July 8, 2014 10:29:02 AM
Members of the Columbus Municipal School Board and the Columbus city council are scheduled to meet tonight to discuss the district's current financial state.
According to a press release issued by the city, the board members and city council members will discuss "operations and finances of the Columbus Municipal School Board."
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Brandon Central Office.
Board president Angela Verdell did not return calls for comment.
Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem said he hoped the city council and board members could work together to help move the city forward.
"My whole purpose is that we can start a dialogue to help move, not only our district forward, but the city as well," Karriem said. "You can't have a good city without a good school district."
Karriem said he hoped to discuss the district's finances so the councilmen would not be surprised when they received the school's budget request.
By law, the city must provide the funds requested by the school board in its budget, up to a 2-mill increase in taxes. A budget request requiring more than a 2-mill increase must be approved by taxpayers.
"We need to make sure as we go into our budget year, that we know what the needs of the district are going to be," he said. "(The school board) can raise the taxes and we have nothing to do with it. We need to make sure we have a good working relationship so we can make sure the taxes are at a level we can maintain."
While Karriem wants to have a working relationship with board members, he noted, however, that school board members do not answer to the city council.
"Once we appoint them they're completely autonomous but we still need to have a working relationship because what they do affects the city."
He added that during tonight's meeting he wants to "see what we can do collectively to make sure we have the best district. No surprises. Whatever issues there may be out there, let's talk about them and make sure we can work through them."
The meeting comes as the school board continues is search for a new schools superintendent. It has been a week since Dr. David Fonseca and Dr. Phillip Hickman met with members of the public.
The board originally stated it wanted to have the new superintendent in place by July 1.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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