School Board showdown on bus routes and block schedules

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - As teachers sounded off about their schedules Monday night, parents came to protest the district's new bus routes.

Dozens of parents and teachers packed the auditorium at the Memphis City Schools Board meeting to speak their minds about bus cuts and block schedules. But before they could, Dr. Kriner Cash spoke his, in his State of the District.

Cash couldn't ignore the fact it was not what most people came to hear.

"We often talk about the ABC's of public education," Cash said. "What the community often gets caught up in are the B's. Budget, bricks, buses, and block schedules."

Then, passionate parents took the podium to tell Dr. Cash about the state of their streets.

"When you take them off the bus they are mixed in with the drug dealers, gang members, and prostitutes," a parent said.

"It's not safe," another parent said.

Next up, teachers. They wanted to give school board members a lesson on schedules.

"There's a saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it," a teacher from White Station High School said.

The new block schedule stretches class time from 55 minutes to 90 minutes and gives teachers seven classes instead of six. Many teachers say Cash's block schedule takes away their daily preparation period, when they plan lessons and grad papers.

"On days when we have no planing period, how are we supposed to get all of these things done," a teacher asked.

A high school senior concerned about her teachers' loss of prep time ended up getting the loudest cheers of the night.

"While, I feel sympathetic to my teachers, what am I supposed to tell my college? Dear College, I'm sorry I have no recommendations, my teachers are being overworked," the high school senior said to loud roars.

Since neither issue was on the agenda, school board members did not make any decisions on either matter.

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