County leaders react to Unified School District's huge budget pr - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

County leaders react to Unified School District's huge budget proposal

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(WMC-TV) - Many Shelby County leaders are still unhappy with the Unified School District's request for a bigger budget.  The mayor is suggesting a meeting to compromise.

At Tuesday's Unified School Board meeting a budget request was made against the advice of the school board's chairman. The request was for an additional $145 million from the Shelby County Commission.

"I think it's unrealistic, I think it's irresponsible, I think it's wrong to do to our staff and sets a bad tone for us as a board," said Billy Orgel, SCS board chairman.

"That's not realistic and I think there's an expression of frustration on part of the school system," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

Mayor Mark Luttrell says all sides, including school leaders, county commissioners, and the mayor's office, need to sit down and come up with a compromise. Luttrell stopped short of saying property tax increases must be part of the equation.

"I don't want to commit at this point that we're going to need a tax increase," he said. "We are going to have some challenges and demands that we know are out there now."

Most Shelby County commissioners agree the request is unrealistic, in fact, some say now is not the time to raise taxes in the county.

"I have heard some talk about maybe putting this merger off for a couple of years," said Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland. "Why not put it off and run the schools like we're running them right now for a couple years and let people with cooler heads sit down and try to figure out a world class system."

The new fiscal year for the school budget begins July 1, so there are several months to figure out solutions to this school budget crisis.

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