MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The County Commission couldn’t come to terms on how to fund pre-kindergarten education in Shelby County, but had no problem increasing the pay for the nine school board members.
On second reading, they gave the go-ahead to raise their pay from $4,200 per year to $15,000. That’s a 200 percent raise.
Council Chair James Harvey said, “Let me put this in perspective. These people work as long as we do. The school board meetings, they meet longer hours and more days. They have been making $4,200 for the last 25 years.”
Even though Chairman Harvey voted against funding pre-k, he says this conversation isn’t over.
“What they don’t see coming is I’m going to propose we fund pre-k. Period. All of Shelby County. Not the suburbs, or certain demographic, not the poor. Shelby county will fund pre-k.”
But commissioners can’t agree on how to pay for it.
Commissioner Steve Mulroy wanted to use sales tax revenues.
He said, “I think most people in Shelby County understand they are for pre-k. There may have been some skepticism using the sales tax to fund it, but they are supportive of pre-k itself.”
The commissioners who voted against Mulroy’s plan say kindergarten through 8th grade classes need work now, and pre-k can wait another year.