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Shelby and Porter-Leath County Schools have parted ways over a pre-K partnership

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Porter-Leath said the split will take effect on June 30, 2021.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee On Thursday there was a great development regarding education in Memphis as the Porter-Leath and Shelby County Schools the pre-K partnership has ended. Porter-Leath said he discovered the breakup during a phone call. Since 2014, Porter-Leath and Shelby County Schools have worked together to provide services to Head Start children. Porter-Leath was a major entrepreneur.

We’ve been working in partnership for seven years, said Karen Harrell, senior vice president of early childhood services at Porter-Leath. Over the past seven years, our contract has steadily declined in terms of the overall funding we have received.

Harrell claims there was a decrease in their repayment contract, which is a statement SCS disputes.

The Porter-Leath contract repayment deal has been consistent, SCS spokeswoman Jerica Phillips said.

Porter-Leath also said the SCS absorbed federal increases with no difference in the number of children served. Meanwhile, the district maintains that an increase in grant funding was used for things required by the grant.

While many may see an increase in our budget over the past few years as a recipient, we need to use those funding increases in order to stay in compliance with some of the federal standards, Phillips said.

SCS said it faced administrative cost issues during contract negotiations with Porter-Leath.

Some of the challenges we’ve seen with compliance relate to the administrative costs demanded by Porter-Leath, Phillips said. They asked for a substantial increase in funding, but they were providing less service to kindergarten students at a higher cost.

Usually when you apply for a grant you ask what? Harrell said. You ask for the cost of your program. So we asked the real cost of how we provide quality service.

Porter-Leath said it was difficult to be on the same page with SCS about all the services provided under the Head Start contract. Harrell describes the process as tense.

So that we can both get our infrastructure in place for next year, it’s going to have an impact, Harrell said. It’s going to be a negative impact, in my opinion, for this first year.

Porter-Leath said it will continue to provide preschool services over the next school year, and SCS has chosen to bring the remaining preschool services in-house.



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