Community views are sought on future of 2005-06 school budget

In light of a projected $30 million shortfall and possible additional reductions in the city and county budgets for education, Memphis City Schools is seeking community views on the future of the local school budget.

Beginning Friday, January 21, the district will begin distributing information about its budget situation and a budget survey to parents and the general public. The survey asks what local people value about their schools and how they think the district can save money. The budget information and survey instrument will be sent home to parents of students, distributed to key offices throughout the school district, to community agencies, and will be accessible through the school district’s web site at

starting on Friday. The survey period ends on February 4, 2005.

Superintendent Carol Johnson and her administrative team will use the information gathered by the survey process to develop a draft 2005-06 budget that will be presented to Board Commissioners in February. Then Commissioners will hold three town hall meetings about the budget with interested community members. The meetings will be scheduled for early March. Budget items considered for cuts include: eliminating the purchase of classroom computers; reduce or eliminate security and safety programs; eliminate all transportation except for some special needs students; reduce extra-curricular and co-curricular programs (such as band; choir; orchestra; theater and arts); and eliminate or reduce athletics.

Under a proposal from the City of Memphis, the district could lose approximately $86 million in expected local funding this year. The district has already begun saving this year by implementing restrictions on spending and the hiring of non-essential personnel. District leaders have also begun work on a number of procedures that will allow them to gain greater efficiencies in business operations, like renegotiating vendor contracts, exploring opportunities for E-business and making better use of technology.

Work will continue through the winter and spring to develop a budget for 2005-06.

To obtain the information about the District’s budget situation and a copy of the survey, visit any school office or call the District's Communications Department at 416-5628. The deadline to return completed surveys is Friday, February 4. Surveys may be mailed to the Office of the Chief of Staff, 2597 Avery Avenue, Memphis, TN 38112; faxed to 416-0212; or dropped off at the District Central Office. Citizens can complete the survey electronically by logging on to the District website at

and following the Budget Survey link on the main page.