A Reasonable Board

Over the past year, there has been a lot of focus on the consolidation of the Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools. There were multiple lawsuits filed asking for clarity on the path that consolidation would take, especially the composition of the school board as it related to state law. The judge crafted a solution that placed the old SCS board(7 members) and the old MCS board(9 members) together and the county commission appointed 7 board members to make sure that equal representation existed across the district. That comes to a whopping 23 members. Obviously, 23 members is a lot over he next two years but I think you will find the dynamics fascinating. Here are some things I have learned:

1) The referendum on the dissolution of the city charter was more about unhappiness with the MCS than fear of the suburbs. In my discussions with other board members, particularly the appointed ones, they are interested in fixing the problems in the MCS and not breaking  the old SCS and there is no love for the MCS administration.

2)The new board has its members that would rather fight a war as opposed to working together to forge a solution that is agreeable to all parties. However, I think that these members are in the minority. I think that the overall board understands that we have a need to make sure that everyone is successful regardless of if the municipal governments create their own school districts. I think that we have a responsibility to make sure these smaller school districts are successful.

3) The way forward is by agreement by the SCS board. I believe that the true solution to what the overall school district will look like is by agreement of the board. An article was posted last week that spoke of the TN legislators drafting legislation to address property and how it is disposed. Although the legislature can do what they want, it may be a little premature to insert legislation while property disposal policy is being determined by the new board.

4)The judge still presides over this consolidation. All disputes and class-action suits will be referred to the judge for a remedy.  I remember as we sat around the table with the judge that his desire was not to create solution but to have the board members come to an agreement. The judge weighs the local decisions heavily and I think will give great weight to the solution that the SCS board agrees to.

I will do all that I can to make sure that we get to where we want to go. That is a best in class education system that is an asset to our community, promotes economic and community stability, and is a one of the best school districts in the state. My goal is to do that regardless of how the overall district is put together. I will support the new SCS and any municipal school districts that the cities decide to create. It is our job to make sure that education is successful in Shelby County.

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