School board at odds over meeting with Mayor Herenton - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

School board at odds over meeting with Mayor Herenton

School Board Commissioner Kenneth Whalum, Junior demanded Monday that the board meet with Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton about the mayor's interest in becoming Memphis City Schools superintendent.

"I think we owe it to the mayor to have a meeting," Whalum said. "What is the deal about meeting with the man to hear what he has to say?"

Earlier Monday, according to Whalum, he had a heated email exchange with School Board Commissioner Martavius Jones.

Whalum said three other board members felt they owed Herenton a meeting, but Jones argued back saying it "undermines the integrity of the process."

"To alter the process that we have agreed upon, that has to be done by five people.  Not by two, not by three and not by an individual," Jones said.

The school board has already paid $36,000 for a search firm to find a new superintendent.

"Commissioner Whalum has been very vocal in his support in mayor Herenton, and I think the public needs to know there have not been any type of backroom deals," Jones said.

Whalum sent another email calling Jones' advice "unsolicited." Whalum said he firmly rejects it.

"I promise there is going to be a public meeting with school board representatives and Mayor Herenton," he said.

Some speculate Whalum is supporting the mayor's bid to become superintendent because Whalum himself intends to run for Mayor.

Monday, Whalum seemed a bit shocked by the speculation, but answered it.

"No.  I don't want to run for mayor," he said. "No. I want to finish my term on the school board and represent 84,000 voters."

Jones suggested Whalum submit the meeting request in resolution from.

Whalum said he may or may not.


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