Judge says Memphis doesn't have to pay schools now - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Judge says Memphis doesn't have to pay schools now

Chancellor Kenny Armstrong Chancellor Kenny Armstrong

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) A Shelby County judge has stayed an order that the city of Memphis has to pay the city school system $57 million.

The lawsuit stems from the city's decision to slash funding to the school district. Chancellor Kenny Armstrong ruled in February that this move violated the state's basic education-funding formula. The ruling has been appealed.

Memphis City Council Attorney Allan Wade said the judge's decision Wednesday was good for Memphis taxpayers.

"One of the options the city would have had was to send a school tax bill to every resident of the city - every tax payer of the city," Wade said. "This means the tax payers do not have to pay that school tax bill."

Armstrong said in court Wednesday that the school district is fully funded for the current year and the city doesn't have to pay until the case is heard by the state Court of Appeals.

According to Wade, without the stay, there would be utter chaos.

"The result is that people will not have to pay a tax bill and then ultimately have it refunded from a district that may not be able to refund it to them," he said.

That is, if the judge rules in the city's favor.  The City Council's position is that city taxpayers are being taxed twice to fund Memphis City Schools.

"We pay a county tax which goes to city and county schools, and a city tax which goes to city schools, so in essence we're funding the schools twice," Wade said.

Memphis City Schools have argued the city's decision to cut funding violates the state's basic education-funding formula.

Action News 5 was unable to reach an official from Memphis City Schools to comment on this story.  A MCS representative said officials that could comment were in meetings all day.  This story will be updated if and when any comment is received.

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