Board Member: Merged Schools Won't be Ready in August

Board Member: Merged Schools Won't be Ready in August

There is no way the merger of city and county schools will be complete by August, according to school board member Kenneth Whalum.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There is no way the merger of city and county schools will be complete by August, according to school board member Kenneth Whalum. He wants the board to ask a federal judge to delay everything one year. If that doesn't happen, Whalum says it will be a disaster for the students.

In less than three months, 70 days to be exact, the new school year is scheduled to begin. Federal Judge Samuel Mays says it will begin with a merged school system. He's even selected Rick Masson as a special administrator - the legal term is 'court master' - to make decisions if necessary. Board member David Pickler has talked with him.

"It is really unfortunate the judge waited until this late in the game to appoint a special master," he said.

Rick Masson won't talk with reporters. He is at some school board meetings, but not at others.

Picker says Masson is still learning. Reverend Kenneth Whalum isn't as politically correct.

"If he's doing something he's not letting me know, and he's certainly not letting the public know," Whalum stated.

Pickler admits, "There are massive issues that still need to be resolved. I applaud the effort, it feels like there is such a panic mindset in place now, I'm concerned the kids aren't going to be served."

For example, nobody knows who is going to run the school buses. Nobody knows who cleans up the schools. Nobody knows how the classes are supposed to be taught.

Nobody knows this, nobody knows that. Kenneth Whalum says there is no way on God's green earth the schools will be ready by August, no matter what Judge Mays says.

"I'm going to ask my colleagues to agree to petition Judge Mays to suspend the merger for at least a year," Whalum said.

So will the schools open on time? They really don't have much of a choice, according to Judge Mays. They'll open when they're supposed to open. Will it be smooth? Pickler says, probably not.

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