Unified School Board Meeting on Budget Shortfall

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(Memphis) The Unified School Board is hoping to iron-out a budget for the next school year.

The merger has created major money issues.

Some school board commissioners are hoping they will come to a vote Tuesday on the budget.

It’s one that would help close a $150 million shortfall.

“So, we have to find those dollars and in education it’s always difficult to find those resources,” said School Board Commissioner Kevin Woods.

Woods says the Unified School Board is trying to make as few cuts to classrooms as possible.

He says in the last week, school board members went out and got feedback from local principals who said their top concerns were making sure assistant principals were kept in schools, as well as counselors.

“We did hear the voices of principals and assistant principals at those schools and I think our recommendation now is going to be about $10 million in cuts,” said Woods.

Last week, the cuts to school staffing stood at $20 million dollars so the recommendation has been cut in half.

But cuts have to be made somewhere to make-up for the shortfall as Shelby County and Memphis schools merge.

Tuesday, the biggest cuts being proposed are from operations, which include custodial, transportation and food service workers and cuts to the central office, which would eliminate a total of 170 employees.

Woods says the rest of the money, to fill the budget gap, will have to come from the County Commission.

“Give us that 68 million dollars,” said Woods.  “You know what we lost from the City. We have a team that we think can put together an effective and efficient budget.”

Woods says the school board will b asking the county commission for that funding on February 23.