Several steps remain before Memphis pays MCS - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Several steps remain before Memphis pays MCS

(WMC-TV) - After weeks of wrangling, the Memphis City Council voted last night to fully fund Memphis City Schools. But there are several steps necessary before the city cuts a check to the school system on Friday.

Even after the council voted Tuesday to pay MCS $78 million owed for the 2011-2012 school year, you could still sense a sliver of doubt in Memphis Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash.

"It's in the mayor's hands," Cash said.

But Wednesday, Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little gave reassurances the ball is rolling between the mayor and superintendent, and MCS will get the money.

"There actually is an agreement that's being worked out that lays out the funding schedule," Little said.

The Memphis City Schools board said classes couldn't start without the money. But according to Little, the city set aside $55 million from its General Fund when the council balanced the budget in June.

"We will make the first payment as scheduled this Friday," Little said. "And per the agreement, make the majority of the payments by the end of October."

Other money will come from property taxes. The city usually waits for citizens to pay taxes, and then turns that money over to the schools. But the money isn't there right now, so for the first time in history, the city is rearranging its budget to front money for city schools.

"I think it's an act of good faith on the city's part to offer some assurance to the citizens in general, the children, and their families that we're committed to funding the schools and fulfilling our obligations," Little said.

The city still has one way out of the agreement.  Memphis is suing MCS for $160 million dollars, borrowed years ago. A provision in the agreement allows the city to re-evaluate the funding, if a court ruling comes down.

MCS is scheduled to receive a $12 million check on Friday.

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