MCS could bring $160 million debt into merger deal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MCS could bring $160 million debt into merger deal

(WMC-TV) - When Memphis and Shelby County Schools merge in August 2013, Memphis City Schools could bring some hefty debt along with it.

"That's because the school system still owes the city $160 million in capital money," said Memphis Council Education Committee Chair Wanda Halbert.

Halbert said MCS owes the City of Memphis $160 million borrowed for school building and renovations.

"It will get turned over to the new unified school system because their debt will follow them," said Halbert.

Halbert said the timeline to resolve the matter is tight.

"The city has one additional year of funding the school system," said Halbert.

She said the council tried to resolve the debt debate before the school merger settlement and they hope to expedite a resolution before the full merger in 2013.

"Because the school board is getting ready to go through its transition phase into the consolidation and unified process and that issue does not need to be a looming part," said Halbert.

The council will be the fourth and final government body to vote on the settlement Tuesday, and it is expected to pass.

"I don't see any council member standing in the way of progression for the unification at this point," said Halbert.

The settlement is only scheduled to be discussed Tuesday.  The council can choose to vote on it then or at the September 20 meeting to satisfy the October 1 merger deadline.

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