Parents express concern over school budget - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents express concern over school budget

(WMC-TV) - Collierville and Germantown residents had the chance to voice their concerns about the Shelby County Schools budget Sunday afternoon.

It was the first budget proposal since Memphis City Schools and Shelby County prepared to merge.

Residents met at Houston High School, and discussed the $150 million gap in the budget – one that will serve 133,000 students.

Shelby County Board of Education members David Pickler, Mary Ann Gibson, and Joe Clayton listened to the public for more than two hours.

Between 200 to 300 people gathered inside the school auditorium.

Many voicing concerns about possible cuts in the budget, specifically in nursing staff, assistants, bus drivers and other programs.

"Nurse Barbara is caring for a diabetic third grader. She see's her three times a day so that my daughter Grace can focus," said parent Kristi Brown.

The Shelby County Commission has $65 million to give the schools. MCS lost their funding when they got rid of their charter.

As both districts are merging into one, Pickler said they need to make the best of what they have.

"They're encouraging the school board to move forward. (To) look at the efficiency, yes, but bring forward a budget that reflects the real needs of this system to make sure that we can have an opportunity for a world class district," said Pickler.

The meeting was emotional, many parents speaking with passion about their child's education.

Many parents proposed making budget cuts from the top down.

"If the schools go down it will be the beginning of the end. No one will keep their kids in school if the teachers don't have the time or resources to teach," said parent Joseph Smith.

Pickler stressed the importance of parents and residents sharing their concerns.

He said the negotiations will begin Tuesday, and it could take several months to reach a balanced budget.

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