Metro Schools officials highlighted the lack of funding for some pet projects when appearing for a budget hearing before the Metro Council Tuesday night.
A more than $900 million proposal was trimmed by about $23 million by Mayor Megan Barry.
"The district was unable to hire more nurses in our district — psychologists, translators, social workers and other professionals who will deliver important support services to students and schools — and this is critical," first-year superintendent Shawn Joseph said. "Before you can even get to the academics, you have to get to some of the social emotional learning challenges that exist."
The Metro Council does have final say over the city's budget and could find money to fund the district's priorities.
To meet Barry's recommended budget figure — which is still a $36 million increase over the prior year — the school system scaled back an expansion of its social emotional learning program. The district also decided to slow down an effort to make middle school curriculum more rigorous. That allowed the district to pay the full 3 percent raise to teachers, which was in the original budget plan.