2011-2012 school year delayed indefinitely in TN - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

2011-2012 school year delayed indefinitely in TN

(WMC-TV) – The Memphis City Schools board voted to indefinitely delay the 2011-2012 school year at an emergency meeting Tuesday night.

Board members said they want the city of Memphis to pay millions of dollars owed to the school system before they will allow classes to resume.

Members of the board added that they have given the council every opportunity to pay money owed to the board and can no longer accept assurances that anything will be different in the coming year.

Before Tuesday's meeting, that had many parents worried.

"When I first hear it, it sounded so ridiculous, that I didn't take it seriously," Stephanie Addison-James aid.

The board says the council owes the schools $151.3 million. That includes what the city still owes for 2008-09, shortfalls on two subsequent school years and $78 million for the coming year, according to The Commercial Appeal.

"My concern is why?" Stephanie Addison-James said. "Where is our money? Why are we going though this? Where is our money?"

In a letter to schools Superintendent Kriner Cash on Monday, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said the City Council had set aside $55 million for the coming school year.

Wharton added that the schools would get money generated from an 18.68-cent tax levy "or the recently adopted 18 cents to pay school-related obligations. These additional funds should be addressed whenever the City Council meets to hear the MCS budget."

Wharton also said the city has $3 million on hand that it didn't pay for the just-finished year that will be paid, subject to an agreement between lawyers.

But some parents are still questioning if and when the money will be paid.

"Dealing with the economy already - it's putting a lot of people under pressure," Addison-James said. "But at the same time, the kids are first.  Kids are our future."

Last week, Cash was directed to cut the $78 million from the current budget.

Cuts included chopping entire budgets for string music, JROTC, teen parenting programs, school security staff, early childhood education and staff professional development.

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