New plan could radically change Memphis City Schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

New plan could radically change Memphis City Schools

The MCS funding fight was only one part of a busy day for the Memphis Mayor.

What began as one meeting turned completely in another direction.

In the span of a few minutes with city attorneys on hand, a new plan was introduced that change the face of the district, dissolve the school board, save city taxpayers millions of dollars, and fund the children of the school system.

The City council meeting began with the mayor saying the Memphis city school system could collapse if the council eliminates funding.

"I want us to avert lawsuits among governmental agencies and I want us to avert any state withholding of funding," Herenton said.  

But City council attorney Allan Wade brought up another scenario that caught everyone off-guard, including the mayor.
"We're talking about some heavy stuff here," Herenton said.  
What is the council considering? Eliminating  funding for the school system.

The state would then no longer recognize the Memphis City School Board and would hand over the city's school funding to Shelby County.

The County could then contract with a government agency like the city of Memphis to operate the school system.

In other words the county would be the sole distributor of school funding.

Some council members openly began supporting the idea.

"That process will work out well for the taxpayers of Memphis and for the students of the Memphis city school system. It will be funded through soul source funding through one tax base," commissioner Bill Morrison said.

"We're overtaxed. This might be an opportunity for us to really do something about saving the citizens the money and giving them a tax decrease," commissioner Harold Collins said.

Four years ago the mayor wanted this.  After Thursday's meeting, Herenton reserved judgement about the proposal
"This is complicated. It's not simple. This is complicated," Herenton said.

A complicated issue that will have to work itself out by next Tuesday.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Doulgas.

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