Memphis school officials thought their budget gap likely would shrink by $22 million after leaving discussions Wednesday with Shelby County commissioners. But within an hour, the amount was up in the air again — though still not likely to change.

At the close of a marathon day of discussions, the commission’s budget and finance committee voted to reopen the budget approved earlier in the day that had recommended increased funding for Shelby County Schools. Instead, the panel sent the budget without recommendation to the full commission.

The development opens the door to another round of funding debates Monday when the commission is scheduled to cast its final vote on the county’s operations budget that goes into effect July 1.

Earlier recommended amendments, including $16 million in new operations funding from the wheel tax to all county school systems and a commitment by county administrators to find an additional $3.5 million somewhere in the budget, remained intact but without the committee’s stamp of approval.

Those amendments, plus Mayor Mark Luttrell’s already recommended $8.7 million increase for education across the county, brings the added county money for school operations to $28.2 million. Shelby County Schools would receive about $22 million of that based on allocations to municipal districts. That’s down from the $35 million it requested but significantly more than included in Luttrell’s initial budget proposal.

The recommendation approved earlier on Wednesday had been seen as a victory for the state’s largest school district, which had rallied the community to ask their commissioners for increased education funding. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson and school board Chairwoman Teresa Jones said the district could bridge its remaining budget gap with reserve funds. The school board is expected to take up the matter at its work session next Tuesday.

This year’s education budget will set the baseline for how much the county is obligated to fund its seven school systems next year, which would be $419 million under the initially approved recommendation.

Thus, when Commissioner Heidi Shafer moved for an additional $3.5 million to come from somewhere in the county’s budget, the county would be on the hook for that amount next year as well.

Mike Swift, the county’s director of administration and finance, said he was unsure where the extra money would come from but was charged to come back Monday with an answer. “We’re just going to have to look and see where we can find it,” he said.

Soon after, the committee voted to recommend the county’s operating budget without discussing funding increase requests from several other county departments. That oversight prompted Commissioner David Reaves to move to reopen the budget. But Reaves, who was absent during the initial vote, also was unhappy with the committee’s recommendation on the additional $3.5 million for schools.

“Do I think they should be given their entire amount? The answer is no,” Reaves said after the meeting. “We’re not done with the schools budget yet.”

Hopson responded later on Twitter to the unexpected developments:

Earlier during the meeting, Commissioner Mark Billingsley had told Hopson that the panel’s willingness to get Shelby County Schools close to eliminating its budget gap should be noted.

“I want to hear personally we have fully funded schools,” he said. “We’re looking at a significant increase… We are digging deep.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new comments by Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.