MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools and the Memphis Area Transport Authority both received millions of dollars in funding during the County Commission budget meeting.
Hours into the final Budget meeting, commissioners were faced with a sticky question. A solution was needed for the more than $7 million in additional funds Shelby County Schools requested for academic pilot programs.
Commissioners voted to dip into reserve funds and allocate much less than what SCS asked for - a one time payment of $2.2 million.
“At the end of the day, it is about our children. I’m glad they went back to the drawing board," SCS Board Member Stephanie Love said.
This fiscal 2020 budget process was a first for many of the newly elected commissioners and Mayor Harris.
“There’s some good things in the budget. I think the process was clunky,” Mayor Lee Harris said.
Commissioners. through requests by early June, had put the budget out of balance by as much as $78 million.
Mayor Harris says he will be making recommendations for improvement.
In the end, the Commission also approved $2.5 million for MATA. and $2.6 million for new voting machines.
The voting machines were a point of contention for Mayor Harris who initially left out the funding for the election commission in his initial budget. He wanted election officials to address issues such as slow election night returns and better selection of early voting sites.
“I think that was a great collaborative effort between the chair of the commission, a lot of other commissioners, and Shelby County Election Commission to really say we work together to make free and fair elections, and there is integrity in the voting process,” Mayor Harris said.
The commission also approved $15 an hour for seasonal election workers and an additional $2.5 million for pre-K.
Commissioners plan to use additional money from an undisclosed lawsuit with the city to pay for pre-K.