New initiative hopes to reinvest in the youth of Shelby County schools

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new report with alarming financial statistics for Shelby County schools shows the district to be one of the most financially disadvantaged school districts in the nation.

In an effort to reverse that trend, a new initiative has been formed to re-invest in the county's youth

A study cited by the "Fund Students First Coalition" provided the alarming financial details.

The Shelby County school district cut around $200 million from its budget over the past few years.

"The city really should invest in areas where it makes a difference for schools and for kids because, that it where we are going to see the future of Memphis thrive," said Cardell Orrin of the Fund Students First Coalition.

The coalition is asking Mayor Strickland to set aside $10 million for an education fund.

The money would establish and expand career technical education along with graduation success and dropout strategies in high schools, establish and scale high quality out of school learning opportunities and expand job experience and training opportunities.

"We've got to be focused on the success of our young people and the success of my community," said Orrin.

The initiative hopes that once the steps are followed thousands of kids who are not in school or working can fill the 16,000 unfilled jobs in Memphis. They believe that this would reduce the city's crime rate which included a record-breaking murder rate in 2016.

The mayor's office released the following statement:

"Our budget is complex and the process of creating it started many months before the coalition's letter and the $10 million request was sent to the mayor a few days ago.  The eleventh hour ask seems a bit disingenuous--and more about getting media attention than it is about funding schools.

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