Battle over school money goes before judge - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Battle over school money goes before judge

The battle between Memphis City Schools and the City of Memphis went on in Shelby County Chancery court Thursday morning.

The School Board, the Memphis Education Association, and the Rainbow Push Coalition have merged to fight the battle together after the Memphis City Council pulled more than $66 million from the Memphis City Schools budget.

The school system would have to make major cuts.

Among them would be to eliminate salary increases (except those that are state mandated), a ten percent cut in maintenance, no funds for substitute teachers, fewer text books, 250 layoffs, and the jeopardizing of federal grant money.

"The simple question now is whether the city is required to fund city schools. That's the essence. And then there's the second question is once they started took on the effort of funding are they required to maintain it?" attorney Javier Bailey said.

The bigger question is whether the state can pull it's funding based on the city council's decision. City schools could potentially lose more than $400 million state money if the local revenues don't match or exceed what was in last year's budget. School officials say if that occurs it would shut down Memphis City Schools.

Earlier this week, the city of Memphis filed a counter suit claiming that the Memphis City School District owes the city more than $150 million in bonds for school construction and repair.

That matter will be heard separately. The judge wants to deal with the school budget crisis first before moving on.

Click here to e-mail Anna Marie Hartman.

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