Forget Seven, Merged School Board Set to Nearly Double

Forget Seven, Merged School Board Set to Nearly Double

The Memphis-Shelby County Unified School Board has been called a lot of things. With 23 members, efficient isn't one of them.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Memphis-Shelby County Unified School Board has been called a lot of things. With 23 members, efficient isn't one of them.

The school board is set to decrease to seven members when Memphis and Shelby County Schools merge this summer. On Monday, the Shelby County Commission voted to increase the board size to 13 members.

The 23-member board has often attracted criticism for its size, and long debates on a myriad of issues. Meetings that start at 5:30 p.m. often are not over until 9 p.m. or even later.

"It seems like a bunch of unnecessary arguing going on," said Marquentis Chambers.

"Twenty-three is definitely too big, there is no question, no question about it," said current school board member Kenneth Whalum, Jr.

Whalum, who lost an election to maintain his seat after the merger, says he's not interested in seeking one of the six new seats.

"I certainly wouldn't be considered by the desire of the sitting Commissioners because I have consistently called them out," he said.

Shelby County Commission Chairman Mike Ritz says the commission could name the six board members by May. They'll start serving in September, and serve one year before facing election.

"I'll tell you with 13 there will be less arguing, then it would with 23," said Louisstine DuPree, as she laughed.

The federal judge overseeing the merger still must approve this move.

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