Shelby County Commission passes residency rules for MCS teachers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County Commission passes residency rules for MCS teachers

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – There are approximately 30 teachers at Whitehaven High School who currently live outside Shelby County.  There are up to 1400 district wide.  All of them are worried about looming residency requirements.

"My choice would be get a job in DeSoto County, to be quite honest, for much less salary," said Whitehaven teacher Brian Davis.

Davis recently bought a house in Southaven after he said he was reassured by district leaders that his residency would be protected when city and county schools merge.

"They all sent me the Tennessee state law that said our rights couldn't be diminished or impaired," Davis added.

However, despite the threat of lawsuits, the Shelby County Commission voted 9 to 4 Monday in favor of residency rules for current Memphis city teachers.

"This ordinance on first reading passes," said commission chairman Mike Ritz.

Teachers hired before September 1, 1986 would be grandfathered in because that's when rules were first adopted for Shelby County teachers.  All others would have five years to comply.

"And we know what's best is that if this system is going be unified," said commissioner Heidi Shafer.  "Then it needs to be one system and unified and not separate rules for different groups."

Affected teachers say they won't lose hope until the third and final vote is taken.

We got a statement from Memphis Education Association president Keith Williams following Monday's decision.

"The MEA supports a "grandfather clause" that would allow current Memphis City Schools teachers and other employees an exemption from current county residency requirements as a condition for employment," said Williams.

Again, the commission will hear this measure two more times before it becomes official.

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