Commissioners Say Higher Taxes Won’t Fix Schools

(Cordova, TN) The new unified Shelby County School District is less than two weeks old and it’s already facing a major funding crisis.

When the Shelby County Commission voted down a .36 cent tax increase, they essentially put $20 million that the district is planning on to operate in question.

Some commissioners argue the district will have fewer students, teachers and administrators than the two districts combined last year, but they are asking for $20 million more than last year.

Angry citizens say you can’t throw money at Shelby schools and expect it to improve them.

“If more money equals better schools, why didn’t MCS have better schools? They spent $2,000 more per student than Shelby County did,” said one concerned citizen at Monday night’s commission meeting.

Others argue taxes have steadily gone up over the last few decades, but schools have gotten worse.

Commissioner Wyatt Bunker says they can’t keep raising taxes for people Shelby County without results.

“There never seems we ever push the urgency to hold the line on taxes or reduce taxes and there has never been a more important time to do so,” said Bunker.

It’s up to the school board to make sure the money they get from county commission is spent wisely on the most effective things.

School Board Member Kenneth Whalum says that’s not happening.

“Where’s the common sense, man? No, the schools are not wisely spending the money as they could, but neither is the county commission,” said Whalum.

Whalum says the district needs some major changes to administrative spending to save money.

He believes salaries are too high.

“People are paid to send me an email later on today to tell me what’s expected to be on the news tonight. That is a waste of money!” said Whalum.

Whalum says the county commission should still give them the $20 million in extra funding because it’s their responsibility, and he said he believes they should ask local corporations who were given tax breaks to pay for it.

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