Tuesday, June 8, 2010

17 Cents for Education?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Memphis City Council member Shea Flinn has proposed a 17-cent tax increase over a maximum of three year to cover the cost of a possible judgment against the city in the city schools/city education-funding court case.

That money would then go into a special account. If the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city of Memphis, the money would be returned to the tax payers.

"The current system of how we fund education is not workable," Flinn said. "If we're going to have a special school district, let's have a special school district and give them taxing authority. If we're not, they should be treated like any other school district in Tennessee and have the sole funder be the county."

Ongoing ...

The other alternative seems to be to wait until the Supreme Court issues its decision (or non-decision).

"If we pass this budget tonight, we're locking in salaries," said council member Jim Strickland. "We're locking in the budget. ... The Supreme Court doesn't have to hear this case. ... It's likely [it won't], which locks in the Court of Appeals decision, which says we owe the money.

"It's also likely that will happen the second half of this calendar year. If we go into the next calendar year, what is the plan to pay the $54 or $57 million dollars?"

CAO George Little said the plan "would be to implement some conscription of city services over the course of two to three years."

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m. — The 17-cent proposal was withdrawn after executive committee members voted not to hold the budget for two weeks.

It seemed the 17 cents wasn't finding much support among council members, anyhow.

"I'm not in a position to vote for this, but the schools do need the money," said council member Barbara Swearengen Ware. "They probably need it moreso now, but I'm not willing to vote for this."

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