City Council vote could take millions from Jackson-Madison Co. schools


JACKSON, Tenn. — Determining where funding will come from for the next school year has school board members wondering if the district’s funding is in jeopardy.

Tuesday night, the budget committee recommended the city should take back a portion of sales tax revenue it was voluntarily giving to the Jackson-Madison County School System. That’s about $12 million the city would keep in the general fund.

“It’s a huge impact on us, one certainly I hope the city will not take,” Jackson Madison County School Board Chairman Bob Alvey said.

The City Council will hold a specially called meeting at 8 a.m. Thursday to vote on the recommendation. If passed, the resolution could take effect July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

“1989, when consolidation occurred, at the time the intent was that that agreement would not be altered,” Alvey said. “So I’m not really sure why now the city is looking at altering this agreement other than the city has a budget crisis.”

Mayor Jerry Gist says that tax revenue was a temporary gift the city needs to take back to focus on roads.

“For a three-year period until it got leveled up,” Mayor Gist said. “It has been leveled up, and now it’s been 28 years and we would like to be able to use our funds, which belong to us. It’s just a gift to the county.”

The mayor says although the city wants to re-purpose the sales tax, the city will still contribute $27 million to the district in other taxes. Over nearly three decades, the city has poured $680 million into the school system. Now the mayor says the county will have to step up.

“I would hope they would certainly not use this crisis to balance their budget, to impact local schools, ’cause all that’s going to do is hurt children,” Alvey said.

“We’re ready to accept those funds back now to rebuild our city and get our city ready, in position for future generations that are going to live here,” Mayor Gist said.

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