Transition Planning Commission looking at two unified school plans

(WMC-TV) - The Transition Planning Commission is now pursuing two different plans as they move toward a unified Memphis and Shelby County Schools district.

Both plans have similarities, including six regions made up of about 25,000 students each.

"Which really answers that concern of having a huge, big, large system," said Barbara Prescott with the Transition Planning Commission.

Both plans also call for a certain amount of autonomy for school principals, but that is where the differences come in.

While one plan calls for a more centralized governance agreement, the second plan seems more focused on the wants of suburban residents.

"One of the options is called the path to autonomy, and it does allow schools or groups of schools that would allow municipalities to form charters or charter management organizations, have their own board of directors," said Prescott.  "That would certainly provide autonomy for them."

Martavious Jones, a member of the Unified School Board, said he favors the plan with a centralized governing body, but added that education is really what matters most.

"We seem to be focusing a lot on this governance structures, as opposed to taking a look at the educational services," said Jones.  "Which to me, regardless of what type of structure that you have, you have to have strong and sound educational services in order to deliver to the children."

Whichever plan the Transition Planning Commission decides on will still have to be approved by the Unified School Board and the Tennessee Department of Education.

The Transition Planning Commission will meet again next Thursday.

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