School Board Member Presses for Merger Delay

School Board Member Presses for Merger Delay

Federal Judge Samuel Mays will decide whether you get to vote on new Unified School Board members this year. The current 23 member board will shrink to seven in September. With all of this going on, one Unified School Board member says the whole merger needs to be delayed.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Federal Judge Samuel Mays will decide whether you get to vote on new Unified School Board members this year. The current 23 member board will shrink to seven in September. With all of this going on, one Unified School Board member says the whole merger needs to be delayed.

The Unified School Board has an amazing ability to turn molehills into mountains, spending hours on issues that aren't really important. At least that's how Shelby County Commission Chairman Mike Ritz feels.

"Well it's like the naming - what's the school board going to be named and all this other stuff. They need to work on getting things done. I think what we're dealing with are people benefitting from the fact that they're just wasting time," he said.

Reverend Kenneth Whalum says there's no chance on God's green earth - those are his words, by the way - that this merger would be ready in time for the next school year this August. He knows Judge Mays has said he wants everything ready to go in less than 70 days.

"I'm going to ask my colleagues to agree to petition Judge Mays to suspend the merger for at least a year," Whalum said, "Allow Memphis City Schools to achieve some waste management - in other words, cut some administrative fat. Allow Shelby County Schools to do the same. And then look at it in a year and see if it makes sense to merge."

Ritz says the request doesn't make any sense.

"The judge ordered this. I don't know where he gets ideas like this. I don't. It's hard to respond to ideas like that."

Even if they vote to delay the merger, Judge Mays could order them to continue. So then they'd still have to find a superintendent, find out who will drive the school buses, who will clean the schools, who will teach the children, what time will classes begin, what schools will close, and a few more not-so-little odds and ends.

I'll be watching.

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