Sparks fly as commissioners question school leaders - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Sparks fly as commissioners question school leaders

Sparks flew downtown Wednesday as Shelby County Commissioners questioned county school leaders about their budget.

Commissioners grilled school leaders over a vast difference in pay raises for upper management versus everyone else.

Budget talks began with sparks. Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz accused County Schools Superintendent Bobby Webb of spreading rumors the commission planned to cut a proposed 2% pay raise for teachers.

"I did not tell her or anyone else that this county commission was going to cut the 2%," Webb said.

Commissioner Steve Mulroy grilled Webb about proposed upper administration pay raises amid the budget crisis.

"Is this time to have significant administration raises. Significantly greater than the raises given to teachers and certainly greater than the zero percent raises given to all county employees?" Mulroy asked.

Webb said they had the money to do it.

"I would say we are receiving a little over $5 million more from the state this year than last year," Webb said.

Mulroy then questioned calculations on the school system's handout. They listed the highest increase as 5% for the Deputy Director.

But, Mulroy argued since the deputy director got a mid-year pay increase, the raise is even greater.

"It would actually be greater than 5% that's reflected here.  It might be as high as 8%," Mulroy said.

Mulroy also questioned why only 20% of upper management is African American. Webb agreed with Mulroy saying fewer African Americans are applying.

The budget is delayed for two weeks until the commission can get more information about the salaries.

In the meantime, if they don't vote on a budget by September 30th, the state can withhold funding.

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