Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preservationists: Women on a Mission

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Virginia McLean (center)
  • Virginia McLean (center)
Preservation is about persistence and patience in this city that stopped Interstate 40 from going through Overton Park.

Like the women activists who led that fight that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 1971 and was not resolved until ten years later, Virginia McLean and June West have plenty of both, as Memphians who have been following the riverfront and Overton Square stories know. McLean is head of Friends for Our Riverfront. West is executive director of Memphis Heritage. Like them or not, those are organizations to be reckoned with.

So who are they?

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Was Calipari Worth Every Dollar . . . and More?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM

A new book, "Varsity Green," by Mark Yost, suggests that high-paid college coaches like John Calipari are well worth their multimillion-dollar salaries.

The book examines, among others, former Cincinnati coach (and Memphis arch rival) Bob Huggins. And the chapter titled "The NCAA: Cartel or Mafia?" should be irresistible to Tiger fans. A sample: "The NCAA's front business is amateurism" but its real business is "extortion."

"Bob Huggins is, himself, a national brand. And in many ways he made us a national brand too," says Bob Cavello, athletic director for business development at K-State, where Huggins coached for one year after leaving Cincinnati.

The University of Memphis gets fragged by Yost in the Huggins chapter: "Historically, K-State has been one of the leading public institutions in production of Marshall, Truman, and Rhodes scholars. In short, K-State was no Kentucky or Memphis, where basketball ranks first ahead of everything else, and bio lab is a distant third or fourth on the college president's list of top priorities."

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Friday, January 15, 2010

A $75 Million Error on MCS Funding

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Call it "The Case of the Missing 7,000 Students." But you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this one out.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals makes a whopper of an error in its decision this week on the funding for Memphis City Schools. If you do the math, it comes out to $75 million in school expenses, and that's an amount that should get members of the Memphis City Council doing some homework before raising anyone's taxes or forking over millions of dollars to MCS.

On the second page of its ruling, the court says MCS "serves approximately 112,000 students." No, it does not. According to MCS, the system serves "about 105,000" students. The Tennessee Report Card says the actual number is 104,829 students. School funding is determined by enrollment. The per-pupil funding (from all sources) for MCS is $10,394. Multiply that by 7,171 — the difference between the actual enrollment and the number the appeals court wrongly assumes to be accurate — and the result is approximately $75 million.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Appeals Court to City: Cough Up More Money for MCS

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 3:54 PM

It's official. The city of Memphis and Memphis taxpayers will have to give more money to Memphis City Schools. The funds are likely to come from a combination of higher property taxes, budget cuts in other areas, and possibly from city reserve funds.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled against the city of Memphis Wednesday. A day earlier, the Memphis City Council put off a vote on school funding pending direction from the court.

"We agree with the attorney general that the city is obligated to contribute to the funding of MCS as a local government," the court said in an opinion written by Judge David Farmer.

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