Proposed budget has elementary principals working 12 months

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 9:47pm

Metro Nashville Public Schools elementary principals would work 12 months, and through the summer, under the district’s proposed budget, a departure from the 11-month employment calendar they currently follow. 

The move, which would start when the 2011-2112 fiscal year begins in July, is aimed at getting principals up to speed on new teacher evaluation formulas mandated by the state. It would also put Metro schools on par with most school districts nationwide.

“1974 was the last time I’ve worked in a school system that did not have 12-month principals until I came to Nashville,” said Director of Schools Jesse Register, who began working in Metro two years ago.

The full-calendar adoption would also apply to bookkeepers at Metro’s 73 elementary schools. The transition makes up $1.7 million of a $670.5 million budget for the next fiscal year, which the board is to vote on March 22. A public hearing is set for Thursday.

“It’s really important because essentially elementary principals are off the entire month of July, or close to it, and a little bit in June,” he said. “They work a few days after the teachers leave and a few days before they come back, and there’s so much to do in the middle there.

“Right now, we need to get into an intensive training program for principals to learn how to use the new performance appraisal system,” Register said, adding that many principals are already working a full calendar but aren’t getting compensated. 

Meanwhile, $30 million in depleted federal stimulus and jobs funding will likely result in a net loss of between 80 and 100 Metro classroom teaching positions next school year, primarily in middle and high schools. 

“It could be a pretty significant hit, but we’re also trying to work our federal budget so that we minimize the damage,” Register said.

Vanishing stimulus funds will result in a loss of 205 teaching jobs. But the district has added 129 positions in its proposed local budget; hence, the net result. Figures are still subject to change.

The state requires a 1-to-20 teacher to pupil ratio for students kindergarten through third-grade; a 1-to-25 ratio for students fourth through sixth grade; and a 1-to-30 ratio for students seventh through 12th grade. 

“Our staffing formula is just dead on what the state requires, so it’s a reduction in federal positions, but we’ve tried to add part of it back,” Register said.

Register stressed the district does not anticipate “wholesale layoffs.” 

“We hope for the most part to make those reductions through attrition,” Register said. “Because we have several hundred teachers that leave every year through retirements and resignations.”

8 Comments on this post:

By: richgoose on 3/9/11 at 7:05

The public school system in the major cities of the south is a fraud. Trying to educate the uneducable is a no win task.

By: treehugger7 on 3/9/11 at 7:25

As your posts consistently illustrate...

By: FCMullins on 3/9/11 at 7:50

I'm certainly no expert but I'd say this problem lies in many more places than
the south. I expect there are just as many under performing schools, teachers
and students over the rest of the country.

By: localboy on 3/9/11 at 9:11

"Meanwhile, $30 million in depleted federal stimulus and jobs funding will likely result in a net loss of between 80 and 100 Metro classroom teaching positions next school year, primarily in middle and high schools. " Please tell us that the classroom position losses are coupled with a comparable number of administrative position losses....if not - Lucy, you got some 'splain'n to do...

By: Writeman on 3/9/11 at 9:15

Do you brush everything with such a broad stroke, richgoose?

By: TITAN1 on 3/9/11 at 9:28

frankbrown/richgoose likes to make people think he is better than everyone else. It could be an act, even worse it could be how he really feels. My daughter is a kindergarten teacher in Metro and she sees a lot of results. Recently she praised the pre K teachers at her school for how well prepared their students were when they entered kindergarten.

By: Wonder Bear on 3/9/11 at 9:59

The public school teachers I know work almost all Summer already.

One teacher I know leads a department that has been praised at the county level for raising kid's subject aptitude instead of "passing them through", but tenure absorbs so much money, that there is no budgetary discretion to reward this incredibly hard working professional, who works a good 12 hours/day or more.

Oh well. The kids have the rest of their lives to make up the diff.

By: tomba1 on 3/9/11 at 2:24

My Woodmont public elementary school math education tells me that cutting 205 teacher positions as a result of losing $ 30 million in stimulus funds, as Mr. Garrison reports, equates to $ 146,341 per position. Perhaps the author of the article left out a few other line items which would also be reduced. If so, then perhaps he can add some clarification to his report to make it a bit more credible. However, if his report is the entire story and no other line items are being cut due to the vanishing $ 30 million stimulus money, I thank him for his report as it is the simplest and clearest explanation of the education budget problem - $146,341 per position - no further explanation needed.