Enrollment down, budget up at Memphis CitySchools

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Enrollment is down at Memphis City Schools for the 2008-2009 school, year, while the system's budget is up, officials said Wednesday.

Numbers show that enrollment at Memphis City Schools has been declining for years. Teacher layoffs mean the over 110,000 enrolled in the system this year will have fewer instructors, but not because of Memphis City City Council cuts, according to Deputy of Academic Operations Irving Hamer.

"The teacher layoffs that we announced yesterday are a function of declining enrollment," Hamer said Wednesday.

But even with declining enrollment, Hamer announced Tuesday to the Memphis City Council that $17 million would be earmarked for new initiatives, including:

  • New social studies textbooks
  • Teacher raises
  • Improving under performing students
  • Expanding pre-kindergarten
  • Creating five new schools, including four technical evening schools

"The superintendent and I have crafted for purposes of changing the general profile of the school district and the achievement patterns of the children in the district," Hamer said.
Many council members said Hamer's comments were refreshing, as he explained the teacher cuts were a direct result of declining enrollment, and exactly what new programs will be implemented.

"We got the truth," council member Harold Collins said. "We got the facts, and now people can make a factual, reasonable decision based on the information they receive."

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