Portsmouth transfers $4.3M to schools after division says year in jeopardy

The Portsmouth city manager said $4.3 million that Portsmouth Public Schools (PPS) expected to receive from the city in July had been transferred to the division by Friday afternoon.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- The city of Portsmouth's chief financial officer told 13News Now $4.3 million that Portsmouth Public Schools (PPS)  expected to receive from the city in July had been transferred to the division by Friday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Elie Bracy III held a news conference, saying that without the money, there was a possibility that schools would not open on September 5 and that the division would have to furlough staff members.

Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe said PPS had unspent money from the previous fiscal year budget. When there is a surplus, the money is supposed to revert back to the city.

CFO Alice Kelly said this year, the city didn't transfer the $4.3 million payment in July because it wanted to wait until the city council meeting on August 22. That's when council planned to reappropriate the unspent money from FY 2017. 

School division spokesperson Cherise Newsome told 13News Now the city never communicated that message to school leaders, saying it was disingenuous not to communicate.

"We have never had to deal with this kind of relationship with the school board and the city council," School Board Chairman Claude Parent said. 

Rowe told 13News Now that there never was a danger that the schools would not open on time as the superintendent stated.

It's unclear if the city will move forward with making the $4.3 million payments every month as it has in the past, and there's some question surrounding the use of unused funds from the previous fiscal year. City council is expected to discuss the issue at its work session on Monday. 

We'll be at the council meeting tuesday night as city leaders try to sort this out

You can watch the news conference with Bracy below:

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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