City and county leaders meet over school funding

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The thought of taxes might make a lot of people cringe, but city and county leaders believe they may be necessary to provide fair and equitable funding for schools.

The debate brought both City and County leaders together Thursday. The issue - single source funding for Memphis City and Shelby County schools.

"Once you determine whether or not we're going to try to sell this option of single sourcing then the question becomes what does it look like.  Is it another county or another taxing board?" president of Memphis City Schools Tomeka Hart said.

One of the recommended options for funding includes giving the school board authority to tax the public.

"A special plan that would allow them to have better control over their funding by potentially having taxing authority by legislative bodies," Chair of the Shelby County Commission Deidre Malone said.

"We understand that if we go to single source funding, that's going to involve a tax increase to the residents of Shelby County who live outside the confines of the city of Memphis," David Pickler of Shelby County Schools said.

Under the plan, the general assembly would authorize the tax rate.  And any tax increases would have to be approved by the city and county boards of education and the Tennessee General Assembly.

The big challenge for the committee now is to consider who will be responsible for the funding, and how the money will be spent.

Members of the committee will continue to evaluate all of their options in the next few weeks.

They have also suggested holding a town hall meeting before taking a final vote.

Click here to e-mail Jamel Major.