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Germantown Finance Commission takes back school security funding

By Published: May 08, 2019 5:43 PM CT

Germantown's Financial Advisory Commission has decided to reverse course on giving the Germantown Municipal School District an additional $500,000 approved April 24. 

The additional money could still come, however, through a grant.

For now, Houston Middle School will get $500,000 for security improvements as part of the $7.2 million budget requested by the school district. Improvements of the same amount at Dogwood Elementary might be on hold.

Josh Cathey,  district chief of operations, said he was still unsure how the commission's decision would affect improvements.

Alderman Rocky Janda said the Financial Advisory Commission “did it backwards” in approving the extra $500,000 before knowing where the money would come from. 

<strong>Alderman</strong><br /><strong>Rocky Janda</strong>

Alderman
Rocky Janda

<strong>Superintendent</strong><br /><strong>Jason Manuel</strong>

Superintendent
Jason Manuel

Superintendent Jason Manuel presented the district’s $7.2 million budget proposal to the financial panel last week.  Commission member Dick Vosburg proposed the city contribute $7.7 million to the district budget, $500,000 above the $7.2 million request.

Commissioners voted to recommend the additional funding to aldermen. The intent was for the district to move ahead with security improvements at both Houston and Dogwood, and the commissioners wanted the city to fund the $500,000 for each.

School board members left the April 24 meeting excited by the extra money, and Angela Griffith shook each board member’s hand and thanked them.

But at the start of Tuesday's advisory commission meeting, Janda stood up and read from a paper he prepared, noting he was asking for something not on the agenda.

He mentioned the commission needed to figure out how to give the district the additional funding. He mentioned it could come from the parks and recreation and the paving budgets.

“But that was unacceptable to me,” Janda said by phone Wednesday morning.

He said he met with City Administrator Patrick Lawton and Assistant City Administrator Jason Huisman to discuss alternatives, including getting the additional funding by issuing a bond.

He ultimately proposed the commission wait to give the district the additional $500,000 until the first week of July 2020, which is the beginning of the 2021 fiscal year. That's assuming the city doesn't get the money from a grant that will allow the funding to be part of its 2020 budget.


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The city has applied for the grant, which is specific to school safety improvements. Germantown would supply $125,000 and the grant would supply $375,000.

“We feel good about (receiving the grant),” Janda said Tuesday.

However, the city would not decide where their match funding would come from until they received the grant, according to Janda.

The majority of the funds the city gives the district is part of its special revenue fund. With the $7.2 million, the city is contributing to the following projects:

  • Houston Middle expansion: $5 million
  • Remainder for Riverdale boiler chiller renovations: $1.5 million
  • Dogwood Elementary and Houston Middle security improvements: $500,000
  • Houston High field house: $200,000

Topics

Germantown Germantown Municipal School District Finance Advisory Commission Security
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a May 2018 graduate of the University of Memphis.  She has worked for several local publications and has covered Germantown since May 2018.


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