Memphis school board considers delaying start - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis school board considers delaying start

Posted: Updated:
The school board in Memphis said it is tired of "playing games" with the City Council over money and it has decided to discuss delaying the start of classes. The school board in Memphis said it is tired of "playing games" with the City Council over money and it has decided to discuss delaying the start of classes.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Members of the Memphis City Schools board of commissioners said Monday they are tired of "playing games" with the Memphis City Council over money, and have decided to discuss delaying the start of classes.

At Monday night's meeting, school board members said they have given the council every opportunity to pay money owed to the board and can no longer accept assurances that anything will be different in the coming year.

Tuesday, that had many parents worried.

"When I first hear it, it sounded so ridiculous, that I didn't take it seriously," Stephanie Addison-James aid.

The board says the council owes the schools $151.3 million. That includes what the city still owes for 2008-09, shortfalls on two subsequent school years and $78 million for the coming year, according to The Commercial Appeal.

The board was to meet in emergency session Tuesday to consider moving the first day of school from Aug. 8.

"My concern is why?" Stephanie Addison-James said. "Where is our money? Why are we going though this? Where is our money?"

In a letter to schools Superintendent Kriner Cash on Monday, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said the City Council had set aside $55 million for the coming school year.

Wharton added that the schools would get money generated from an 18.68-cent tax levy "or the recently adopted 18 cents to pay school-related obligations. These additional funds should be addressed whenever the City Council meets to hear the MCS budget."

Wharton also said the city has $3 million on hand that it didn't pay for the just-finished year that will be paid, subject to an agreement between lawyers.

But some parents are still questioning if and when the money will be paid.

"Dealing with the economy already - it's putting a lot of people under pressure," Addison-James said. "But at the same time, the kids are first.  Kids are our future."

Last week, Cash was directed to cut the $78 million from the current budget.

Cuts included chopping entire budgets for string music, JROTC, teen parenting programs, school security staff, early childhood education and staff professional development.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.

Powered by WorldNow