Expert offers insight into charter surrender repercussions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Expert offers insight into charter surrender repercussions

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - As the date of the referendum to decide whether or not Memphis City Schools should surrender its charter draws closer, many say they can't decide if an MCS merger with Shelby County Schools would be good or bad.

With opinions confusing Memphis voters on the repercussions of the possible charter surrender, University of Memphis Law professor Daniel Kiel, an objective expert on the situation, offered insight.

Many voters are unclear how students would be effected if city and county schools merge.

"The funding would change and the governance would change, but the student experience would not necessarily change," Kiel said.

According to Kiel, the makeup of each school would stay the same.

"It's not going to impact parents, and it's not going to really impact the quality of teacher in the system, and it's not going to impact the peers the students are learning with and those three things are probably more predictive of how students will turn out than the governance or funding structure that we're talking about," he said.

Kiel said students' homework will be due the day after the referendum, their teachers will be the same, and the 150,000 student countywide school system would have a board that looks much like the Shelby County Commission.

"It would be a majority representation from within the city of Memphis," he said.

Kiel said if the referendum passes, Memphis property owners would pay property tax for one county school system instead of both city and county schools.

"All citizens of Shelby County, Memphian and non-Memphians, would pay a tax to the Shelby County government that would go to the merged school system," he said.

Kiel believes lawsuits to determine how the transition is executed will likely follow the vote, if the referendum passes.  But if the referendum does not pass, Kiel said, the schools will look like they do today.

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