Memphis-Shelby County Schools seeks feedback for next school year’s budget

Three students raise their hands to answer a teacher’s question, sitting at their desks in a Memphis classroom.
A recent Memphis-Shelby County Schools survey that seeks input about how to prioritize budget spending aligns with many of the priorities Superintendent Joris Ray outlined during his recent state-of-the-district address. (Chalkbeat file photo)

As Tennessee’s largest school district prepares its spending plan for next school year, Memphis-Shelby County Schools officials are seeking feedback from families and community stakeholders.

From facilities improvements and digital learning resources to social-emotional support and wraparound services like health care for students, the district survey seeks input about how to prioritize budget spending. 

District spending aside, the survey also asks for input on other issues, such as whether Shelby County has enough pre-kindergarten classrooms and if K-2 teachers and parents have enough support to teach children how to read. It also seeks to gauge community awareness of various services the district provides, including tutoring, the summer learning academy, and its new social-emotional learning curriculum.

Many of the questions asked in the survey are in tandem with the priorities Superintendent Joris Ray outlined in his recent state of the district address, including retaining and recruiting high-quality educators, boosting early literacy, and reducing the student-adult ratio at the K-2 level.

The survey comes a week before the school board will host a series of community meetings to discuss the upcoming budget, ESSER spending, and the district’s renewed literacy commitment. Under its second grade retention rule that it will implement at the end of this year, all students must be able to read before entering third grade. The meetings are scheduled for: 

  • Monday, March 21, 5:30 p.m., A. Maceo Walker Middle School, 1900 Raines Road, hosted by board members Miska Clay Bibbs and Joyce Dorse Coleman.
  • Monday, March 21, 5:30 p.m., Richland Elementary School, 5440 Rich Road, hosted by board members Kevin Woods, Sheleah Harris, and Billy Orgel.
  • Wednesday, March 23, 5:30 p.m., Snowden School, 1870 N. Parkway, hosted by board Chair Michelle McKissack and board members Stephanie Love and Althea Greene.

The district will also live-stream the meetings and make them available online at voiceofscs.com and scsk12.org/board.

Samantha West is a reporter for Chalkbeat Tennessee, where she covers K-12 education in Memphis. Connect with Samantha at swest@chalkbeat.org.

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