Last year, when the Memphis City Council was taken to court by the Memphis City Schools over who should fund the district, the city's attorneys should have looked back to this week in 2005.
The Shelby County Commission had just voted unanimously to "fully fund" the educational needs of both the city and county school districts, with commissioners congratulating members of both school systems for holding down costs from the previous year.
Senior editor Jackson Baker called it "a triumph of feel-good politics, but it remains to be seen what the lasting effect of it will be."
"The outcome was wholly conditional, about as binding as my promise to gift each of you with some nice change for your Christmas socks if I happen to win the Tennessee lottery this week — as I fully intend to do," Baker wrote.
Since then, school funding has been nothing short of a mess. The city school system came under fire for mismanaging its money, especially at the district's Central Nutrition Center. The city then cut $66 million in funding to the district, arguing that education funding is the county's responsibility. In the resulting lawsuit, Chancellor Kenny Armstrong eventually ruled that the city needed to pay up.
But as the appeals continue, the City Council has postponed hearings on its 2010 operating budget, saying the administration needs to find $57 million for city school funding.
The City Council and MCS school board are expected to meet with state education commissioner Timothy Webb this week to discuss a compromise.
In other news, Baker still hasn't hit it big with the lottery. He did win $34 once, though.