MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Commission has voted to use $3 million in surplus funds to fund pre-k education.
The money will be overseen by non-profit Shelby County Schools Education Foundation, not Shelby County Schools.
The foundation will charge around $150,000 for an administrative fee.
“There has been so many times in the past where we have given [SCS} money, and they used it for other things,” said Commissioner Terry Roland.
Mayor Mark Luttrell said it is the only way to make sure the money goes to early education.
“That is the greatest guarantee that you are going to get, and quite frankly, it would be a rock-solid guarantee,” he said.
Even though Commissioner Walter Bailey voted for the plan, he said the commission should have more faith in the school system.
“I find it really resentful that we look at that professional organization with disdain and contempt,” he said.
SCS will still use the same curriculum.
The money can be used immediately, but will only be used in the district.
It is not reoccurring. The county commission said if it has extra money next year, they will look into putting it towards pre-k.
WREG contacted SCS and every board member to ask how the money would be spent, but only board member Chris Caldwell got back to us saying it would create up to 25 new classrooms and allow up to 500 children to join the program.
The vote was 7-3 with an additional three commissioners recusing themselves.
Commissioners Ford, Thomas and Billingsley voted against the plan.