(Memphis) The unified district’s billion dollar budget plan cuts hundreds of jobs, closes schools and creates larger class sizes for Shelby county students.
It also does away with many Pre K classes.
If the board approves this worst fears of some who were against merging the schools will come to life.
“We talked about the fact that taxes would increase. We talked about the fact that jobs would be lost, we talked about the fact that there would be a loss of academic quality and unfortunately all of those things are beginning to take place,” said Unified School Board Member David Pickler.
Pickler says he was against the merger from the start for several reasons that are now rearing their ugly heads.
He says the budget board members may have to settle on doesn’t build a world class system.
“It reflects cuts in teachers, it reflects cuts in teacher aids and also a lot of non-classroom expenditures. It reflects job losses in custodial and other areas,” said Pickler.
Pickler says another problem is the loss of students.
With just weeks until the schools merge a lot of families have lost trust in the district.
So far the district is planning for almost 10,000 fewer students than they had anticipated.
“Many students and parents have left the district they have voted with their feet and left,” said Pickler.
Even with fewer students the district faces a huge budget crunch.
Board Member Patrice Robinson says taking the knife to the budget isn’t going to help anybody.
“What`s fair for all children and how do we move the mark toward that world class system, and yes it does cost money,” said Robinson.
Robinson and many other board members News Channel 3 spoke with say they cannot support the budget as it is right not and there is a chance it could not be approve Thursday night with just over a month until schools merge.