School Head to Present "Reasonable" Unified Schools Budget

School Head to Present "Reasonable" Unified Schools Budget

The interim head of Memphis City Schools says he's ready to let everybody know how much money the Unified School System will need. Dorsey Hopson says the budget will be given to Shelby County Commissioners next week.
"It's going to be painful, but reasonable. But I think if we can show how funding the budget is going to be in the best interest for the students, I'm confident about it." -Dorsey Hopson, Interim Superintendent
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The interim head of Memphis City Schools says he's ready to let everybody know how much money the Unified School System will need. Dorsey Hopson says the budget will be given to Shelby County Commissioners next week.

Hopson is a pretty popular guy these days. It's been a long time since anybody could say that about a Memphis city school superintendent. He has finally worked out a deal with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's folks to try and get the city to pay schools a court ordered $57 million.

"Fortunately I think the parties have decided to sit down and discuss this," Hopson said. "There have been wonderful overtures by the city and the city council. I'm optimistic we may be able to get something done."

This fight has been going on for almost ten years. If they're even ready to negotiate, that's big. Especially since money is a big thing for schools as they get ready to show county commissioners what they need.

Hopson stated, "We will present our budget next week. We feel very good about it. I think at the end of the day the staff has worked extraordinarily hard to come up with as responsible a budget as possible."

All agree that the first budget offer, which was a $145 million increase from the year before, was a pipe dream. Since then, Commission Chairman Mike Ritz has been talking constantly with Hopson. County Mayor Mark Luttrell met with him this week.

"We're just trying to get a budget from the school system to determine how we can budget this thing," Luttrell said.

Hopson stressed, "Everybody wants to do what's in the best interest of the students. And I keep hearing that. I think the onus was on us to come up with something that was responsible. It's going to be painful, but reasonable. But I think if we can show how funding the budget is going to be in the best interest for the students, I'm confident about it."

This will be the toughest budget fight we've seen in many years. With the merged city and county school system scheduled to start classes on August 1, it will also be one of the most important budgets discussed.

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