Memphis mayor wants to take over MCS - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Memphis mayor wants to take over MCS

The Memphis mayor says he wants to take over Memphis City Schools. But it appears it won't happen without a fight.

Some school board members are hot under the collar about the mayor's plan.

School Board Commissioner Kenneth Whalum says it's about political protocol. He drafted a resolution on the mayoral takeover because he says they've all been kept out of the loop.

"We've all been elected by the same people," said Whalum.

Whalum says the board deserved a courtesy call about the upcoming meeting between the Memphis and Shelby County mayors and Governor Phil Bredesen.

Thursday, the three are slated to discuss a mayoral takeover of the schools. "We might be fully in favor of a mayor takeover. We might be vehemently opposed to it, but I think it smacks of professional disrespect on the highest level for the talks to be all around us and nobody deal with us man to man. Come one, man-up," added Whalum.

Monday, the school board passed a resolution authorizing board President Tomeka Hart to meet with both mayors and the governor, and then to compose the school board's position on a mayoral takeover.

Whalum says the issue needs full analysis, but he has some preliminary opinions. "There's nothing about the way the city is operating right now that would make just feel good all over to know that the city's going to operate the schools for me."

And he wouldn't welcome city schools taking on county school debt, "There might be some underlying things we don't know about. But, what we know right now is 15 million dollar deficit which indicates some waste somewhere," Whalum added.

Tomeka Hart is expected to complete her position statement this month.

This is Whalum's first resolution to get unanimous approval. If anything, it has become a unifying force for the board.

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