Paying for USD, pre-K will cost you - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Paying for USD, pre-K will cost you

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -

On the minds of Unified School Board members after voters rejected a half-cent sales tax measure is what they will do with pre-K.

Half the expected money generated would have been spent on education.

Paying for the new school system and pre-K will cost you.

"You can't wait. The later that you wait, the more likely our children will not succeed in school," said Dr. Carolyn Harvey of Memphis City Schools.

MORE: With tax failure, how will new district be funded?
MORE: Tennessee Democrats wants to see pre-K expansion

It's a warning the voters ignored when rejecting a measure to raise the sales tax by half a penny in Shelby County.

"I think people feel economically challenged," said one voter. "Maybe that's why it didn't pass?"

Half of the estimated $60 million would have gone to the Unified School board to help fund the new school system. The board said it wanted to expand pre-K and make it universal with $15 million over a five-year period.

Tuesday's vote put the idea in limbo.

"We are going to look at everything because we are putting together a new system and have to look at all our options,' said Billy Orgel, Unified Schools board member.

The other option to erase a projected $60 million deficit for schools is another type of tax increase, but with strings attached.
"The county commission is going to require some commitments from the school board concerning pre-K," said Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz.

"the money is going to have to come from somewhere," said one voter. "The kids are our future. We've to do something for them."

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