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The Week in Review

Metro
 
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Gov. Bill Lee and state Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said last week they plan to review Tennessee’s formula for funding schools and will conduct a statewide listening tour to gather comments on the subject. A proposal on how to move forward is expected to be ready for legislators when they convene in January.

Meanwhile, city officials explained last week why they plan to proceed with a controversial proposal to extend permanent parking for the Memphis Zoo onto a portion of the Overton Park Greensward, taking some trees and parts of the greensward for parking space. City Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen said a compromise plan calling for a parking deck on the Prentiss Place parking lot would have been too expensive.

And a disturbing audit from the state comptroller’s office found that two Memphis organizations billed the state for meals they didn’t serve to children during the 2020 summer months.

Finally, Shelby County Schools announced it is exploring the idea of forming its own security force, a “peace force,” to provide security in SCS schools. Former Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is advising the school district on the issue. — Metro editor Ron Maxey

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City Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen talked with The Daily Memphian about the factors that led the city and zoo to return to a parking plan that would take some of the Overton Park greensward and several trees. Listen to the interview.

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Lee and Schwinn gave few details about whether or how much the state would increase funding for schools. But Lee said he suspects the state will increase funding, and will have the proposal ready for the state legislature when it meets in January.

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A veteran Public Defender is seeking to become the first Indian-American to serve as a judge in Shelby County. But Sanjeev Memula is considering which of the nine criminal divisions of General Sessions Court he will seek.

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“Even though Memphis may seem like a smaller city or less important in the world of art, I think that the project is one of the most significant opportunities for me,” the artist said. 

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“We’ve seen where organizations have fallen short, but to see something that pathetic was a first.”

Two Memphis organizations providing meals to children in the summer of 2020 billed the state for meals they didn’t serve. Federally funded food programs have been susceptible to fraud for years.

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City Council members took a test vote of sorts in committee sessions on a proposal to make pay of $21 an hour the minimum for getting tax breaks from EDGE. The new Ford plant in Haywood County came up in the discussion.

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Last month, more than 300,000 Tennesseans chose from four new license plates designed by Memphis-based digital marketing agency Speak Creative. We now know the winning selection.

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Shelby County Schools is revisiting the idea of a “peace force,” an internal police department reporting directly to the district, following last week’s shooting at Cummings K-8 Optional School.

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