MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The superintendent of Memphis City Schools says money is going to be tough to find for schools Memphis and Shelby County. He's concerned after the state allowed 17 new charter schools for Memphis.
The money for education follows the students, and Dr. Kriner Cash says the ruling will mean city schools will take an $87 million hit.
Charter schools are already here, and more are coming. 17 more can open once they get their money. The state treasurer gave the ok, saying he didn't believe the school system here would be hit with money problems.
That was a surprise to Dr. Cash.
"We applied and we thought we had as good a case as you can make for fiscal impact debt in one year," he said.
You've got your winners in the world, and you've got your losers. Kriner Cash lost this round. The winner: former Mayor and Superintendent Willie Herenton.
"All we want is the opportunity to improve education for the boys and girls who are at the bottom," Herenton said. "These low performing schools need the expertise that my professional group can give."
Here is the trouble, according to Dr. Cash. Taxpayer money gets attached to students and the money goes where the student goes. If they leave a regular school and head for a charter school, the money goes with them.
Kriner cash says the charter schools will cost the public system about $87 million, money that would otherwise go into the unified school budget.
"When you have charter schools, the dollars follow the child. That's fine. But they don't pay for all the services. You still have infrastructure left. You have to pay for transportation, have to pay for food services, have to pay for technology." Cash said, "You have to be very, very thoughtful about who's operating, how it's operating, monitoring it and evaluating it rigorously."
The man who will be operating seven out of the 17 charter schools that were approved is former Mayor Willie Herenton. He wants to get going.
"Teachers are calling. They want to get involved in our educational pursuits. And I'm happy about that."
So is school board member Kenneth Whalum.
"I'm so happy man. I'm so happy that the state treasurer decided to do what was right."
But, the ruling by the state treasurer is late in the year, almost too late for any charter school operator to be ready in time for the next school year in August.
There's still opportunity to appeal this ruling, which would hurt the chances of charter schools opening by next August even more.