Shelby County School leaders warn of "consequences" - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County School leaders warn of consolidation "consequences"

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David Pickler (center) at Monday's press conference. David Pickler (center) at Monday's press conference.

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County School leaders responded Monday to the possibility of consolidation, and what it would mean if Memphis voters surrender the Memphis City Schools charter.

County school leaders said educating the public on this issue "begins today,"  and distributed a handout during a press conference that asked, "is bigger better or does it just cost more?"

Like the handout, most of the comments made during the news conference Monday focused on so-called "consequences" of a school system merger.  (Click here to read the document)

"On December 20, 2010, the city school board voted to surrender their charter," said Shelby County Schools board chairman David Pickler at the press conference.

He and others would like the Memphis City Schools board to reverse its vote.

"I certainly know their board president Freda Williams would be more than happy to call a school board meeting if they'd like to consider taking other action," said Pickler.

County schools are attempting educate the public on potential consolidation consequences.

Among the things cited on their list are numerous school closings massive lay-offs of current city school personnel and a potential loss of millions in funding.

Pickler also pointed to the fact that schools in the city would initially be managed by an all white board made up of surbanites.

"I mean, it's just like then major companies merge," said MCS Commissioner Stephanie Gatewood.  "Sure, there's gonna be concerns."

City board member Stephanie Gatewood was among those voting to surrender the charter two weeks ago and told us scare tactics would not prompt her reconsideration.

"I absolutely think the voters deserve every opportunity to vote on this issue," said Gatewood.

Despite their continued pursuit of a remedy, county school leaders pledged to carry out the will of the people.  That's even if things don't go their way.

"We will move forward with effectiveness and efficiency," said Pickler.  "But it will come with a cost."

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