Gov. Haslam addresses school issues during stop in Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gov. Haslam addresses school issues during stop in Memphis

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam was in Memphis Wednesday to support Shelby County's Books from Birth program. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam was in Memphis Wednesday to support Shelby County's Books from Birth program.

(WMC-TV) - Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam was in Memphis Wednesday to support Shelby County's Books from Birth program.

During his stop, Haslam answered some questions about legislation in Nashville that is impacting the Mid-South.

Haslam said he speaks with the Memphis and Shelby County mayors regularly.  As he keeps a pulse on West Tennessee issues, it seems schools are dominating the discussion.

The state takeover of a half-dozen Memphis schools is at the top of Haslam's list.

"We've identified the bottom five percent performing schools, and we have a specific plan for how we're going to move that," said Haslam.  "We're holding our own achievement school district just as accountable as we're holding everyone else's."

Haslam will meet suburban mayors next week.  He said he hopes that before they form their own school districts, they will give the school merger Transition Planning Commission a chance.

"I think the product is going to be outstanding and I'd love to see them be able to finish that task before we make some final decisions," said Haslam.

Haslam also addressed the recent trend of legislators using state law to supercede local legislation.

"Are there times when it's appropriate?  Sure, but I would tend to lean towards letting local folks decide local issues," he said.

Haslam said his effort to set up an autonomous board to govern the University of Memphis will take some time to sort out.

"We probably won't address it this legislative session," he said.  "I am going to bring those discussions once the legislature is out."

Haslam also commented on efforts by lawmakers to lower the food sales tax.  He said it is up in the air because it is unclear how the state would stay afloat and fund that.  He also said he is working diligently on the delicate balance between full disclosure and protecting financial information of corporations that do business with Tennessee.

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