Courtroom battle over Memphis City Schools funding nears end - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Courtroom battle over Memphis City Schools funding nears end

Chancellor Kenny Armstrong Chancellor Kenny Armstrong

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Dr. Kriner Cash has said over and over again that several Memphis City Schools will shut down if the district doesn't get funding from the city.

In Shelby County Chancery Court, the debate over Memphis City School funding neared an end Monday.

Memphis City Schools is suing the Memphis City Council for $57 million.  In court, MCS attorneys claimed the school board is the city's alter ego, and the two have a functional relationship School attorneys claim since the city used to fund schools, it cannot stop that funding.

"If they have chosen to pitch in, then they should maintain their effort and not fall back on it," MCS attorney Earnest Kelly said.

But Council attorney Allen Wade argued Memphis City Schools is not a municipal school system, so the City Council is not obligated to fund system if it feels as though it cannot afford to do so.

"That's fallacious from our point of view," Wade said. "I mean, just because we voluntarily gave them money does not lock us in perpetuity to that amount."

Chancellor Kenny Armstrong says he will make a decision by week's end in a case that appears to be far from over.

"On either side that loses, there's almost certain to be an appeal," Kelly said. "So this is something that'll take awhile to handle."

"No matter what happens we're going to be going on to the next station, which is in Jackson, or maybe even Nashville," Wade added.

Both sides said the legal battle would likely extend through the next budget cycle in May.

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