City Hall budget showdown Tuesday - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

City Hall budget showdown Tuesday

Many expect a showdown at city hall Tuesday night in what will be the final chapter of the fight over funding for Memphis City Schools. The city must pass a budget, and frustrated school leaders and threats of lawsuits will be a part of the process.

The city council wants to cut millions of dollars from the Memphis school system's budget, claiming those cuts would make the district more efficient. But school board members say it would force cuts everywhere.

"We just need to plan for a cut of some type," said school board member Stephanie Gatewood.

Memphis city council is considering a cut in the neighborhood of $86 million, roughly 8 to 9 percent of the overall school budget.

School leaders say they would consider cutting programs funded by local dollars.

"Optional schools, bus transportation -- those are the things that are not funded and not required by the state. Those are some of the things we would have to look at, " said school board president Tomeka Hart.

School board vice president Martavius Jones is expected to address the city council Tuesday to urge smaller cuts before the council votes on the budget. Jones called on the new city council members to honor the pledges they made during their run for public office.

"Part of their campaign speech was to improve education. I just don't see how cutting $93 million from a budget can improve education," said Jones.

In addition to the school budget, the city council's proposal will affect property taxpayers by giving them a cut of 11 percent. The cut would also keep all libraries and community centers open.

Stay tuned to Action News 5 Tuesday evening for updates.

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