(WMC-TV) - Skeptics, historians, and citizens alike thought a unified school district in Shelby County would never happen. Now, history is beginning early Monday morning.
Shelby County Schools Deputy Superintendent David Stephens comes from a long line of educators. When asked his expectations for Monday, his answer was clear.
"I think most of our children and our parents are going to see that everything is business as usual," stated Stephens.
Stephens explains making it to Monday's opening bell has been a logistical nightmare on the administrative side of this massive merger.
"Everything has changed for everybody. I mean, it wasn't that we said 'oh, we're going to do this just like Shelby or just like Memphis'. There were times we did that...then we would say here's a better way to do it; so, everybody has a new learning curve," continued Stephens.
Stephens also stated the goal was to save as many teaching jobs as possible. However, preparations were sidelined by lawsuits and an effort to create municipal school districts.
"If we would have gone with the legacy Memphis City Schools staffing ratio, it would have been drastic cuts to the legacy county. We just felt that it was going to really impact programs courses and we just didn't want to be as school system that just offered, you know, reading, writing, and arithmetic," said Stephens.
More than 150 excessed teachers spent the summer wondering if they would have a classroom to go to. Less than half were rehired. And some were laid off as recently as Friday.
However, Stephens expects the 'glitches' to happen Monday not in the classroom; but, rather at the bus stops. Routes have been changed after students got their notice at registration.
"The main thing is ... we want to make sure that our kids have what they need, (our) teachers are in place, and they have what they need. We're here to support the schools," finished Stephens.