Final Meeting Held of 23-Member Shelby County School Board

Final Meeting Held of 23-Member Shelby County School Board

School security was expected to be a major issue at Tuesday’s final 23-member Shelby County School Board meeting, but it wasn’t; however, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson did try to ease the fears of parents.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) – When a 5-year-old student took a loaded gun to Westside Elementary last week, it accidentally fired from the student’s backpack.

School security was expected to be a major issue at Tuesday’s final 23-member Shelby County School Board meeting, but it wasn’t; however, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson did try to ease the fears of parents.

In a statement, Hopson commended the staff at Westside Elementary for keeping everybody calm and safe.

He emphasized again that wands and metal detectors will be placed in all schools at a cost of $20,000, and said if that saves even one life the cost is well spent.

Hopson also reiterated that Memphis Police and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office are working on jurisdictional issues.

That was about the extent of any discussion on security.

The meeting wound up focusing on money.

16 members of the board were participating in their final meeting; the board will now drop from 23 to seven members.

“This committee is sun setting,” is the way board member Betty Mallot put it.

But the final night of the full board was not without controversy. Several groups of maintenance workers and teachers complained of expensive benefits and salaries that had not been leveled.

“It is hurtful to me, my family, my co-workers,” said Everett Mosley, “we were thinking we were going to get the same pay as everyone else when we merged, but that hasn’t happened. It’s hurting us all. I’m about to cry right now. I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills. I come to work; I’m proud to work, thankful—(walks away emotionally), thank you.”

Hopson explained the shortfall was an economic decision.

“The law gives us three years to level up,” said Hopson, “and we didn’t have the money to level up.”

To do so would have cost $20 million.

But, the workers found a supporter in board member Sarah Lewis.

“Just because something is legal,” Lewis told Hopson, “does not make it fair or moral.”

Lewis plans to go to the Shelby County Commission to see if something can be done to level up the salaries; as she put it, a little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down.

“Mr. Superintendent,” said Lewis, “we have got to find some sugar.”

When asked by one board member if the $57 million from the City of Memphis would have taken care of the problem, Hopson said, “It certainly would help.”

Hopson also said a hearing is scheduled for late October to ask for a directed verdict on the status of the $57 million.

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