Parents Frustrated with Lack of School Board Progress

Parents Frustrated with Lack of School Board Progress

Tuesday was a marathon of a meeting; they actually got a few things done. But perhaps the toughest thing this board dealt with was realizing the public opinion that they're messing this merger up big time.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The first words have been spoken from the court appointed master watching the Memphis and Shelby County school merger.

Rick Masson told Unified School Board members to basically step on it. He says he's concerned by the pace the board has been working this year. Now, they've decided to wait a year before starting a search for a new superintendent.

Tuesday was a marathon of a meeting; they actually got a few things done. But perhaps the toughest thing this board dealt with was realizing the public opinion that they're messing this merger up big time.

The meeting filled to the rim with people who said they were tired that nothing was happening, angry about no superintendent, and the board letting county schools superintendent John Aitken leave.

"You let Aitken go. You should not have done that."

They're angry about all the talk and no action.

"I am sick and tired of coming out here listening to what y'all got to say. You need to fix our system."

They're angry about plans to close 11 schools next year and send the displaced students to other high schools. In Memphis, high school students in other neighborhoods can be a spark to a stick of dynamite.

"If you combine Carver High School and Booker T. Washington together, which is the plan, it will create more homicides in the city of Memphis than you've ever seen."

The big announcement concerned searching for a superintendent. There used to be two of them, but both left. The board paid a consulting firm more than $35,000 to find a superintendent.

"I just think we wasted a lot of time and resources," said board member Tomeka Hart. "Every reason given why we should delay, it hasn't changed since February so I'm trying to figure out how we lost dollars."

But there remains a sense of everything is going to be ok in the end.

"Our first goal is to have schools open on time, teachers in the right classrooms, a good educational environment for the kids and a safe environment," stated board member Chris Caldwell.

Court appointed master Rick Masson said he was concerned about the pace. He also said the merger cannot be delayed - it has to happen by August 1st.

We'll all be watching.

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