SCS bracing for student exodus to municipal districts - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

SCS bracing for student exodus to municipal districts

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (FOX13) -

It seems the contentious battle to fund Shelby County Schools just came to an end but the board is already preparing for next year and the probability that one third of the students will leave the unified system for municipal schools.

The impact of municipal schools was part of Wednesday's board retreat.

The creation of municipal schools would mean a loss of $52.6 million to the Shelby County Schools system for the 2014-15 school year. Board members and staff were presented with that number as budget talks for next year kicked off.

The $52.6 million is an estimate and that figure came from the amount of funding that will follow the students to the new system, minus the expenses that follow the children as well.

Because of some fixed costs that will not follow the students, the estimated $52.6 million will contribute to a budget gap for next year. There is no estimate of the total budget gap yet, but staff is gearing up  for a tough budget season with probable cuts and layoffs.

"Anytime you're going to reduce enrollment but one-third, you can expect to have a reduction in staff," said SCS Board Chairman Kevin Woods. "Not just at the school level but at your central office as well."

Another factor that would impact the budget is the school buildings in the suburbs. Those buildings belong to the county board of education, but the suburbs think they should get those buildings for the students. Those negotiations are going on right now between the lawyers for the school system and the suburbs.

"They need to before the benefit of the children, so we need to do what's best for the students in the community," said Billy Orgel, SCS board member. "But we also worry about our collective tax burden, and if it's not good for someone in Memphis, it's probably not good for someone in Germantown."

The attorney for the board is expected to update the negotiations for the buildings on Tuesday.

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