Schools will be funded by state of Tennessee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Schools will be funded by state of Tennessee

Memphis City Schools will be fully funded by the state of Tennessee.

Attorneys with the city of Memphis insist the state has the obligation to educate the children of Memphis not the Memphis City School system. Therefore, the commissioner of education talks in a DVD how the state will fund the children's education, but it might not be solely through the Memphis City Schools system.

When the Memphis City Council reduced its school budget six percent or $63 million last month, the fear was that the school children would not get the state's funding of nearly a half billion dollars and schools would close.

Now, city council attorney Allan Wade said withholding state funding would be against state law and he has a deposition from the Tennessee commissioner of education to back it up.

"Contrary to what the school board has been saying and contrary to what is represented in the community, the children are not going to suffer," Wade said.
 
Wade said the video deposition from last week proves his point. In it, Wade is asking the commissioner of education Timothy Webb whether Tennessee was required to educate all students.

"The state had a duty to provide equal educational opportunities to every student in the state of tennessee is that correct?," Wade asked. "I believe that is correct sir. Yes sir," Webb answered.
 
With that admission of educating students, the commissioner then said if MCS does not have an approved budget to them by October 1st, MCS will not get the $423 million in state funding but it would go to educate the children.

"Put together an emergency action plan so that the students in the city of Memphis are not left without a free and appropriate education," Webb said.
 
In fact, Webb said without an approved school budget, a group of city state and school leaders would have to put an action plan together.

"A task force or a working group of people involving all the stake holders both the Memphis the Shelby county area, the governor's office, the attorney general's office," Webb said.
 
Memphis city schools' attorney gave Action News 5 this response, "The city has asked the public to rely on a out of context statement to mask the very real possibility that the district may lose funding. If the city changes course and does what it's done for 100 years this would be a moot issue."      

The city said bottom line, Memphis children will get the state funding one way or another.    

The hearing in court between the school and the city set for Thursday July 17th.


Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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