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Superintendent Dorsey Hopson II, center, with Shelby County school board president Kevin Woods, left, and board member Billy Orgel, right.

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson aims to increase the district’s four-year graduation rate from 75 percent to 90 percent by 2025.

Kyle Kurlick

Memphis Superintendent Hopson asks Mayor Wharton for $57 million he says they’re owed

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson II is asking the city of Memphis to enter into mediation to pay the $57 million that is owed to Shelby County Schools. In a letter to Mayor A C Wharton, Hopkins asks the mayor to avoid lengthy court proceedings, which, he said, would “exacerbate the City’s tenuous financial condition.”Courts have ruled that the city underfunded Memphis City Schools in the 2008-2009 school year. The city is challenging that ruling.Hopson is suggesting that the city pay the money back over a 12-year period, rather than risk losing in court and owing all the money at once. Leaving the dispute unresolved could hurt the city’s bond rating, according to Hopson.The letter says that, despite his efforts, the city has not made “any meaningful dialogue in response to our multiple offers to resolve this matter.”The school board hopes that this latest effort will bring in money needed to support schools.“Supt. Hopson has created a situation where it’s a win-win for everyone,” said Chairman Kevin Woods in the Commercial Appeal. “Where the City Council can properly budget a long-term payment plan and our kids can start to see the benefits of the dollars they’ve missed out on with the funding that’s owed to the school system.”