Schools Payroll Systems to Remain Separate

By Bill Dries

A week after announcing a change in when Shelby County Schools teachers get paid in the schools merger that begins July 1, interim schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson changed course. The change keeps teachers from the two systems on different pay schedules for the first year of the merger.

The decision Monday, June 17, means the different pay schedules for the two school systems will be reconciled at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

“At that time, all employees will be placed on a 26-week pay period schedule,” Hopson wrote in a letter to employees Monday. “This remedy is only available to and necessary for legacy SCS teachers and legacy SCS 10-month salaried employees. These are the only employees who would have missed an entire paycheck due to the harmonization process.”

Monday’s letter reverses an earlier decision to bring legacy Shelby County Schools employees, including teachers, into the Memphis City Schools system. That change would have meant the legacy Shelby County Schools employees would have missed a paycheck at the start of the school year.

The earlier change prompted criticism from some countywide school board members as well as Shelby County Commissioners.

The criticism reflected the still deep divisions between those in the two legacy school systems that formally become one system in two weeks.


Countywide school board member David Reaves called it “unacceptable” last week as he alerted other school board members.

“We cut the hell out of the suburban schools and excess teachers and then turn around and tell them that they will skip an entire paycheck,” Reaves wrote in a June 13 email. “I have never seen a merger where the acquiring company forfeited so much of its administrative structure to the acquired company.”

The delay of the payroll harmonization to the second year of the merger also means the change would take effect in the school year when the six suburban towns and cities in Shelby County plan on opening their own separate municipal school districts.

Voters in each of the six towns and cities vote July 16 on forming their own school districts. School board elections would follow in November in those towns and cities that approve the July ballot question.