County Commission Approves School Funding

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Commissioners approved $13.9 million in funding for computer software and a program to handle the human resources and financial needs of the merged school system to come.

The original request was for $15 million and including contingency funding in the event the project had cost overruns.

But commissioner Steve Basar proposed the lower amount that was the estimate staffs of the two school systems said it would take to establish one common human resources and payroll computer system for the two school systems to be merged starting in August 2013.

Shelby County Schools superintendent John Aitken agreed that the project could be ready by next summer at the lower dollar figure.

The school system leaders will come back to the commission for approval as they award contracts and actually spend the funding.

The commission vote Monday, Oct. 22, was the first funding request for the consolidated school system approved by the commission.

In other action, commissioners approved a Dobbs Honda car lot on the northeast side of Hacks Cross Road and Tennessee 385. The dealership will move from the location it has had at 2785 Mendenhall Road for 20 years. The new dealership is a $10.5 million project that is expected to produce 30 jobs once completed.

The commission also approved $844,686 in funding for the relocation of utilities at the new Fite Road bridge over the Canadian Railways crossing in north Shelby County.

And the body approved the use of $2 million in Pilot Extension Funds by the Center City Revenue Finance Corporation for the $30 million “Main Street to Main Street” project.

It includes improvements to Main Street in Memphis and Broadway Street in West Memphis, Arkansas. The link between the two “main streets” is a pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk on the northern side of the Harahan Rail Bridge across the Mississippi River. The project has secured $15 million in federal funding with more being raised from private sources.