Ritz wants to sue state for about $300 million - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Ritz wants to sue state for about $300 million

Commissioner Mike Ritz said the state of Tennessee has been shortchanging the Memphis and Shelby County school systems for more than a decade, and now he wants it to pay up.

At a meeting Wednesady, Ritz said state funding of Memphis and Shelby County Schools is below average, and he hopes both the city and county school systems will join in on the proposed lawsuit.

His resolution Wednesday would authorize the County Attorney's Office to study which laws the state could be violating.  They would also hire outside attorneys and public finance consultants to sue the State of Tennessee for about $300 million, plus damages.

"Thirty million, if we had that much coming into the school system, that's 20 cents on the tax rate. That's a big deal. Thirty million. That's a lot of money," Ritz said.

Ritz said it could take years for the courts to make a final ruling on the issue, but he said the only way to get the state to pay what it owes is to sue now.

The Education Committee approved the plan to sue the state for equal funding of public schools. The full commission will take a final vote on the resolution at the next meeting Monday.

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