Supt. Aitken expected to ask for contract buyout - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Supt. Aitken expected to ask for contract buyout

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Supt. John Aitken Supt. John Aitken
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Word is getting out that Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken wants out.

In January, Memphis City Schools superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash resigned leaving Dorsey Hopson to fill his seat, for now.

That leaves John Aitken as the only contracted superintendent to carry out the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools. Now, Aitken is thinking about calling it quits before his contract expires in 2015.

At next week's Unified School Board meeting, Aitken is expected to ask the board to buy him out of that contract.

School board commissioner Kenneth Whalum, Jr. has consistently opposed the board's decision to hire a search firm to find the next superintendent.

"It makes absolutely no sense to spend $25,000 to do a national search when you have a superintendent here, he's here, he's here," said Whalum.

And it is possible Aitken does not think he is in the running.

"Why on earth would this man, who has demonstrated an aplomb for administrating the schools, why would he hang around?" wondered Whalum.

Whalum is not certain of Aitken's reason for considering an early departure and he trusts him to complete any unfinished business. But he is convinced losing him will make the already massive task of merging Memphis and Shelby County Schools even more difficult.

"Even if we should select a new superintendent, now is not the time to do it," explained Whalum. "Why are the 23 of us choosing a superintendent for a school system that 17 of us or 16 of us aren't even going to be around for?"

Aitken was out of the office Friday and unavailable for comment.

Board members are expecting a discussion of Aitken's buyout to come up at a special called meeting on Tuesday.

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