Herenton says organized school plan mirrors old ideas - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Herenton says organized school plan mirrors old ideas

(WMC-TV) - Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said the new plan on how to run a consolidated school district is full of old ideas.

The 20-plus member transition planning committee approved a blueprint Thursday for how a consolidated school district should be managed.  It took months and help from a high-priced consulting firm.

"It's nothing new to me," said Herenton.

Herenton, a longtime superintendent, said the plan appeared to be full of old ideas.

"It seems to me they're reinventing what was on the table many years ago that no one wanted to implement," he said.

The committee recommended the new consolidated district be divided into six regions and greater control given to individual schools.

A study done years ago by then Mayor Herenton at the request of Councilwoman Wanda Halbert is surprisingly familiar.  It cited the need for a "decentralized organization" and more "local school decision making."

"They've spent some resources, financial and time, and all they had to do was go back and look at documents and update them," said Herenton.  "That's all they need to do."

Herenton said he did not want to second guess members of the transition planning committee, whom he called well-intentioned.  He said he hopes there is one constant as the school consolidation process progresses.

"Let the educational needs of youngsters in the school system drive decision making," said Herenton.

One member of the committee pointed out their plan was not necessarily supposed to be ground-breaking, just effective.  It also shares similarities with other school districts, including New Orleans.

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