City of Memphis compared to "deadbeat dad" amid funding debate - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City of Memphis compared to "deadbeat dad" amid funding debate

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School board member Kenneth Whalum, Jr. School board member Kenneth Whalum, Jr.
Interim MCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson Interim MCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – "It's the deadbeat dad syndrome."

That's what school board member Kenneth Whalum, Jr. has long thought of the city's refusal to pay a court-ordered $57 million to Memphis City Schools.

"I can't afford to pay for this baby I made," said Whalum.  "It's the same thing," he added.

Interim MCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson is now refocusing efforts to collect the cash by proposing, among other things, a possible reduction in the amount owed.

He recently met with Mayor A C Wharton and followed up Thursday with a letter.

"Given our fiscal outlook, a resolution of MCS's judgement against the city has never been more critical," wrote Hopson.

"For him to be taking this step means that he's just sick and tired of pussy-footing around the issue," said Whalum.

"We need to settle all these lawsuits that we can, get them behind us, and move on," said Memphis councilman Jim Strickland.

Unlike Whalum, Strickland supports a compromise.

"In fact, three and a half years ago, I sponsored a resolution to ask all the parties to mediate the dispute and it passed unanimously," said Strickland.  "But it's gone nowhere since then," he added.

Strickland said counter-claims and other issues have complicated things.  However, he believes resolution is possible.

Meanwhile, Whalum said the city owes the children of Memphis all of the money owed.

"Every dime, plus interest now," said Whalum.

A compromise would need to be reached before the school district's fiscal year begins July 1.

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