Unified School Board Member Likens City to 'Deadbeat Dad'

Unified School Board Member Likens City to 'Deadbeat Dad'

He's had enough. Now a Unified School Board member is sounding off, calling the City of Memphis a "deadbeat dad" over its delay in paying city schools a nearly $60 million court-ordered judgment.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - He's had enough. Now a Unified School Board member is sounding off, calling the City of Memphis a "deadbeat dad" over its delay in paying city schools a nearly $60 million court-ordered judgment.

"A deadbeat dad can be put in jail, he can have his wages garnished, the City of Memphis can apparently go scot-free," said Kenneth Whalum, Jr.

In a letter sent to Mayor A C Wharton on Thursday, MCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson implores the City to settle the $57.4 million judgment.

"We still face a budget shortfall of $65 to $80 million dollars," Hopson writes. "Given our fiscal outlook, a resolution of MCS' judgment against the City has never been more critical."

The news only got more dire on Thursday. Last month, the Unified School Board voted to ask the Shelby County Commission for an additional $145 million.

"We have been advised that we can only expect to receive around $5 million dollars in additional revenue from the County Commission," Hopson writes to Mayor Wharton.

"We were thinking 30 or 40 or even more, but as it turns out, the re-appraisal is costing us so much, most of the resources we have vote-wise is going to be spent taking care of that," said Commission Chairman Mike Ritz.

"It is pretty minimal, it is very bleak, incredibly bleak," he added. "There is only about 5 million dollars of new money available for the schools."

In his letter to Mayor Wharton, Superintendent Hopson proposes a payment plan over the next three years.

"We are certainly open to discussing these and other issues as part of any settlement negotiations," he writes.

"It would be really good if we could get that resolved, it would really pull us out of a deep hole," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. "I think it is in the realm of possibility, I would hope that they would do that, it would fill a big hole if we could get that settled."

The news was almost too much to bear for Vicky Duvall, a mother of Shelby County students.

"It is very scary, very scary," she said. "I am going to be home-schooling next year, because the change is just too much."
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