Parents question leaders' decisions in merger - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents question leaders' decisions in merger

(WMC-TV) - With the start of the next school year only three months away, some parents are questioning the unified school leaders' ability to make decisions.

School Board Chairman Billy Orgel said the board will get the merger done.

"For the parents, I don't think there should be a whole lot of cause for concern about the quality of education for their children," said Orgel.

After a deadlock over critical votes in recent weeks, Orgel said Tuesday's meeting proved tough decisions can be made.

"We made five important, tough decisions that will let the merger move forward," said Orgel.

The Unified School Board debated some big issues Tuesday night, including a proposed delay in the merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools.

They voted to outsource custodians and busing in the Northwest and Southwest areas of the district.

They rejected a proposal to ask a federal judge to delay the school merger.

They also voted there will be no teacher compensation for advanced degrees.

They proposed closing 10 schools, and to delay the superintendent search until they can finalize more plans.

Orgel said the interim administrators are getting the job done.

"We didn't see any reason to upset the apple cart right now. There are a lot of difficult decisions being made, more that are coming," he said.

Orgel said staff cuts are unavoidable since the City of Memphis cut $57 million in school funding.

He said most classroom employees will remain, and others have many opportunities.

"Some will voluntarily move to charter schools, private schools, [or the] Achievement School District. We've given the teachers a lot of choices," said Orgel.

The board also agreed on a name for the school system which is Shelby County Schools.

Orgel said they will try to get answers on the school uniform code and time of day school will start.

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