Funding Metro Nashville Public Schools
We take our responsibilities as public servants and stewards of tax payer dollars very seriously. Our students have many needs and our organization is complex, meaning transparency and accountability are critical to showing how we spend the resources we are given to most efficiently meet our students’ and our employees’ needs.
How is MNPS funded?
Metro Nashville Public Schools is a government organization and receives funding from two main sources: local taxes and federal, state and local funding and grants. Together, these streams of income give us the ability to provide our students with the high-quality public education.
How is the budget created?
Every year, MNPS designs a budget based on current data, our priorities and our values – what we believe are the most critical areas to meet the educational, physical and emotional needs of our 86,000 students and to support our approximately 11,000 dedicated employees.
We don’t develop this budget alone. Voices of our staff, parents and community leaders influence the direction of our budget very year. The budget, while proposed by the Board of Education, is ultimately approved by Nashville’s Metro Council and can undergo many changes before it’s finally allocated to our district.
Let’s talk about MNPS’ accounts
MNPS’ fund accounts are organized into four separate budgets. You can think of these like four separate bank accounts. Each fund has a separate set of self-balancing accounts comprised of assets, liabilities, fund equity, revenues and expenses.
General Purpose: The primary operating fund used to account for daily operating costs, except those required to be in another fund.
Federal and Categorical Programs: Appropriations of federal categorical grants.
Food Service: An enterprise fund that covers our food service operations, which are self-supporting.
Capital Budget: The Capital Budget is a six-year list of projects approved annually by the Board of Education. Though separate from the operating budget, the Capital Budget is also presented to the Mayor and ultimately approved by the Metro Council for funding. Depending on many factors, capital fund requests may not be fully funded – or funded at all. If Metro Council does allocate capital dollars, the projects listed in the capital budget are
How does MNPS use its funding?
Our goal is to create an environment where all students – regardless of where they live, where they go to school and what unique characteristics, they bring with them – have a fair chance to flourish and succeed. And we believe instructional and support decisions should be made by the educators who know students best and see them every day.
Our budgeting model helps the district achieve both of those goals. Every year more than half of our district’s operating budget is sent directly to our schools to fund the school-level budgets created by each school’s leadership team. The remainder of our operating budget is used for district-wide services like transportation, security, textbooks, building maintenance, technology services and more. Student-based budgeting empowers our school leaders to make equitable decisions based on the students they serve and those students’ needs, not district regulations and mandates.
Through student-based budgeting, money is allocated based on the unique needs of each student. For example, schools receive additional money for each English learner or exceptional education student it serves. No two students are the same and we recognize that some students’ needs cost more to meet. This graphic shows how allocations can vary by a student’s needs.