Herenton asks council to wait on school budget decision - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Herenton asks council to wait on school budget decision

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Action News 5 obtained a copy of a letter from Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton to the Memphis City Council, asking the council to "defer reducing the school system's budget" until after his May 6th school system announcement.

Click here to read the letter.

Thursday, council members Myron Lowery and Bill Morrison, the sponsor of the resolution to slash $93.5 million from the school budget, said they would hear all sides.

"He can certainly come out and make his proposals just like the city schools will on the 15th, but the final decision is going to rest with this council," Morrison said.

The letter goes on to say that Mayor Herenton believes "the City Council and School Board could discuss a compromise agreement that could benefit the entire City and most certainly our taxpayers."

"At the end of the day there's going to be a property tax decrease in this city," Morrison said. "And how we get there, we certainly want to work together with everybody to get there, but we're going to get there."
At the same time the mayor is asking for a delay, the civil rights group Operation Rainbow PUSH is questioning the legality of cutting funds to the schools since Memphis is a special district.

"If I've got to make a choice between a deep tax cut and a small tax cut, and the reference in terms of high quality education for my children, I'll choose high quality education every time," said Operation Rainbow PUSH's Joseph Kyles. 

Council members say the letter wasn't really necessary.  Their calendar was already set, and the final reading to cut school funding happens a month after Herenton's announcement.

The final reading on the budget is scheduled for June 3.

Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.

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