‘World Class Education’ In Shelby Co. Questionable Due To Budget Cuts

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(Memphis) Unified school board members are getting their first look at the billion dollar budget for the merged school district.

During the planning parents were promised a world class education from the merged district, but those dreams are dwindling as details of the budget become clear.

School board members say so much has been cut, the district has veered far from the TPC's plan.

Many board members say cuts to the budget are compromising what will happen in the classroom with just weeks until the schools officially merge.

County Commissioner Sidney Chism says the unified school district is at the point of no return, and it's in danger of schools not being ready in August, “I don't know whether we'll get them all the money they're asking for. I don't think we will, but I do think it’s necessary to have a school system that is functionable. It may not be world class."

Unified School Board Member Martavius Jones says the board’s first look at the budget is not a pleasant site, “The budget is predicated upon cuts. It's not a budget that I'm happy with but it's one to present to the county commission."

Jones and the school board presented a budget to the county commission months ago asking for almost $150 million to help the merger.

Commissioners quickly said no because a loss in property taxes is putting the county in a money crunch.

Under the plan the school board will vote on members are asking the county for $35 million, but you could still face a tax increase just to cover that.

Some School board members argue the budget doesn't support a world class system because it causes larger class sizes, lets go of teachers and staff, and cuts money for tools to help teach children.

“Unfortunately this budget does not reflect what it takes to build a world class system. This simply allows us to open schools next year with a basic education structure,” said School Board Member David Pickler.

Tuesday at 5:30 the board is meeting with the community to go over the budget, Wednesday night they will have a workshop within the district and Thursday the board will vote on the budget.

Right now the plan is to get the budget to commissioners next week if it passes Thursday.