Shelby County Schools Marks First Day of Merged System

Shelby County Schools Marks First Day of Merged System

The Memphis city school system is officially gone, replaced by the new, Unified Shelby County school system.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - The Memphis city school system is officially gone, replaced by the new, Unified Shelby County school system.

This month is going to be chaotic with all the preparation needed for the first day of school on August 5th.

Doing all that work, making all the big decisions will be the 23 member school board. The board drops to seven members in September, and one member says that means this will be a wild summer.

"There are so many moving parts and the board was so late in terms of getting many of the major decisions made, that really put the administrative staff behind the 8 ball," said David Pickler.

David Pickler was head of the Shelby County School Board for about 15 years. He has often just watched the 23 board members fight on issues he thought didn't make much sense. One thing he says is worth fighting for now is making sure classes begin in August.

"There's a tremendous amount that's got to be done over the course of next month to be ready for that," he said. "Are we ready today? Absolutely not. Will we be ready by August 5h? We've got a lot of work to do."

It's not just education that he worries about. The school board is made up of elected officials. Politicians. They can say they're not, but they are - you know it, I know it. And on September 1st 16 people will drop off the board; its size will be reduced to seven.

Pickler said, "23 has been a very unwieldy number to work with; It's been very difficult to get on a timely basis, all the work necessary. And so I'm hopeful this group of seven can come together and take on all the really big issues and put this district on a great course this year."

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