City and county school officials try to explain what's next - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City and county school officials try to explain what's next in debate

Posted: Updated:

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - School officials tried to explain how two school districts may become one in Wednesday night's Memphis City Schools charter surrender debate.

Shelby County School Board President David Pickler and Memphis School Board Commissioner Tomeka Hart debated the impact of a Memphis City Schools charter surrender.

Pickler said the city school board is not thinking about its own children.

"The decision was made by the city school board to give up their charter without any understanding of the consequences," said Pickler.

Hart said a surrender was the only choice to prevent Shelby County from creating a special school district.

"Wouldn't have been rushing if Mr. Pickler had just taken special school district off the table," said Hart.

Audience members came to hear the arguments as they look for clarity in the debate.

"After hearing this, I don't know," said attendee Jerry Benya.  "I'm more confused now."

Many were surprised to hear that school leaders on both sides did not have all the answers.  Others were shocked to learn that should a charter surrender pass, city and county leaders have not been working together on a transition plan.

"Tomeka Hart all but admitted that there is not a plan," said President of MEA Keith Williams.  "That we are depending on the goodwill of Shelby County Schools to handle this problem."

Some said surrender may be the only way to end the political divide between the city and county school districts.

"There's no compassion for the kids, no sincerity and honesty," said attendee William Love.  "So I think I'll be voting for the surrender."

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow