Superintendent of Memphis City Schools Kriner Cash's contract expires in 2013. The Memphis and Shelby County school board voted not to renew that contract last night. The vote was 14-8. A similar motion not to renew the contract of Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken, which expires in 2015, did not pass. That vote was 8-14.
The people charged with planning the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools settled on an organizational structure for the new district last night.
The 21-member Transition Planning Commission was actually scheduled to vote on an organizational structure last week. Two options were on the table.
The first was a “unified district.” In a unified district, the primary decision-making power rests with the superintendent, which is similar to the way both Memphis and Shelby County Schools are run right now.
Memphis and Shelby County Schools might be on their way to consolidation, but sentiments on the matter are far from unified. The transition team and the unified school board charged with planning and executing school consolidation have met less than a handful of times, but already five of the six municipalities surrounding Memphis are thinking about creating their own municipal schools districts, rather than send their kids to a merged Shelby County Schools, and their concerns about consolidation may not be something the people captaining the merger can overcome, no matter what they do.
One of the main concerns about the merged Shelby County school district is its size. Ramon Cortines has been superintendent of school districts of all sizes, including New York City and Los Angeles—the two largest in the country. And he’s got some advice.