Commissioners: Schools will suffer from budget shortfalls - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioners: Schools will suffer from budget shortfalls

(WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Board of Education will hold an all-day budget retreat Monday to discuss the $90 million budget shortfall unified schools will be facing in August.

Shelby County Board of Education Commissioner Dr. Jeff Warren said the elimination of the City of Memphis contribution to schools caused a massive budget deficit.

"Guess what we have now? An $80 million to $90 million budget deficit," he said.,

Commissioner Betty Mallott said the shortfall stems from several factors, including the poor economy.

"We do have some specific challenges caused by the merger and one is that we have to level up the salaries," said SCBOE commissioner Betty Mallot.

Memphis City Schools pay teachers more and Shelby County Schools pay administrators more.

Now, the salaries will have to be leveled up so all the salaries are equal.

"We're just constantly trying to find ways to be more efficient and try to hold children harmless," said Mallot.

No matter how the schools arrived at this dubious financial crossroad, both commissioners anticipate programs will be slashed, employees fired and services outsourced.

"It's going to hurt the kids. It's going to hurt our poorest employees like those who are custodial workers," said Warren.

Mallot said they must seek smarter ways to educate children.

Warren said before the school board puts everything on the chopping block, the superintendent should present the full cost to the Shelby County Commission first to see if the county can fund it.

"We have to do this together or it won't work," said Warren.

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