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VOL. 129 | NO. 141 | Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Commission Approves $3 Million in Pre-K Funding

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Commissioners approved $3 million in county government surplus funds Monday, July 21, from the just-ended fiscal year to fund prekindergarten classrooms in the Shelby County Schools system.

The commission went for a compromise offered by Commissioner Terry Roland that commits the county only to funding for the current fiscal year and not a second fiscal year as proposed by Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

The surplus funds will go to the Shelby County Education Foundation, which will administer the funding through a contract to be developed by the administration of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

Mulroy had advocated direct funding to Shelby County Schools but said the Roland amendment was acceptable to him because it would mean prekindergarten funding in the current fiscal year.

Roland and Luttrell argued that in direct funding to Shelby County Schools there could be no guarantee that the funding would have to be used for prekindergarten. And there was some question about whether direct funding to the school system would mean the county would have to come up with a proportional share of funding for the six suburban school systems based on average daily attendance.

Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson has said the additional county funding would be used to keep the current number of prekindergarten classrooms for the new school year that begins next month. Without the funding, the classrooms would have been cut.

In other action, commissioners approved an $18 million widening of Houston Levee Road between Walnut Grove Road and the Wolf River Bridge as well as another $10.3 million to widen Walnut Grove Road between Rocky Point Road and Houston Levee Road, both with grant money from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The commission delayed a final vote on proposed pay raises for Shelby County Schools board members proposed by Commissioner Mike Ritz and delayed a vote on a $1.1 million school facilities study.

The commission voted down a resolution by chairman James Harvey urging the city of Germantown to release $273,080 in funding for the Germantown Community Television Foundation, the group that funds the television studio at Germantown High School. The high school will remain part of Shelby County schools in the coming school year.

And the commission approved the reappointment of Dr. Karen Chancellor as the county’s chief medical examiner.

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