VOL. 126 | NO. 48 | Thursday, March 10, 2011
County Commission Serves Notice On Countywide School Board
By Bill Dries
There were signs Wednesday that the second track to schools consolidation is alive and well.
Shelby County commissioners sent out letters late Wednesday to all Shelby County and Memphis City Schools board members notifying them the commission will make appointments to a new 25 member countywide school board by the end of the month.
The commission’s action is the tip of the spear that is a disputed second and more immediate way to merge the county’s two public school systems. The Shelby County school system amended its federal lawsuit on the consolidation move in general to include opposition to the commission’s construction of the new school board.
County school board chairman David Pickler and MCS attorney Dorsey Hopson reiterated again Wednesday that they believe both school boards with their current members remain intact up to the Aug. 2013 transition date in the recently enacted state law on schools mergers.
The letters from Mike Carpenter, chairman of the commission’s general government committee, notifies county school board members that their seats are up for appointment to the new 25 member countywide board.
“There is no intent to cut such terms short,” Carpenter wrote. “To avoid any arguments to the contrary, the County Commission desires to make an effort to keep the seven Shelby County School Board members in tact by asking each … to follow the established appointment process.” In other words, fill out an application and be interviewed by the County Commission later this month as it pursues the second track to schools consolidation.
MCS board members don’t get the letter that says no one is trying to short their terms. They get a notice of the pending process and an enclosed application to fill out along with a time to come for interviews.
The 25 districts were drawn by the commission so that no incumbent on either board is in the same district as another incumbent.
Over 120 citizens had completed applications or pulled applications by election day. None of the current county school board members have been part of either group.
The deadline for applications is March 22 with interviews set for March 23 and a county commission vote on the appointments scheduled for March 28.
County commission chairman Sidney Chism has said he believes the three county board members serving terms through Aug. 2012 should be appointed to the new board, but not those elected just last year to new four year terms that run through Aug. 2014.
Ultimately, the appointments depend on who can get seven votes on the 13 member commission.