School board explains why cuts would cripple district - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

School board explains why cuts would cripple district

Shortly after the mayor made his speech, the Memphis city school board explained why budget cuts would cripple the district.    

Memphis City School leaders feared if the city reduced its budget, then they would lose state funding totaling about half a billion dollars .

School leaders insist if city doesn't reconsider, they will sue.   

Memphis City School leaders unified with one message on city council's budget cuts

"It would have a devastating effect on the district's ability to educate its students," school board president Tomeka Hart said.

"What may turn out to be one of the most devastating series of events in the history of the school district," interim superintendent Dan Ward said.

"I don't think it's too much to ask that we continue to fund Memphis city schools at the level we received last year," school board member Martavis Jones said.
That would mean $93 million. Right now, the city council cut the school district's budget about 6 percent down to $20 million.

Memphis School leaders insist that cut would mean the state would withhold $423 million dollars, in total cutting out almost $500 million from Memphis City schools next year.

The schools legal attorney Dorsey Hopson recalls what state education leaders said to him last week. 

"If the city of Memphis does not fund you to the level that they funded you last year, we're going to take the money," Hopson said.
School leaders Monday urged parents, students, and community members to call and attend city council's meeting Tuesday in hopes of changing some minds. But it may not do any good.

"They should have prepared for this. They were told over a month ago to present us a budget with cuts. They didn't do it. This is not a surprise and their reaction now, that's a little too late," city council member Bill Morrison said.
Morrison is the architect of this year's city budget. He expects the issue to go to a judge.

"Alleviation of this is going to come in court and that's what we need to do. I am very confident that the city will win in court and when it does we will simply carry on business as usual," Morrison said.

Morrison will be holding a press conference tomorrow morning at city hall about ways to resolve the issue of Memphis city School funding.

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