Education NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Memphis Charter Schools’ Funding Squeezed

Charter schools in Memphis have seen their funds reduced, in some cases by half, as a political tug-of-war between the Memphis City Schools and City Hall plays out.

The city is withholding money owed to the schools system, and the schools in turn have decreased payments to charter schools, which are publicly funded even though they operate independently.

“Some will have to take loans to meet payroll. Others wonder if they can stay open,” the Commercial Appeal reported this week. On Wednesday the newspaper’s editorial board bemoaned the situation, saying “financial foot dragging” will affect the students’ ability to perform on standardized tests. They also point out, as we have, that the pending consolidation of Memphis City and Shelby County schools will bring more uncertainty for charter schools.

And with that, the voters in Memphis may be glad they decided earlier this month to dissolve the district and cede responsibility for educating the city’s youngsters to the county system. Sadly, there seems to be no such “eject” button for Memphis city government.

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