School board threatens lawsuit over funding - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

School board threatens lawsuit over funding

Memphis city schools said they will try one more time to get the full funding from the Memphis City council. If not,  they insist they will file a lawsuit.

Their vote was unanimous and their message was clear.

"This is serious. The state is not bluffing," school board member Tomeka Hart said.  
The School board's legal attorney explained it to board members this way:

If the city council goes through with its budget and cuts the $73 million dollars or 6 percent from Memphis City Schools, the state would then withhold all the Basic Education Program funding, which is $423 million, on October first. It is nearly half of the schools budget.

"The state has taken this action with other counties," Martavius Jones of the Memphis School Board said.  
Board president Tomeka Hart insists if City council doesn't budge on i'ts budget, they will file suit and let a judge decide between multiple parties.   

"But certainly in this instance one of the parties would be the city council," Hart said.  
Action News 5 spoke with City council attorney Allan Wade late Friday night and he gave this statement, "There's nothing in the law that says the state will withhold all the BEP funding. There's no support whatsoever. If the school board wants to use scare tactics for political advantage they can use them but ultimately its the council's decision to hold on their budget."

Action News 5 has also learned that City Council Attorney Allan Wade recieved a letter from the Memphis City schools legal counsel asking for a meeting next week. Mr. Wade told me he will meet with him and talk about this issue.

But right now both sides seem far apart with Memphis students caught in the middle.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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