May 27, 2022 - News

Inside Metro Nashville Public Schools' enrollment slide

Source: MNPS; chart: Axios Visuals

Enrollment in Metro Nashville Public Schools is down 14% over the last decade.

Why it matters: City leaders are in the midst of debating the $1.1 billion MNPS operating budget while seeking to fill a $22.6 million gap driven in part by enrollment drops.

Context: The already declining enrollment fell sharply in the first full school year following the pandemic, but is showing signs of leveling off.

By the numbers: For the 2012-13 school year, MNPS enrollment for students in pre-K through 12th grade was 77,819. That number fell to 66,725 for the most recent school year.

Background: Mayor John Cooper proposed a $91.2 million funding increase for MNPS to go toward pay raises for support staffers like bus drivers, cafeteria workers and language specialists, as well as a paid family leave policy.

Yes, but: MNPS officials subsequently realized they were getting $22 million less than expected.

  • The state had maintained funding levels for districts that saw enrollment drops during the pandemic, but that funding guarantee was taken away for the upcoming school year.

What we're watching: Metro Councilmember Burkley Allen asked MNPS director Adrienne Battle to identify at least $10 million in possible cuts to narrow the gap.

  • Council will vote on the final budget next month.

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