Superintendent Kriner Cash sent a letter to Memphis City Schools employees Friday telling them this year's budget is the most dire one in the district's history. That's why, he says, it's necessary to cut more than 120 jobs across the board, from teachers and counselors to secretaries and administrators.
Just as students are settling in for the new school year, 126 Memphis City School Employees, including roughly 35 teachers, will soon receive pink slips.
School board Member Tomeka Hart says the cuts are the only solution to meet a $41 million budget shortfall.
"When 86 percent of your budget is people, any cuts are going to affect people."
The massive shortfall stems from the city council's June vote in favor of cutting school funding by $66 million.
"We knew our community could not stand to pay that kind of money in this tax base," said councilman Harold Collins.
To avoid further cuts, MCS is using $30 million from its rainy day fund. But it's also increasing expenditures by $17 million, and that concerns Collins.
"We're in a crisis. Something is wrong."
Hart says the increase is necessary because of inflation.
"To feed 110,000 students 2 meals every day, just like the cost of milk is up for you, it's up for us too," she said. "Gasoline - we transport students and it goes up."
Hart says the question now is how to do more with less.