Opposing sides to meet over school funding - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Opposing sides to meet over school funding

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council and Memphis City School Board are raising a white flag.  After months in court fighting over who should pay for city schools, they're planning a sit-down that could ultimately lead to single-source school funding.

Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery recently wrote a letter to Memphis City School Board President Tomeka Hart, accepting an invitation to open dialogue between the two bodies out of court.

"We may differ on our philosophy on the amount of dollars from the city to the school board, but we have the same goals for our children," Lowery said.

The two bodies have had a push and pull since last fall.  First, the City Council cut $66 million in school funding.  Then, the school system took the case to court and a judge ruled the city must pay up.  But then, the City Council fired back, saying they already satisfied their obligation for the 2008-2009 school year through a separate financial transaction, and now the City Council is appealing the judge's ruling.

So, the two bodies are at a standstill, and in the meantime...

"I want to set the court action aside while we work together on this year's budgetary process to work for our children," Lowery said.

According to Lowery, the Council's goal is to put a stop to the double taxation of Memphis residents.

"We're paying for the Memphis City Schools through our Shelby County taxes and we're paying through Memphis City taxes.  This has got to end," he said.

Instead of having both Shelby County and the City of Memphis pay for schools, Lowery believes it should come down to one.

"Long-term, we are looking for single-source funding for the Memphis City Schools and that will be coming from the Shelby County Commission," he said.

The City Council and School Board will include the Shelby County Commission in their talks.

They have not yet set a date.

Tomeka Hart did not return our call for comment by air time.

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