Jackson-Madison County school board talk about lawsuit and budget

JACKSON, Tenn. — It is crunch time for the Jackson-Madison County school leaders as the budget for the next fiscal year has to be approved by the end of the month.

With less than a month before the new fiscal year begins, the district is weighing its options which include putting their name on the county’s lawsuit against the City of Jackson.

“The two parties could ask us to be there, but there’s no guarantee they will,” school board chairman Bob Alvey said.

During Monday night’s school board work session, the question was posed, should the Jackson-Madison County school board join Madison County’s lawsuit against the City of Jackson.

“The county commissioners have assured us that they’ll make sure that we have the operating funds we need,” Alvey said. “The big issue for us though is that we’re in the middle of addressing all these capital issues.”

Some board members believe the district has no choice but to intervene.

“I hate to jump off in that but if we want to have a voice we need to do that,” board member Wayne Arnold said.

Others still are holding out hope the funding issue can be resolved outside of the court room.

“I just believe in the name of whats best for our city and our community, that there’s still room to have that conversation,” board member Dave Bratcher said.

Incoming superintendent, Dr. Eric Jones presented two budget options for the next school year. One includes a 2 percent raise for everyone. The other would pay bonuses depending on certification. Each plan would financially reward higher performing teachers.

“(There are) benefits to both of them.They both are strong proposals. It gives the districts options in terms or saving and moving forward as a district,” incoming superintendent Dr. Eric Jones said.

Madison County Chancellor James Butler is scheduled to hear the temporary emergency injunction filed by the county against the city on June 20. The county is asking the judge to order everything stay as is with the city sending its $12 million in sales tax dollars to the school district until the lawsuit is resolved.

The school board will hold its regular monthly meeting this Thursday at 6 p.m. and is scheduled to vote on the budget and whether to join in on the lawsuit.

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