School board won't hold additional hearing on budget

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 2:34pm

Despite a formal request from the Metro Council, the school board will not hold an additional public hearing on the school district’s proposed $633 million budget for the next fiscal year.

In a letter sent to Metro council members Wednesday, school board chair David Fox wrote that the “school board itself will not be conducting another public hearing” on the budget, but added he’s pleased the council’s Education Committee plans to conduct one.

(Read Fox's letter.)

The council’s public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Metro Southeast/Genesco Park in the Green Hills Auditorium. 

In a 32-2 vote, the council last night approved a memorializing resolution that asks the school board hold another public hearing on the budget, this time on a Saturday and in a school auditorium equipped to hold a large audience. The council also urged for Metro3, the government-run station, to televise the event.

“I think it’s a shame that an elected school board wouldn’t have another hearing,” said Councilman Jamie Hollin, who co-sponsored the resolution with members Michael Craddock and Eric Crafton. “It’s clear they don’t want to hear again from the people whose jobs are on the line.”

The council’s vote followed last week’s school board public hearing in which hundreds of custodians and bus drivers jammed the Bransford Avenue board workroom to decry budget cuts that would affect their jobs. Workers, represented by unions, staged rallies beforehand, and many who attended were forced to observe the hearing through an open door because of limited space. The event was not televised.

According to Fox, the school district announced last week’s public hearing weeks in advance, made public posts about it, and pushed its starting time back 30 minutes to accommodate the adjusted school day, recently lengthened to make up for snows days.

To speak at last week’s hearing, a person had to notify the board prior to the meeting.

In today’s letter, Fox said dozens of people followed the procedure by contacting school administrators by phone or e-mail. Fox also pointed out that despite the hundreds of union members protesting outside prior to the hearing, only “a handful” of people chose to sign up to speak despite the sign-up deadline being pushed back.

“It’s one thing for us as council members to be familiar with the parliamentary process, etc.,” Hollin shot back. “It’s different for a bus driver and custodian to know those rules, regulations and requirements to send earlier notification.”

The school board is expected to vote on the budget Tuesday, March 23.

7 Comments on this post:

By: Anna3 on 3/17/10 at 1:53

David Fox is a very foolish man. I think that the Metro Council ought to rework their budget and withhold funds to cover this inequity. Until the Board capitulates and finds other cuts to their budget. Its time to vote Fox, Simmons, Glover and Johnson off of that Board. Do these people ever learn? Watch what happens to Congress when they do not listen. This next November is going to be a bloodbath for these self proclaimed political elite. SEIU...its time that you folks get to know a few Republicans...they are doing a better job of looking out for you these days!

By: dogmrb on 3/17/10 at 3:07

Let's see: Fox, Simmons, and Glover are Republicans and the CofC brought Johnson to the MBOE so she's kind of a Republican. So what do you mean Anna3? Who are the two who didn't vote for this resolution?

By: Karl_Warden on 3/18/10 at 6:03

The School Board had a hearing. They welcomed comment and took steps to ensure that anyone present who wanted to make a comment, but hadn't signed up, could sign up and make a comment. Interestingly enough, the Metro Council has one hearing for public comment on their budget as well. I haven't seen the Metro Council asking to have another hearing for public comment on their budget.

Does it strike anyone as beyond a coincidence that two of the resolution's sponsors are running for public office?

Its easy to bemoan the effects of cutting a budget. But, that is nothing compared to the moaning when the alternative of raising taxes is mentioned. Some public official even hints at raising taxes and every genius in town opines about cutting all the fat out of the budget.

The school budget was a tough decision reached in a tough financial year for our city. It seems a shame that the people serving the full time jobs of being a board member for a little over $14k a year are once again stabbed in the back by Council members who seem to enjoy easy pot shots.

Remember, it is the Council and the Mayor who tell the School Board how much they have for a budget each year. Remember, it is the Council who went to private janitorial services years ago.

By: localboy on 3/18/10 at 7:58

Karl_Warden scores!

By: Anna3 on 3/18/10 at 8:16

These folks are NOT Republicans dog-breath. In fact, I was at a Republican meeting in Bellevue a few years ago when Fox explained that he was a Dem thinking person.Johnson's on the DEM ticket for Juvey Court Cluck, and Simmons rarely if ever voted before voting for herself with the exception of voting for or against those making application to the Belle Meade Country Club. Glover's a gay activist...so I could probably guess that he holds no love for the Republican Party either....so whats your point again?

By: demmy on 3/18/10 at 1:36

Hello Anna,

Im pretty sure Glover is not a gay activist and I also happen to know first hand that Karl Warden does not have dog breath. You seem to be a very ignorant republican, not in the "stupid" sense, just in the sense that you have no idea what you are talking about. You are probably one that the republicans are embarrassed to admit they have barking for them. I would definitely say that you have crossed the line of libel. Now can you state your point with out barking false statements and name calling?

thank you.

By: artsmart on 3/18/10 at 4:50

Who cares what party they belong to. My experience in trying to deal with the Board and City Council is that a number of them need spine transplants. I'm not sure why you would not have another meeting and why you not completely disclose the positions being eliminated in the Central office. I also believe if Register and Fox were leaders they would explain why the Central office would not take temporary paycuts since they were the only ones who received pay increases the last 2 years.
If you were true leaders that is what would be done.