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Memphis City Schools Pushback Against Pushdown

Tex

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It seems the Memphis City school board voted to put off school until the city hands over tax revenue that it gave away in tax cuts in previous years.

School will not start for the 100,000 some odd students until funding for the school system is restored, say school board members.

Meanwhile, Germantown, a suburb of Memphis gets a charter school (mostly white and relative upper class).

One board member who voted against school closure said they have been fighting for funding ever since the city reduced tax revenues and cut the taxes for people in Memphis around 2008. It is just now becoming national news as school won't start for the 100,000 students until funding is restored, say school board.

I don't live anywhere near Memphis so I don't know the particulars of this story but I am sure the spin stories will start coming. It will be interesting to see how the spin does develop. You might remember, TN and a lot of other states went after teachers unions as the problem. This is the board of education, not the teachers. Fundamental questions over whether people are taxed to provide government services is at stake. Is it all unraveling?

It will be interesting as this is where most friction comes from --- where the rubber meets the road.

Tex
 

Mike

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Black run cities & schools system will always have trouble brewing.

Are there any predominately black cities solvent at this time?

Nothing new here.................................. Buckwheat will bail them out.
 

Steve

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For the most part, school spending on instruction per pupil has trended upward in the past 10 years for the state's five largest districts.

Memphis City Schools has had the largest leaps -- up 57 percent since 2000. Shelby County Schools has increased its per pupil spending by 41 percent.

Currently, Memphis City Schools spends $10,767 per pupil and SCS spends $8,439. (2011 data)

By state law, schools can't be funded at a lower level than they were during the previous year.

“2008 numbers

Memphis spends $8,345 per student (Increase of 24.1% 2004 - 2008)
Graduation rate of 66.9% Lowest in the state

restore funding?

or restore funding increases the school board has gotten used to?

by the factual numbers the funding this year is above the funding last year...

and has increased dramatically over the last ten years...

so maybe the school board should take a remedial math course... or get their house in order..

I along with many other Americans are tired of paying more for failing results.. it is examples such as this that drive an attitude against the education (NEA) monopoly
 

Tex

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Steve said:
For the most part, school spending on instruction per pupil has trended upward in the past 10 years for the state's five largest districts.

Memphis City Schools has had the largest leaps -- up 57 percent since 2000. Shelby County Schools has increased its per pupil spending by 41 percent.

Currently, Memphis City Schools spends $10,767 per pupil and SCS spends $8,439. (2011 data)

By state law, schools can't be funded at a lower level than they were during the previous year.

“2008 numbers

Memphis spends $8,345 per student (Increase of 24.1% 2004 - 2008)
Graduation rate of 66.9% Lowest in the state

restore funding?

or restore funding increases the school board has gotten used to?

by the factual numbers the funding this year is above the funding last year...

and has increased dramatically over the last ten years...

so maybe the school board should take a remedial math course... or get their house in order..

I along with many other Americans are tired of paying more for failing results.. it is examples such as this that drive an attitude against the education (NEA) monopoly

Steve, what is the spending per student where you live and is the city paying for its part or not?

This article suggests it hasn't been paying for a number of years:

Memphis school board: No school until city pays up
July 20, 2011|By the CNN Wire Staff

Schools in Memphis, Tennessee, will not open for the new school year until the school board receives at least $55 million of the money it is owed by the city.

The Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners voted on the delay Tuesday night. However, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. told CNN Wednesday he is working toward a resolution, and "the children will not be caught in the middle."

The board vote indefinitely delayed school opening "pending the resolution of a long-standing funding dispute with the City of Memphis," school system attorney Dorsey Hopson said in a statement.
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The board says it is owed a total of $151 million, according to the Commercial Appeal newspaper of Memphis. That includes what the city still owes for the 2008-09 school year, shortfalls on two subsequent school years and $78 million for the upcoming year.

The board wants $55 million immediately to open the schools, Martavius Jones, school board president, told CNN Wednesday. That "is the magic number," he said.

Board members passed a resolution asking that the remaining $23 million be paid after the city collects the funding in taxes, according to CNN affiliate WMC. Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash was directed last week to cut that $78 million from the current budget, WMC said.

Schools had been set to open August 8, with teachers due to report August 1.

"Someone has to assume responsibility for the collective education of the children in the city of Memphis, and I don't think the City Council can be exempt from that responsibility," board member Sara Lewis told WMC Tuesday night.

The school district sued the city in 2008 because of the funding dispute, Hopson said.

"The Shelby County Chancery Court and the State Appellate Court ruled that the city's decision to cut educational funding violated state law, and the state Supreme Court upheld the decision," Hopson said. "Despite these court rulings, the city has continuously failed to meet its legal obligation to adequately fund the district."

Since then, Jones said Wednesday, the board has relied on its savings. "We can no longer afford to do that," he said.

"For the last four years, the city of Memphis has withheld, illegally, funds that the State Supreme Court now has said is due our children," board member Kenneth Whalum Jr. told CNN Wednesday. Asked whether the measure isn't extreme, he said, "what's extreme is the fact that, even with a court order demanding the payment be made, that the city administrators would choose not to."

Steve, do you support illegal holding of funds for schools?

Mike, you make an interesting point. I think most of it is based on a larger problem which is that blacks make considerably less than whites as a group. You can argue the reasons but I grew up in a suburb (30 miles away) from a large city in Texas and much of the reason is that we kept moving away from the decaying city center. This leaves places like Germantown, a wealthier and predominantly white suburb, where the money and educated parents end up in a city.

I have been lucky (and a bit of foresight and happenstance) in my life to be able to do the same thing and move my family to better schools and out of inner city meltdown. I still don't think that we should abandon the inner city children, nor do I think we should defund them.

Tex
 

Steve

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locally we vote on the school budget, and it often fails.. (almost $18,000 per student with a 40+ graduation rate)

the city council can restore a portion of the budget, but he breakdown of our taxes is for school, city, and county.. each getting paid as the taxes are paid..

Steve, do you support illegal holding of funds for schools?

illegal? ,.. no,.. but just short of that I feel the schools have a bit to much power over their budgets and to little responsibility..

one thing that may not be being said in this is the collection rate in Memphis and Shelby county..

is the city expected to make up for those who fail to pay taxes at the expense of other city functions?
 

Steve

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What is my tax rate?
Remember that there is a separate tax rate for the county and for each city within the county. These tax rates are as follows:

Shelby County (residents who do not live in Memphis): $4.09
Shelby County (residents who do live in Memphis): $4.04
Arlington: $1.00
Bartlett: $1.38
Collierville: $1.45
Germantown: $1.70
Memphis: $3.23
Millington: $1.23

Examples
Memphis Resident
Appraised Value: $150,000
Assessed Value: $37,500
County Tax: $1,515
City Tax: $1,211.25

Germantown Resident
Appraised Value: $310,000
Assessed Value: $77,500
County Tax: $3,169.75
City Tax: $1,317.50


living in the community with the highest tax rate, highest crime rate and lowest quality of living often leads to abandoned homes and buildings.. and those proprieties added with poor families and bad times often leads to dismal collection rates..

Never before has the City fronted the school board money, yet now, in the midst of two court cases, one in State and one in Federal, the City Schools wants their money up front. Even though, for the past two years, in the midst of one of the worse financial crisis’ this nation has faced since the Great Depression, the city has appropriated and disbursed the majority of the City Schools’ money (minus collections that are in arrears), the City Schools wants it all now.

so is it really illegal.. or just failed collections?

Does the City owe some $13m from FY 2009 and 2010? Yes, but that’s due to delinquent property tax collections, not some kind of willful withholding of funds. Yesterday, the City released $3m to the City Schools, ahead of schedule, that had been collected from delinquent property taxes.

seems as if everyone is sharing the burden of hard times but the school doesn't want to share or deal with hard-times..
 

Steve

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City of Memphis

Education Funding

Fact Sheet

· The City of Memphis has paid MCS over $171.7 million in operating funds since July 2008

· The City of Memphis has set aside over $87.7 million in its FY2012 operating plan for MCS

· MCS does not have authority to levy taxes, therefore the City of Memphis dedicates part of its property tax ($0.18 of the $3.19 city tax rate) for the local portion of school funding as counties in TN are required to do by law. The City has voluntarily given in excess of $1.0 billion in additional funds to MCS over the years

· In the past three years the City has funded MCS in the same manner and at the same time; at no time in any of those years did MCS have any problem starting school on time.

· According to MCS’ recent budget the City’s proposed contribution to MCS’ 2012 budget is 8.65%–This is less than a dime on a dollar. Think about it. Even if the City completely refused to fund them at all, a dime out of a dollar should not be a cause to shut down schools. Prudent management should be able to open schools, even on a reduced basis with 90% of its budgeted revenues

· The City of Memphis has also borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars on MCS’ behalf for capital projects such as building and renovating schools. MCS has not fulfilled its obligation to pay the debt service on these capital dollars – though the city still must make debt service payments on this debt- and the city has filed suit to collect $160mil owed for MCS capital projects

· The Memphis City Council and MCS have been negotiating the $57mil judgment MCS won against the city for the 2008-2009 school year and the City’s $160mil counter claim which is currently in the courts and will be ruled upon in the near future unless a settlement is reached

· As the City of Memphis collects property taxes from its citizens, MCS’ receives its portion of property taxes as well as local sales tax via monthly payments from the Shelby County Trustees office. The City of Memphis does not “advance” MCS money from taxes the city has not yet collected

· The City Council has approved as part of the City of Memphis budget and paid funds to MCS for the past 2 school years (2009-2010 and 2010-2011) The Council will consider MCS’ 2011-2012 school year budget in committee on July 21, 2011 at 4 pm.

lets see.. $151 million claimed..

$57 million still in litigation.

that leaves, $94 million, the city just paid, $10 million,

so we are now down to $84 million...

the schools system owes the city $160 million in failed debt payments..

can the city expect a check for $76 million? or should they just demand $19 million before the school can open in the fall?

isn't it funny how the facts come out in a public fight...
 

Tex

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Steve said:
locally we vote on the school budget, and it often fails.. (almost $18,000 per student with a 40+ graduation rate)

the city council can restore a portion of the budget, but he breakdown of our taxes is for school, city, and county.. each getting paid as the taxes are paid..

Steve, do you support illegal holding of funds for schools?

illegal? ,.. no,.. but just short of that I feel the schools have a bit to much power over their budgets and to little responsibility..

one thing that may not be being said in this is the collection rate in Memphis and Shelby county..

is the city expected to make up for those who fail to pay taxes at the expense of other city functions?

Ouch on that graduation rate, there, Steve. Thanks for all the digging on the subject. I don't get the paper and you have definitely shed more light on the subject than comes across on the nightly news.

I do know that Germantown near Memphis does have higher housing and is much more upscale (talk from relatives or friends somewhere down the line). The tax rate is important but so is the value of the asset being taxed. One could have a much lower tax rate on higher end properties and still collect more taxes, for instance.

I don't know a whole lot about Memphis except that it is on the Mississippi and because it is on the delta, has a high black population and a lot of low end housing and property. The best thing for a minority community is a strong economy. One of the worst things is a sorry economy. The same with the crime rate.

We have let our politicians leverage down our economy and I guess the consequences are showing up in a lot of places like this.

What do they have in the water that makes your graduation rate in the 40 percent range or is that just the Kardashian hood?

Tex
 

Steve

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What do they have in the water that makes your graduation rate in the 40 percent range or is that just the Kardashian hood?

choices for some, it is complicated to explain.. but I'll try,

We had a good Catholic school system, that takes out the portion that cares enough to not want their child to go to Wildwood High. and a great tech school that takes out those with good grades or are at least trying.

Basically we have four schools, for elementary, (five really)
Wildwood Crest, which is a nicer town, more upscale, they are to the south of Wildwood. they have a great Pre-K through 8 program.. most of their kids either go to WildWood Catholic or Tech after the eighth grade,

or the child "relocates" to grandmas and goes to one of the other schools...

leaving only those who can not find a choice,or their parents don't care, going to Wildwood High,

the same scenario plays out in the other three towns as well.. all are a bit more upscale then Wildwood,

and here in Wildwood we had a great inexpensive Catholic Pre-K though 8 school as well..

so you could let your child get lost in the system of a failing Wildwood elementary school with a large non-English speaking Spanish population or you cared and found another choice..

once your child finished K-8 you could at no cost send them to Tech.. a revised vo-tech with a focus on technology.. and you have to test in, maintain grades or they ask you to leave..

and those who don't get into Tech, go to Wildwood Catholic or move to another district. go to Wildwood high for a little while until the decide drugs, or crime is a better option.. some may even leave to get a job.. but I have never heard of that actually happening..

so when people have choices.. they often leave a failing school.. and then it is left to fail... and they often do..

one could argue that the cream is being taken off the top,.. and it is.. but why let your child go to a school with a dismal record when there are other choices?

my child went to Glenwood (Wildwood's elementary school), but by the second grade we knew we had to move him, I could write for days detailing some of the crap he was putting up with,.. and I feel for the children who live and go through our districts schools.. as no child should have to be denied an education because others don't want one..

sending your child to a broken public school will not fix the school..
 

okfarmer

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I think the biggest question is:

Why let a school become broken with kids that don't want to be there?

I think it is in all of our best interest to educate the children. But that is not saying that all kids should be allowed to stay in public schools.

I have looked at this problem in my own mind trying to solve it. The best I can come up with is, not just kick their butts out. But have somewhere less desirable to send them. If a kid can't make it in a normal school setting (up to whatever age you deem appropriate), I would like to see them "invited" to a boot camp. I think a good portion of them (not all) would benefit from real structure and real consequences. Get them out of the school so that kids that do want an education can have one.

Kicking them out on the street will only lead to more trouble and then you will have to board them on the public's dime for many years.

Keeping them in school will only lead to a bad school environment.

Out of curiosity Steve, what were these schools like when corporal punishment was still legal and utilized?
 

Steve

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Mike said:
They have alternative schools here for the troublemakers.

they have them here as well, basically a baby sitter for lazy, mouthy kids..

take a look at this.. and then you will see how we have failed many children..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq3-PycEXHk
 

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