Noticeably absent from this week’s discussion, however, was a focus on the ramifications of the unprecedented political move to reduce the city’s funding of the city schools system.
Those specifics include complex legal scenarios as well as the long-understood presumption of state and county officials that the city of Memphis has a legal obligation to fund the city school system.
Going into Tuesday’s vote, council members had been told a fund reduction of any amount could trigger a variety of unpleasant scenarios. City officials have been told that state funding to the city school system could be in jeopardy if the city cuts its school funding.
A 2005 opinion from former Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers states that the city has a legal obligation to fund the city schools system.
It is the council’s disagreement over that perceived obligation that soon will be put to the test in court.
Given the proven inability of the MCS Board and Administration to manage its resources, educate children, and provide for the safety of children in schools, these cuts may force management decisions that may finally improve the school system.
The Commerical Appeal is already reporting that MCS is freezing hiring in response to the budget cuts. The administration has issued a statement saying that "the superintendent wants to review how the district can better manage its resources."