School Board May Delay Superintendent Search

By Bill Dries

The search for a superintendent to lead Shelby County’s consolidated school system could be put on hold by the countywide school board Tuesday evening.

And Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said Tuesday he agrees with a proposed year-long delay in the merger if it is to take into account the impact of suburban school districts.

The two developments were the latest in a day of action on several fronts in the schools merger effort.

Search consultants with PROACT Search will reportedly recommend the delay in choosing and hiring a superintendent until the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

The consulting firm presents Tuesday a report on public hearings it has held in Shelby County as part of a search process that never had a firm date for when a permanent superintendent would be selected.

The report reads: “There are several pressing issues making this superintendent search very unique.”

Those factors include the merger as well as municipal school districts, the appointment of a special master in the federal court case involving the merger, and “lingering effects of political and social changes, and the very recent turnover of the respective superintendents for both districts.”

A delay would mean a longer stay in the superintendent’s position for Dorsey Hopson, the former general counsel of Memphis City Schools, who has said he has no interest in the superintendent’s job and is only serving on an interim basis.

Meanwhile, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said Tuesday a one-year delay is “something to be considered” in the merger of Shelby County’s two public schools systems.

He made the comment responding to a question at the Memphis Rotary Club meeting at the University Club.

“I think if it could be accomplished, it would be good for the obvious reason that this time next year we may be looking at municipal schools,” Luttrell said. “We’re going to have to make some significant financial realignments.”

The school board is to consider a resolution Tuesday evening asking U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays to delay the schools merger for a year.