ONLY ON 5: Billy Orgel shares thoughts on school merger delay - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

ONLY ON 5: Billy Orgel shares thoughts on school merger delay

(WMC-TV) - Shelby County School Board Chairman Billy Orgel is joining the conversation about a new effort to delay the Memphis and Shelby County Schools merger.

He said it's a little too late to look back.

"I would hope that we would spend our time as a board talking about the future, and what we can do for our children rather than rehashing an issue about the merger," said Orgel.

Orgel said there's no time to turn back the clock on the Memphis and Shelby County Schools merger.

"The voters voted for it," he said.

But Friday, School Board Commissioner Tomeka Hart sent an e-mail to fellow commissioners. It said that on Monday, she will ask them to put a resolution on the agenda to delay the merger one year in light of bills filed by Collierville Senator Mark Norris last week to allow the Shelby County suburbs to start their own municipal schools.

"There's no teeth in the resolution because you're dealing with state law and a judge's order, and the will of the citizens of the City of Memphis that said we are giving up our charter," said Orgel.

In addition to legal implications, Orgel said reversing the decision would cost extra.

"Our board last week said it's going to take $145 million to adequately fund education. That's the preliminary budget we gave to the Shelby County Commission. I could imagine it being more than that if where we are and run two systems," said Orgel.

He said the board will be compelled to follow the law Monday.

"Our schools are going to open August 5, and for at least this first school year, it's going to be a unified district across Shelby County," said Orgel.

The school board work session discussion is Monday at the Teaching and Learning Academy Auditorium on Union Avenue in Memphis at 5:30 p.m.

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