Register worried about 'disastrous' school cuts by council members

Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 7:23pm

Sensing Metro Council members might try to slice school funding, Director of Schools Jesse Register preemptively relayed Thursday that the scenarios he’s heard discussed would have severe consequences.

“We understand some Metro Council members may propose additional school budget cuts of as much as $23 million,” Register said Thursday. “That would be disastrous.”

Under Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed budget and property tax increase, Metro Nashville Public Schools’ budget would be $720.4 million, a $46.5 increase over the current fiscal year. Reducing that figure by $23 million –– essentially in half –– would still give the school district a $23.5 million bump, and thus a net increase.

But it would be significantly less than the budget the nine-member school board endorsed in April. And Register suggested major decisions would have to be considered, including “outsourcing” some operations.

“Because most district expenses are related to employees, most of the proposed budget cuts affect people,” he said. “Our original budget invested in instruction. Our goal is to protect that investment and programs and services for our children.

“We want to maintain our own transportation, food service and maintenance operations and there are disadvantages to outsourcing them,” Register added. “A cut of this size would force us to consider outsourcing these functions in future years.”

Council members are looking at ways to possibly trim Dean’s proposed 53-cent property tax increase, and some have discussed trimming the schools’ budget, though not formally.

Among items eliminated under a $23 million cut, he said, would be: a plan to increase the starting salary of teachers from $35,000 to $40,000; a 2 percent pay increase for support staff employees; step-pay raises for teachers and support staff; 90 new teachers that were set to join the district; and central office cuts.

Dean’s proposed $1.71 billion budget and tax plan head to the council’s Budget and Finance Committee for discussion Monday, June 18.

21 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 6/14/12 at 5:59

Dr. Register,
You helped Haslam get rid of the unions and everything else that was good about teaching, and with the start of Charter Scholls taking the rest of the money, it is too late to scream for help.

By: Shadow63 on 6/14/12 at 7:34

Were's the Lotto money?
$2 Billion according to the TV ads.

By: spooky24 on 6/15/12 at 5:33

It's good formula. Beg for more money each year-lower the standards of achievement-then show progress.
Like a screwy ponzi scheme in which the investors, instead of being greedy and too dumb to understand the concept of something for nothing, have no choice.
Bernie would be proud.

By: Specter47 on 6/15/12 at 5:54

Bring on the tears, Jesse. You may have to let a bunch of your worthless higher-ups go. Your bureaucracy has engorged itself under your watch, and you keep wanting more. Push yourself away from the table of taxpayer indulgence and live with what you have. You can stand to lose some weight...especially at the top.

And to pswindle: What the heck are you talking about? "You helped Haslam get rid of the unions and everything else that was good about teaching"?? So unions are "what's good about teaching"? If that's what you think and you're still teaching, you need to be found out and removed from the classroom. You're dangerous to the children that are in the school. One of the best things that happened was the passing of laws that limited union power and included all of Tennessee's teachers, not just union members. If you are a working teacher, you need to get a life and get another job.

By: Rocket99 on 6/15/12 at 6:37

Shadow63, first off, Metro doesn't get $2 billion in Lotto money. Also, the Lotto money is used for the Hope scholarships and early childhood education. The part of the pot Metro gets can only be used for certain things. You may want to check facts before asking questions.

I think the Mayor is using the standard scare tactics of, the cuts will hurt the children and make the streets less safe. Personally, I think there needs to be $0.00 tax increase. Make Metro for once live within their budget without going back to a mostly dry well for a few more drops.

By: morpheus120 on 6/15/12 at 6:43

The schools wouldn't be in this position if Jesse Register hadn't spent the last two years thumbing his nose at the Council, the parents, and his own employees.

Here's a guy who, just in the last year, has lied to parents about cuts to special ed teachers, got caught on TV callling his workforce a bunch of welfare queens (how that happens with people making $25K is beyond me), and violated his own employment contract for not filling out ethics disclosure forms that he knows are required of him.

It ain't rocket science. Register has clearly lost the support and trust of the public and the politicians and now he's standing there with no friends to help him get his money. And to boot, there hasn't even been any significant improvement in the test scores.

Register has failed our community and our children. It is time for him to resign and for Metro to find a new director of schools.

By: sweetgrammy on 6/15/12 at 7:02

He sure wasn't thinking about cuts when he outsourced the custodians two years ago!
The cuts their FAMILIES would suffer as a
result of less pay, hours being cut every summer, and the shoddy insurance options! For the people who depend on this income to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads, this was not fair, especially to their children! I say also we DO need a new director, one who CARES about Nashville's families struggling to survive!!!!!

By: Rasputin72 on 6/15/12 at 7:31

As long as the council does not cut the budget for MLK and Hume Fogg and Julia Green who cares what is cut out of the budget for the schools that babysit and give free breakfast and free lunch to the underclass,. Whatever is left for these future disruptive humans will be more than they get in the ghetto.

By: Specter47 on 6/15/12 at 8:13

morpheus120 you are spot on! By some method known only to Register and his closest cronies, there are many who worship at his altar. He has a close following who somehow hang on every omniscient, ponificated word he issues. His greatest intellectual feat is being able to create a bunch of followers when he has nothing for them to follow but a trail of failures. Why hasn't the media mentioned that 9 public schools in Metro have now become Charter Schools under State supervision? Even the media is enthralled by this guy. If this had happened under Pedro Garcia's watch, not only would they have crucified him, they would have burned him at tthe stake as well.

By: morpheus120 on 6/15/12 at 8:31

Way to stay classy, Rasputin! You're a true patriot and a good Christian.

By: morpheus120 on 6/15/12 at 8:45

@ Specter47: The only ones still standing up for Register are the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and the only reason they are is because they were the ones who pushed the hardest to get him hired. Now they have egg on their face so they have to lock arms around him. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

Keep in mind that the Chamber were the strongest supporters of Pedro Garcia before he was run out of town on a rail (which cost the taxpayers big $$ to buy out his contract).

We all should keep this in mind as the school board elections unfold. The Chamber announced its endorsements a few days ago and the smartest thing the voters could do right now is vote AGAINST every single one of the candidates they endorsed: Gracie Porter, Will Pinkston, Margaret Dolan, Sharon Gentry, and Jared DeLozier,

The Chamber should stick to what its good at - raising money for the schools - and nothing else. They have a record of failure when it comes to picking school directors, school board members, and pushing these "pro-business" policies (charter schools, privatization, etc.) that are designed to turn public education into something they can get rich off of.

By: artsmart on 6/15/12 at 1:44

I would love to know how much the front office has grown since he got to town? How many $100,000 Bransford Ave jobs has he created?

By: playthegame on 6/15/12 at 3:32 least five or six from Chattanooga....four or five from Florida who are friends
of hired friends...The Tennessean needs to reprint everyone's salary...We can check the list and bring out the 1099'ers.

By: thinking12 on 6/15/12 at 7:49

It would not be 'disastrous' if Metro shools had to live without an increase that has not been justified by the past performance.

We need to see some results, especially since past cuts to the janitors and bus drivers generated revenue that, if, it had been used well, we might(should) have seen results this past year.

I believe in looking to the future but poor results are the norm in our shools and having to "prove" his methods should not be beyond Mr. Registers abilities!

Money is only one tool and he has a whole lot that he is NOT utilizing.He does not need to cut -he needs to reorganize and get very serious about being effective and accountable for every dime (our money)he spends.

His total disrespect for people,after all employees are people-parents are people-taxpayers are people-has left him without any credibility.

By: sweetgrammy on 6/16/12 at 9:06

I believe that he and his wife are pocketing the revenue, getting rich off the difference of cost when the custodians were Metro employees, instead of working for a fly-by-night company now that doesn't even want to keep enough supplies!!

By: Ask01 on 6/17/12 at 6:51

Quality of education cannot be measured by dollars spent, or as many would say, thrown at, the subject.

Teachers must be competent and capable, have adequate resources, and most importantly, receptive students.

All the money in Metro, (a figure Mayor Dean estimates to be very high, it seems) will not result in a successful educational experience if students do not participate.

That participation is best achieved when parents, and to be honest, the community take an active role encouraging learning. (The transparent, somewhat dubious claims of support steaming from city leaders does not help when trying to convince students of the importance of education.)

If we want to raise the educational level of students, the starting point is in the home, with parents supporting the process and students applying themselves totally to the process.

Money is important certainly, but, as I believe an examination of school systems around America will bear out, true success comes from within, not from the wallet.

Besides, if Metro would trim salaries of those in the upper levels, perhaps more would be available for schools. Perhaps we could trim subsidies to the symphony, and sports teams, and delay that next purchase of needless public art.

We might have all the money we needed then.

By: Vuenbelvue on 6/17/12 at 7:08

Mr. Register's $250,000 plus annual salary divided by the number of students in the system is more than most Directors get paid in California known for high salaries.

I asked two council people how much debt including pensions Davidson county has and they will not answer. It is obvious reading comments for the last two weeks how secretive this administration is regardless of any sunshine laws but the council people allow it and hopefully voters will remember.

"Last week, the Beacon Center of Tennessee surveyed Nashville residents and asked them if they support or oppose the 53-cent property tax increase.
Beacon found that 68 percent were against the increase while 21 percent supported it and about 10% with no opinion at all.
The poll surveyed 403 likely voters across the county and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent." WSM-TV 6-12-12

The tax increase funds new programs and projects that were not even made known to the tax payers and will be like the Department of Homeland Security growing and growing, grasping power and more taxpayer money as each year passes.

By: Moonglow1 on 6/18/12 at 5:45

Moonglow1: Register-bust the unions now you get busted. Ha ha, what goes around comes around.

By: Moonglow1 on 6/18/12 at 5:50

Moonglow1: Register is way overpaid. His salary needs to be reduced. Additionally, the Commissioners who received a pay increase of 40 percent by Haslam needs to have their pay increase rescinded. None of these jokers are worth the money we are paying them. Register may hate unions but he is getting more than union wages-he is getting an overpaid CEO private sector wage minus stock options.

By: pswindle on 6/18/12 at 3:58

We need to bring back Gov. Bredesen, We need someone to fix the messes that Haslam has already done to state. When all the death taxes are gone and the money is dried up becasue he has taken care of himself and his family, hold on to your hat, the tax man is coming. Register has over stayed is visit.

By: Specter47 on 6/20/12 at 10:06

Yeah, Gov. Bredesen is dried up too, pswindle. Your handouts must have dried up, too. The lib that you are, you should love the tax man, as long as he doesn't come to your door except to drop off entitlements.