City may have overpaid Memphis City Schools over past decade - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City may have overpaid Memphis City Schools over past decade

(WMC-TV) - Information indicates the city of Memphis may have overpaid Memphis City Schools for the past 10 years.

Memphis Flyer senior editor John Branston noticed a funny thing when Memphis City Schools released an overview of its enrollment and funding numbers for the last decade.

"The payment from the City of Memphis has gone up pretty steadily for the past ten years, while the enrollment has been going steadily down for the last ten years," Branston said.

With that, Branston said, the city overpaid Memphis City Schools for years.

"The city has the option of reducing its funding commitment, if enrollment declines," he said.

Some city leaders noticed the same thing, specifically when it comes to the $78 million dollars the school system says the city owes for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year.

"Because of the decrease in the student enrollment, it's actually $68 million, but they're wanting an additional $10 million more," Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert said.

"Everybody says, 'Well why don't they just pay the money?' We've got to make sure that we pay the right amount of money for this year," Mayor A C Wharton added.

Wharton said there is nothing fishy going on here.

"It's not that the school board was doing anything underhanded," he said. "They're in a state of flux.  People come and go."

In fact, Branston said, the numbers became more honest when Dr. Kriner Cash became superintendent.

"In 2007-2008, the funding was about 94 million dollars, and now we're at 68 million dollars," he said.

Next Tuesday, less than a week before the start of school, the Memphis City Council will vote whether or not to accept the school board's latest proposal: To pay 80 percent of monies owed for the 2011-2012 school year by early October.

It's up to the council if that's 80 percent of the $78 million, or 80 percent of the $68 million.

Read Branston's original article here.

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