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VOL. 126 | NO. 21 | Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Haslam: Schools Transition Plan Must Be in Place by Feb. 15

By Bill Dries

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam weighed in on the local schools standoff Tuesday morning by saying both of Shelby County’s public school system leaders have to have a transition plan that covers teachers by Feb. 15.

The plan must be approved by acting state education commissioner Patrick Smith, Haslam said, emphasizing that he is not calling for the scheduled March 8 referendum to be called off. Early voting in advance of the referendum election day begins Feb. 16.

Haslam’s letter to Memphis City Schools superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash and Shelby County Schools superintendent John Aitken also requests a second plan from them – “a more comprehensive transition plan … outlining other important issues that must be addressed to ensure this transition will be accomplished without negative consequences.”

During a morning press conference in Nashville, Haslam said he had talked with Shelby County legislators as well as Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

“The state recognizes this as a local issue, but also the necessity to better understand the processes that have been put in motion,” Haslam said in a prepared statement.

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