Budget Talk:

How are Metro schools funded?

How do they spend their money?


These are the big questions, and we’re here to answer them. We take our responsibilities as educators and public servants very seriously, so transparency and accountability are very important to us.

How is Metro Nashville Public Schools funded?

Metro Nashville Public Schools is a governmental entity, and receives funding from two main sources:

  1. Taxes

  2. Grants


Local taxes come through the Mayor’s Office and are budgeted out to Metro Nashville Public Schools. This budget is decided by Nashville’s Metro Council. We also receive funding from a combination of Federal, State, and local grants. Together, these streams of income allow us to provide our students with the high caliber of education that we do.

The accounts of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools are organized on the basis of funds, each of which is considered a separate accounting entity. The operations of each fund are accounted for with a separate set of self-balancing accounts comprised of assets, liabilities, fund equity, revenues and expenditures or expenses. Fund accounting segregates funds according to their intended purpose and is used to aid management in demonstrating compliance with finance-related legal and contractual provisions. The board’s budget includes the following funds:

  • General Purpose Fund – The board’s primary operating fund used to account for all financial resources of the board except those required to be accounted for in another fund.

  • Federal and Categorical Programs – This fund includes appropriations for the expenditure of federal categorical grants.

  • Food Service Fund – This is an enterprise fund that accounts for the operations of the Food Service Program.

  • Capital Budget - The Capital Budget is made up of a six-year list of projects approved annually by the Board of Education. With this approval, the budget moves on, along with the budgets from all other Metro agencies, to the mayor and metro finance director who review, make changes and submit a full capital spending proposal to the Metro Council for funding approval. Depending on the city’s bonding capacity and specific needs, capital funds may not always be provided to the school district. Allocations that are received may be less than needed to completely fund the Capital Budget. If an allocation is given, projects listed within the Capital Budget are prioritized and given funding.

How does Metro Nashville Public Schools use its funding?

We use a budgeting method called Student-Based Budgeting. Using this method, more than half of our district’s operating budget is divided amongst and sent directly to our schools. At this point, it is up to the principals of each school to decide how best to allocate their resources. Money is budgeted according to the educational needs of each individual student. This means that students with more demanding sets of needs, such as those with special needs, or who are learning English as a second language, will be allocated more money. No two students are the same, and we go to great lengths to be able to afford each student the time and attention they need.

The rest of our budget, that is not distributed to individual schools, is used for things like transportation, security, textbooks, building maintenance, technology services, and more. We have found that it’s much more efficient for us to centralize the management of these budgets. That way our individual schools don’t need to worry about it, and can stay focused on educating their students.

This video will go further in depth with our budgeting process:


One of the ways that we determine what sorts of adjustments should be made to each school is through the data that we collect every year. As we make adjustments, we will never allocate funds to one school at the expense of another school. Every student, and every school is important to us, so we plan our budgets carefully to make sure that every student gets exactly what they need. 

In the interest of transparency, we’d like to make our yearly budgets available to you so that you can know exactly how we are spending our money, and what we are doing for you children.

2018-2019 Budget Proposal

We must be committed to looking at our work through an equity lens at all times—removing social, economic and other obstacles that disadvantage children from succeeding in school and we must be committed to creating excellence by design—with intentional and strategic investments and emphasis that improve student outcomes.

Our priorities for the 2018-2019 operating year are:

  • Social & Emotional Learning


  • Literacy

  • Employee Compensation