Hell Freezes Over, MCS Admits Enrollment Down

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Memphis City Schools enrollment is down 2,508 students. The number is less significant than the fact that MCS acknowledged it at all.

Depending on how you do the math, and we'll get to that in a minute, the enrollment is 106,000, 103,500, or 101,000. The reason this matters is that funding is based on enrollment. The Memphis City Council knows it. And on Thursday members jumped all over it.

The admission — something reporters, council members, and others have tried in vain to obtain over the Kriner Cash years ("You'll have to file a Freedom of Information request for that") — came during the MCS presentation of its proposed $884 million operating budget to the council's education committee. Cash was attending the wedding of his son and did not make the announcement.

The Tennessee Report Card says the 2010 MCS enrollment was 103,500. The Commercial Appeal, for reasons known only to itself, stated Thursday that the enrollment is 110,000. An MCS official told the council Tuesday the system is "budgeting for 106,000-plus students" this year. And if you subtract 2,508 from 103,500, you get something like 101,000.

That means that instead of owing MCS (assuming a judge rules the city owes MCS something, even though the board surrendered its charter in December) roughly $78.5 million a year, the city owes about $69 million.

Ever generous and reasonable, MCS said the choice is up to the city council.

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