by Jason Lamb
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Schools defended a sizeable spending increase to Mayor Karl Dean Wednesday, as he prepares to finalize the budget. Metro Council will get its first look at the Mayor's budget next month.
The Metro Schools spending plan is $32 million more than last year, at a time when Mayor Karl Dean has repeatedly warned about a challenging budget cycle ahead.
Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register is advocating for an expansion in Pre-kindergarten classes at a cost of $3.4 million, as well as two percent raises for metro teachers.
He says there will be big consequences if teacher pay doesn't increase.
"If we don't keep that competitive advantage, then we will lose good people to our surrounding neighbors and other urban districts," Register said.
Mayor Dean is scheduled to present his recommended budget to the Metro Council on May 1st. He has until then to make his final decision on what stays and goes in the school budget.