Delaying School Merger would Cost Millions

Delaying School Merger would Cost Millions

There are growing calls to delay a Memphis-Shelby County unified school system, but one suburban school board member says any delay will cost tens of millions of dollars.
"You are two years late, you don't have time to sit back and chill while Rome burns."
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There are growing calls to delay a Memphis-Shelby County unified school system, but one suburban school board member says any delay will cost tens of millions of dollars.

Board member David Reaves says he's done the math and any delay, even by a year, would cost taxpayers $84 million.

Reaves posted his math on his blog on Thursday.

The post came after the board met for more than two hours on Tuesday night to deliberate a new custodial contract but failed to reach a consensus.

In the crowd that night, Rick Masson, a special master appointed by federal Judge Samuel Mays to oversee the merger process. Like many meetings before, Masson watched the meeting but didn't speak.

"He's not doing anything from what I see," said Dr. Kenneth Whalum Jr., a school board member. "You are two years late, you don't have time to sit back and chill while Rome burns."

Masson, who didn't return a request for comment from abc24.com, gets paid $250 an hour.

"Evidently Master Masson can do no harm, evidently Master Masson can do no wrong, he does what he wants to do," Whalum said.

"I got to make tough decisions every day on my job, that's why I'm still hired on at my job. So, what happens to them when they don't make the right decisions?" said parent John Johnson. "That's their job, that's what they signed up to do, that's their job."

Whalum says Judge Mays should have appointed the special master years ago.

He says at this point delaying the merger makes sense. The school board will consider the delay when it meets on Tuesday.

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