What is next for MCS Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash?

Dr. Kriner Cash
Dr. Kriner Cash
John Aitken
John Aitken

(WMC-TV) - Memphis and Shelby County witnessed a dynamic vote late Tuesday night, as the school board voted the city superintendent out and effectively made the county superintendent the official heir to the merged school system.

The outlook on what comes next is very different for both men.

Memphis superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash is back to work Wednesday, but after one swift vote, he will be leaving Memphis and it could be before his contract expires next August.

Meanwhile, Shelby County Superintendent John Aitken is bracing to take on 120,000 additional students.

But does he have what it takes?

Shelby County school board commissioner Mike Wissman made the motion that defined school merger history Tuesday night.

Fourteen out of 22 present commissioners voted not to renew Memphis Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash's contract.

"I think we should get the very best person. Personally, I think that would be me. But I won't get a chance to probably be in that process," said Dr. Kriner Cash.

After the meeting, Dr. Cash said the unilateral vote, 14 months before the merger, contradicts the idea of a "process," which should have included the community.

"I always wanted it to be in public. Didn't want it to be in secret. Didn't want it to be behind closed doors," said Dr. Cash.

He said he will discuss his next move with his attorney Wednesday.

"Now, I will make the decision I have to make for the interest of my career, and my future, but making sure the district is in good shape," he said.

Action News 5 obtained a letter Cash's attorney sent to the school board.  It reads in part, "If there is any action taken regarding Dr. Cash, it will raise additional concerns regarding the treatment of Dr. Cash by the board and he will be forced to review his options going forward."

The mood was very different for Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken.

A motion to not renew his contract failed.

Still, Aitken is not being presumptuous he's a shoo-in to become superintendent of the merged system.

"We're not there yet. I'm feel like I'm there, but I know we have to go through a lot of processes before we get there," said John Aitken.

He answered the lingering question: Is he equipped to serve the needs of a largely urban district?

"I'm emphatically going to say, 'Yes.' I was raised in Arkansas. I grew up in this town," Aitken said.

He said part of leadership is surrounding yourself with the right people.

Aitken also made it clear he wants to remain superintendent.

"I'm invested here. My kids grew up here," he said.

A resolution to turn the reins over to Superintendent Aitken also passed last night.

Meanwhile, Aitken will officially become the superintendent of the merged system next August, unless the board launches a national search.

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