School board slashes budget, eliminates jobs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

School board slashes budget, eliminates jobs

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis City School Board cut millions from the district's budget and eliminated more than 120 jobs at a meeting Monday night.

Citing time constraints and a risk of losing state funding, board members voted to slash $41.5 million, or 4.5 percent of the district's budget for the year.

"This is not a perfect solution," board president Tomeka Hart said, "but it is the best one that we have."

Job cuts were also recommended by Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash.  126 positions were eliminated, including non-mandated teachers, mentors, psychologists, and social workers, as well as positions in administration, community services, and clerical staff.

School leaders also voted to use $30 million in reserve funds, but board member Rev. Kenneth Whalum wanted to use much more than that.  In fact, Whalum wanted to use all the reserves, drop the lawsuit against the city, and go after the state on funding schools.

"I didn't think the city council did anything wrong," Whalum said. "I think the state of Tennessee is the culpable party here, and I think that a lawsuit against the state on constitutional grounds is what we need to pursue."
In the end, the cuts passed, but the issue of funding in the future remains unsolved.

"We need to settle this question of who funds Memphis City Schools," Cash said.

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