Cash meets with Shelby County Commission

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - For the first time Monday, members of the Shelby County Commission met face-to-face with new Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash.  During a lunch meeting, the city school system's tight budget dominated the conversation.

Shelby County Commission chair Deidre Malone called the meeting, where the superintendent said the shake-up in the city's school system was far from over.

"We're going to have to solve the challenges for the city and county right now," he said. "We're going to need to solve them together."

Cash painted a dire picture of the city school system's resources.

"One year from now, at this time, we will be out of money," he said.

Cash said he'd rather solve problems one-on-one than in a courtroom.  Right now, the school system is suing the City of Memphis for cutting $66 million in funding from the school budget.

Cash told commissioners the school system is feeling the strain after losing 300 positions.

"We had to do that, and we're going to do that through the year as I learn more about the places where we can have greater efficiency," he said.

Cash revealed his new budget model to commissioners, saying he's built his budget from the ground up by "refreshing" business operations, starting with the Central Nutrition Center - a department that mismanaged hundreds of thousands of dollars last year.
"We've asked everybody in the administrative positions to reapply," he said. "We're going to make changes in leadership."

Cash also raised the issue of school consolidation, saying it's up to city and county leaders to determine if one school system would work.

"I reserve overall judgement," he said. "I'm more focused on what we need for these city schools right now."

Cash told commissioners he plans to hire a new deputy of business operations, saying that will help Memphis City Schools streamline the system.

Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.