Many school board members absent for public hearing on budget - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Many school board members absent for public hearing on budget

(WMC-TV) – School board member Reginald Porter sat through the entire two hours of a community budget presentation Monday night.

"We know that the situation is dire," said assistant superintendent Tim Setterlund.

Porter had heard much of the data before. But he thought it was important to hear from parents and employees about possible cuts in programs and personnel as the unified district faces a shortfall of up to 90 million dollars.

"Cuts at the school level are unacceptable," said Germantown parent Ken Hoover.

"We need to do better and we need to put the children first," said Keith Williams with the teacher's union.

"This was the first time it's happened and we're going to make sure everybody has their concerns heard," said Porter.

But not everybody was there to listen, including 10 out of 23 board members. That's nearly half the unified board.

"Some of us had prior engagements," said Porter. "Some are actually sick today."

"You know, I'm certainly aware there are extenuating circumstances in cases," said parent Kerry Johnson.

She and others thought their concerns deserved undivided attention.

"We have elected you to serve us, so it's your duty to be here," Johnson added.

Those who were there pledged to take public comments into account in making tough decisions.

"We had good representation here tonight and are hopefully doing what we need to do to help them change their minds," said school nurse Penny Glidewell.

There's another public hearing on the possible budget cuts Tuesday night at 6:00 at the teaching and learning academy on Union.

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