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Memphis school board gives conditions for averting delayed classes

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Attorney: If the city council meets the four conditions, schools will reopen as scheduled
  • Attorney urges action, says the board wants schools to start on time
  • The board says it is owed a total of $151 million
RELATED TOPICS
  • Memphis
  • Education

(CNN) -- The Memphis City Schools board voted to start school on time as along as four conditions are met by August 5, the school system's attorney said.

Last week, board officials threatened to delay the start of school unless they received $55 million -- a fraction of the money they say the city owes them.

If the city council meets the conditions outlined by the board, schools will reopen as scheduled on August 8, system attorney Dorsey Hopson said in a statement late Tuesday.

"First, the city council must approve the district's budget by August 2," Hopson said.

The council must also appropriate adequate funding for the budget and agree to a detailed payment schedule, according to the attorney.

"Finally, the district must receive the August installment payment of $12 million by August 5," Hopson said.

The attorney said the board wants schools to start on time and urged the city to take action.

The board says it is owed a total of $151 million, according to The Commercial Appeal newspaper. That includes what the city still owes for the 2008-09 school year, shortfalls on two subsequent school years and $78 million for the upcoming year.

Last week, the board said it wants $55 million immediately to open the schools, according to Martavius Jones, the school board president.

That "is the magic number," the board president said Wednesday.

Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. has said he is working on a resolution.

"The children will not be caught in the middle," the mayor said.

CNN's Scott Thompson contributed to this report