Other administrators said it was the first time to their knowledge that any action of this type had been taken. The Memphis City School Board voted to delay the opening of city schools this year "indefinitely."
The board voted to keep schools closed until the City of Memphis gives them a payment of fifty five million dollars. Schools had been scheduled to open on August 8th.
It was apparent from the beginning of this meeting that the overwhelming majority of board members had lost faith in the promises of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and of city council members. "This is a tipping point in our existence," said MCS Board member Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Jr. "It is very obvious that all promises and pledges made by the city council and the administration are absolutely valueless."
It was Whalum who first came up with the idea of delaying the opening of schools until the city gave the school system money owed. "I know I'm going to get heat on this" he added, "
but I think maybe we ought to stay closed the whole year unless we get the money." Board members decided to use the term "indefinitely."
The only member to vote against not opening schools was School Board President Martavius Jones. Jones wasn't against the idea, but said the demanding of fifty five million dollars was "imprudent". Jones said the figure of fifty five million dollars came from the city's Chief Administrative Officer George Little, but it was based on property taxes that have yet to be collected. "I just don't think we should demand money from the city that hasn't been collected in taxes yet," Jones told board members.