Parents Feel Excluded from Superintendent Community Meetings

Parents Feel Excluded from Superintendent Community Meetings

As the clock ticks closer for the Unified School District to open its doors there's still no superintendent. Although community meetings have been held to get the public's input, turnout has been low because nobody knew about them.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - As the clock ticks closer for the Unified School District to open its doors there's still no superintendent. A firm based out of Illinois, Proact Search, is leading a series of community meetings to get the public's input on whom to hire. The firm is getting paid $30,000 to find a superintendent, but parents tell us they feel excluded.

The past three days, community members have been invited to come to the Memphis City and Shelby County School Administration buildings to give some input about the superintendent search. MCS says they have advertised the superintendent search to the public through their website, social media, radio, and on television. Parents say if it wasn't for local news stations like CW30 and ABC 24, they wouldn't have known about the meetings.

"You got to inform yourself about it and go out to the meetings. But as for emails or flyers? No, I haven’t received anything,” said Cordova parent Lawrence Taylor. “I haven’t heard it on the radio either.”

"I heard it on the news,” said another resident, Jim Chymiy.

That's why you turnouts have been so low. Only a few people attended a meeting two days ago. Friday morning at 11, there was another meeting catered just for the Latino community. No one showed up.

"Nobody has contacted us, that was unusual,” said Latino Memphis Director Mauricio Clavo. “The first time I heard about this meeting was from [ABC 24 News]. Regardless of the group that they're targeting it's just the timing doesn't seem right. You would think most parents are working at 11'oclock in the morning."

MCS says they've advertised with the Spanish newspapers, but we couldn't find anything.

"I don't see anything here,” said Clavo as he flipped through all the Spanish newspapers. "A lot of these newspapers you can advertise for free as a public service announcement."

Friday afternoon, principals from Shelby County and Memphis showed up to the meeting. It was a good sized crowd. Many say they want the superintendent to be a local hire.

"I believe that would be in our best interest because you would not have someone from outside to come in and having to learn about the community, it would make their learning curve even smaller,” said Elmore Park Middle School Principal Marjorie Lowe.

In the end, the Unified School Board members will have the final say on who will be the new superintendent. MCS says there maybe more community meetings in the future.
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