MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Former Memphis mayor and MCS superintendent Willie Herenton has felt the same way about school consolidation for a long time.
"We should have done this 20 years ago," said former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton. "We need to have one school system," he added.
Herenton sat down with Action News 5 Tuesday night and said he would have voted the same way a majority of MCS board members did when they decided to surrender the district's charter.
"I would have voted precisely the way they voted; would have been in the majority vote to surrender the charter," Herenton said.
Herenton predicted a majority of Memphis voters will do the same come election day.
"It will pass," said Herenton. "I predict it will."
Herenton planned to submit a framework this week to the Shelby County Commission which lays out how he believes a consolidated school system should function.
"You know it's a maze of complexities," said Herenton. "But the job can be done."
The "Herenton Plan" includes single source funding and a combined system with nine elected board members. They would oversee five administrative districts.
"I probably know more about this than anybody," said Herenton.
In fact, Herenton devised his plan back in 2003 when he pushed for consolidation of schools as Mayor of Memphis.
"I live in this community," said Herenton. "I have grandchildren that are part of this public school system. I care about it."
Herenton said he hopes personal opinions about him would not prevent what he called progress.
"We need to get this done," he said.
Herenton said he intends to actively campaign for reform. That includes speaking out on a new radio show set to debut later this month.
In the video player at the top of this page, watch a press conference held Tuesday by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell on the subject of school consolidation.