Deal expected on schools merger - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Deal expected on schools merger

(WMC-TV) - The final vote in the historic Memphis and Shelby County schools merger settlement is expected to be finished this evening at Memphis City Hall. Council members say the settlement isn't perfect, but it is fair enough for all sides to agree on it.

They expect swift passage tonight so the transition can move into full swing.

The final decision in the Memphis and Shelby school merger fell into the lap of the Memphis City Council.

"The council is the last legislative body to approve the settlement," said Councilman Jim Strickland.

The Memphis and Shelby School Boards, as well as the Shelby County Commission already approved the settlement. After council approval, the schools officially merge October 1.

"I think the city's interests are well represented in the four corners of the settlement agreement," said Councilman Shea Flinn.

A temporary 23-member countywide school board will oversee the school merger transition until the August 2012 election.

Strickland supports the settlement, but says it's not ideal for 16 current city and county school board members to fill the interim seats.

"I think there's a feeling in the city and out in the suburbs that we need to start fresh," he said. "We need to have all new school board members and this doesn't do that."

But Flinn says everyone wins because the fighting is over.

"Ultimately, the fact that we got all the sides to sign off on it and give us a final way forward was the best possible outcome we could get out of there," he said.

Passage of the settlement clears the way for the county commission to interview interim countywide school board commissioners Wednesday. Today was the deadline for candidates to apply.

The commission will announce their appointments a week from tomorrow.

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