City and County Superintendents discuss consolidation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City and County Superintendents discuss consolidation

By Ben Watson - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken and Memphis School Superintendent Doctor Kriner Cash stopped by the Action News 5 studio Tuesday morning to discuss the Memphis City Schools charter surrender fight and other topics.

Speaking candidly, Aitken and Cash discussed what going to work has been like since their school systems became intertwined in the consolidation issue.

"We're in the middle of a storm, obviously, and we had to do our daily job along with this, dealing with this contentious issue," Aitken said.

Both superintendents said combining city and county school would be a huge challenge.

"It's the most important decision in the last 150 years, and I definitely don't think that we have educated voters enough about the impact of that decision," Cash said.
Cash said consolidation is something that probably should have happened a long time ago, but right now the focus should be more of a community-wide conversation on the issue instead of a quick March 8 vote.

"Now we have an opportunity to have the conversation, figure out if we can do it, and make sure that everybody gets it right," he said. "But you got to get it right. It can't be a forced kind of thing."

The superintendents said consolidation issues voters need to think about range from increase transportation to textbook cost.

"This consolidation possibility is unique, and it's never been a case of a small district half the size has to take over and merge with a district twice its size," Aitken said.

"I really think it's a two to three year conversation in getting the education pieces right let alone the operation," Cash added.

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