Memphis City Council members weigh in on MCS Charter Surrender - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis City Council members weigh in on MCS Charter Surrender

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Many Memphis City Council members are just starting to form their opinions on the monumental school charter issue. There isn't a lot of time to for Memphians to make up their minds. Early voting on the referendum could begin in as little as 16 days.

Memphis City Council Member Janis Fullilove says she is against the MCS charter surrender, unless she can get some more answers. She's particularly concerned about jobs being cut.

"The Mayors talked today about having a plan, but there really is no plan, and they don't know what the plan is," Fullilove said.

It's not often that Council Member Jim Strickland and Fullilove are on the same side of an issue. But this time they are, at least for now.

"Apparently (the consolidated district) would be the 7th largest school district in the country," Strickland said. "Are the first six great districts? Are they something we should model after? I personally think we need smaller districts as opposed to larger ones."

Memphis City Council Chair Myron Lowery sees things differently.

"If the school system is better in the county, why not make it better for all of the children in Shelby County?"

Lowery says people concerned about the County School Board being in control are forgetting something. Memphians make up 70% of the county's population.

Many people fear the loss of political power," Lowery said. "That won't happen. With a unified school system we will have a new school board, that will be comprised of Memphians."

What will happen to taxes in a school merger is still unclear.

"Some people say the tax dollars will go up, I say tax dollars will go down," Lowery said. "Tax dollars will now be equally proportioned for everyone in Shelby County. You will not have residents in the city paying twice as they are now."

Strickland points out county taxes, which city residents also pay, could go up. The bottom line for taxpayers is still unclear.

Council members Kemp Conrad and Wanda Halbert say they are still undecided. Halbert says there are still too many unanswered questions.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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