MEA president questions MCS plan to spend nearly $1 million - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MEA president questions MCS plan to spend nearly $1 million

(WMC-TV) - Memphis City Schools plans to spend nearly $1 million to hire 23 business managers before the pending Memphis City-Shelby County schools merger.

Memphis City Schools officials said principals are overloaded with work and they need help, but an idea being tossed around to bring them relief is being met with criticism.

Memphis Education Association union president Keith Williams said he was outraged by a report in Friday's Commercial Appeal.

"Where will that money come from and from whose pot will that come?" asked Williams.

An article outlined a plan being discussed by MCS administrators to spend almost $1 million to hire 23 business managers to lighten the workload for school principals.

"Are we creating another bureaucracy, a level of principals or administrators, or are we actually doing some things that will impact student achievement?" said Williams.

Williams said he attended district meetings during which the concept was discussed.

"That was just an announcement," he said.  "It was never announced to us where this would be funded, when it would happen, and certainly not a pilot from a part of money that is intended to pay teachers and administrators," said Williams.

Williams said what concerns him most is the possibility of using funds intended to improve student achievement outside the classroom.

The Commercial Appeal reported that money would come from Race to the Top fund.  The district would not confirm that by Friday afternoon.

"I'm absolutely flabbergasted that we would take funds from that process because I do not see a correlation nor benefit in hiring a business manager and student achievement," said Williams.

No one from the district would appear on camera Friday, but the district issued a statement late Friday.

Union leaders said even the discussion of such a pilot program is cause for concern.

"To pilot something during the last two months of school may not be the best time to pilot anyway," said Williams.

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