School board discusses unified superintendent selection process

(WMC-TV) - A tug-of-war has begun over selecting a superintendent for the merged Memphis and Shelby County School system. With that, the school board is establishing a plan of action to keep the process fair.

On Tuesday night, the school board established preliminary rules for the selection of the unified superintendent. But many questions are still up in the air.

As a Unified School Board Commissioner and father of three Memphis City Schools students, Chris Caldwell says every citizens of Shelby County should have an eye on the school merger.

Tuesday night, the school board took steps to quell tensions over who will be the next superintendent of the merged school system.

"Defined what criteria is needed to qualify as superintendent, and also addressed if you were going to extend a contract or if you were going to appoint someone," said Caldwell.

The board voted to follow state code to define the superintendent's qualifications.

They also voted if they select a new superintendent, it will take a two-thirds vote.

It would take just a majority vote if they extend the current contract of either the Memphis or Shelby County superintendent.

State law says school boards are responsible for selecting superintendents in Tennessee, but the current board has yet to decide if they will choose a superintendent now or after the voters elect new school board members on August 2.

"You will have people that have been elected as well as people who have been appointed by the County Commission," said Caldwell.

Some expect many of the same commissioners will stay on.

Meanwhile, Caldwell says the board wants public input.

"The community needs to feel they were included and they are aware of what we're doing as a board," he explained.

Many board members have expressed that they hope the superintendent is chosen after the August 2 election to make sure everyone feels the process is fair.

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