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VOL. 129 | NO. 110 | Friday, June 6, 2014

School Board Sets Hopson Contract Extension Vote

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Schools board members are scheduled to vote on a contract extension for schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson at a special board meeting June 23.

HOPSON

Notice of the meeting comes about a week after school board chairman Kevin Woods authorized the school system’s attorney, Valerie Speakman, to begin contract negotiations with Hopson and his representative on the extension.

The school board will meet in special session June 23 immediately after a 4 p.m. public hearing on the contract extension.

The meeting notice comes with no details of tentative terms, but Tennessee law allows school boards to extend contracts or agree to new contracts for up to four years.

Hopson became interim superintendent of the about-to-merge local public school system in March 2013 following first the January contract buyout and resignation of Memphis City Schools superintendent Kriner Cash and then the March contract buyout and resignation of Shelby County Schools superintendent John Aitken.

In September, Hopson and the school board agreed on a three-year contract to Sept. 2, 2016, at a base pay of $269,000 a year.

June 23 is the last day the school board can act on a contract extension in advance of the Aug. 7 school board elections. Tennessee law says school boards can renew or approve new contracts for superintendents up to 45 days before school board elections or 30 days after school board elections.

With the August elections, the schools board goes from a seven-member structure with districts covering all of Shelby County to nine districts that cover the city of Memphis and the unincorporated county, but not the six suburban towns and cities within Shelby County.

The suburban towns and cities have each formed municipal school districts with elected school boards for each district.

Two of the nine Shelby County Schools board seats, those held by chairman Kevin Woods and board member Teresa Jones are not up for election this year. There will be at least four new board members on the new board. Three incumbent board members are seeking re-election.

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