Parents react to proposed school merger delay - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents react to proposed school merger delay

(WMC-TV) - Parents have mixed reactions about a new proposal to delay the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

"I don't think anybody's ready on either side yet," said Shelby County resident Laura Crook.

"They need to go ahead and do what they need to do," said Memphis resident Marilyn Freeman.  "Procrastination is not good."

Transition Planning Committee member and former Shelby County Schools Board Chairman David Pickler proposed the committee delay the merger by one year to August 2014.

"There's a lot of unanswered questions," said Pickler.

Pickler said the TPC needs more time to refine their education strategy.  One parent said he disagrees.

"Their education is important," said David Freeman.  "They're always going to be kinks no matter what you do, so I think we should just go on and go forward and do it now."

Crook said her family is considering moving.

"I really would like for them to wait until 2014 until my sophomore graduates," said Crook.  "That would be in our best interest."

Since last October, the TPC has been working on a plan to merge the two system's pensions, benefits, and existing tenure rights of teaching and non-teaching employees.  They are also designing the administrative organization and unified school district standards.

Crook said her family is willing to pay higher taxes to form separate suburban school districts.

"I don't mind paying taxes as long as I know my child is going to go to a good school where she's going to get the education that she needs," said Crook.

Freeman said she trusts the TPC will succeed.

"They need to go ahead and go for it," she said.  "And they can just go ahead and work it out once it's all in place."

Some state legislators are open to the idea of a delay.  State Senator Mark Norris told the Commercial Appeal there are no current bills proposing a delay, but active bills could be amended.  Representative Curry Todd said he would likely support a one-year delay.

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