Difficult budgeting process ahead for Memphis City Schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Difficult budgeting process ahead for Memphis City Schools

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - In a failing economy, the future of the Memphis City School system is bleak at best.

"By November of next year, that's less than 12 months away, we will not have operating expenses," school board member Dr. Jeff Warren said.

Memphis City School Board Commissioners continue to walk a fine line of where to spend and what to cut.

"We're still facing funding challenges going into next year, and perhaps the year after that as well," board Member Martavius Jones said.
At a board meeting Thursday, commissioners agreed to spend $78 million in the coming year to build new schools, improve older ones, and tear down schools beyond repair.  

"We've got some schools where kids go in and paint's falling off the ceilings, and they're just not what you would want your kid to be in," Jones said.

Board members also voted to withhold a $1,500 annual pension fund bonus from 45 retirees, saving the district around $67,000.

At Thursday's meeting board members got a warning from superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash: Deeper cuts are coming. 

"He was saying, 'Okay, well, there are going to be other decisions coming forth, and you've hired me to make suggestions to you. I'm going to need your support going forward,'" Jones said.

The district was forced to cleared out their reserve account when the Memphis City Council cut back their funding this year.  For Kriner Cash, and the city school board, the rainy day has come and gone. 

"So what he's saying is, we're going to have to make some really painful decisions unless we figure out a way to get that money restored," Warren said.

The school board starts budget meetings in February.  They have to present their budget to the city council by April 15th.

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