Suburbs consider superintendent options

(WMC-TV) - Six days after electing to break from the Shelby County school system in landslide fashion, some suburbs are discussing the possibility of sharing a superintendent.

Bartlett has a population of about 60,000 people. The estimated enrollment for its municipal school district is about 9,000.

"It would be just about the largest municipal system around," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

Mayor Keith McDonald says Bartlett likely does not intend to share a person in charge with any of the other newly elected municipal districts.

"I would expect us to have a superintendent of our own. You know, our people have made it really clear that they want local control," he said.

Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman says community leaders there are discussing the possibility of hiring one school superintendent to head up both Arlington and Lakeland schools.

He says Collierville may explore the option, but has not committed to a timeshare superintendent. Germantown leans the same way as Bartlett and Millington.

"If you want local control the only way to have complete local control is to have your own superintendent," said Millington Mayor Terry Jones.

Millington will have an estimated enrollment of about 1,500 students. While the district will be smaller than Bartlett's district, Mayor Jones says those students still need leadership focused on them, rather than other children in other parts of the county.

"That may pose problems too, with one superintendent having to answer to more than one school board," said Jones. "If they have to make a decision for one school board, you know, what if it's not good for the other school board, you know. What do we do then?"

The size of Lakeland's system may force it to share. And Arlington may be the only option based on the others' early plans for superintendents.

"We would want them focused on making the Bartlett school system the best that it can be. We want all the systems to be real good, but we have a responsibility to make this the best we can," added Mayor McDonald.

School board elections are scheduled for early November. Only after that can the municipal districts select a superintendent.

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