By: NewYorker1 on 3/3/11 at 12:41

Make the parents pay for the program. Start hitting them in the pockets and maybe they'll make their bad-a$$ kids behave. Our system is too damn soft. It's time to grow some freaken kahunas and start taking control of these kids instead of letting the kids take control.

It pisses me off when I pay so much in taxes and the money is going towards these types of programs because some parents, that shouldn't have kids in the first place, can't control their children and the rest of society has to pay for their menaces to society.

By: NewYorker1 on 3/3/11 at 12:48

In today's economic environment, why have children if you can't afford it? There's absolutely no excuse to have kids with all the birth control available. If you can't afford to provide your child with a home, healthcare, and an education, then you don't need to have kids. It's just that simple. Think twice before you bring another human into this world if you can't provide for the child properly. It's not fair to the child nor to the rest of society.

By: gdiafante on 3/3/11 at 1:23

NY, you do realize that our entire economy is based upon living beyond our means, yes?