School merger judge ready to consider 'special master' candidate - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

School merger judge ready to consider 'special master' candidates

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(WMC-TV) - The judge overseeing the school merger says he is ready to talk with candidates for the "special master" position. And he wants to do so sooner rather than later.

The federal court proceedings took place during a conference call.

It appears a judge presiding over the legal challenge to a Unified School District is stepping in because the process of getting the district ready for the first day of school is moving much too slowly.

Six months before the opening of a unified district, school board members are inching through 172 recommendations, hitting a roadblock at almost every turn.

Teachers are fighting a proposed 7 percent cut in their benefits.

But balancing a budget with an $80 million to $90 million deficit means someone is going to get hurt.

"These are folks that I know you don't want to hurt these people, but at the end of the day you gotta make some decision if you don't cut here, you've gotta cut somewhere else," said interim Memphis City School Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.

Constant delays are frustrating board members as the clocks ticks to opening day.

The federal judge overseeing the merger as a result of a legal challenge has run out of patience.

Judge Hardy Mays is considering appointing a special master to push the board to move more quickly in their decision making.

During a Friday conference call, the judge requested clearance to speak to candidates recommended by legal parties in the ongoing lawsuit.

It is clear someone needs to step in as reality begins to set in.

Judge Hardy Mayes has said that delaying the opening of the new district is not an option, but he is concerned about the board's slow place in deliberating the items recommended by a Transition Planning Committee rather than finding a way to just go ahead and implement them.

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