Cash prepares to move school district forward - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Cash prepares to move school district forward

Incoming Memphis city school superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash said Wednesday he is looking to stay at least four to six years to implement his plan to lift Memphis City Schools to a higher level of success.

"It would be a four plus two type of look," he said. "Initially it could vary, but certainly no less than that."

School leaders said state law prohibits a superintendent contract's term from being longer than four years, but Dr. Cash said he is thinking longer than that. He insists he will come up with a 10-15 year plan with research as the basis for goals and solutions.

"I need data first. I need to know who the at risk young people are, where they are, and in what schools...what parts of the community we can tailor a program for them," Cash said.

Cash mentioned five initiatives, in no particular order, that he would like to tackle:

  • Academic standards
  • School safety
  • An efficient structure for the district
  • Motivated staff with career growth and development
  • Community service to parents, businesses, and municipal leaders and the media

"I can translate and boil all of these down into specific targets -specific kinds of evidence based goals, and you'll know as a community whether we're meeting them or not," he said.

School board member Stephanie Gatewood said the beginning of Cash's term will be an important time.

"The first 90 days, as in anything new, it is going to set the precedence," she said. "So at the end of the day that is the most critical time."

A critical time giving school leaders the boost they need for next year.

"Principals are so excited. They actually have hope. Teachers have hope. Students have hope. It's going to be a very exciting day," she said.

But before that, Cash has to sign a contract. The school system is offering a salary of $260,000 a year - a significant jump from former superintendent Carol Johnson's salary of more than $204,000.

Earlier this year, superintendent search firm Ray and Associates conducted a salary study and discovered both Knoxville and Nashville were offering much more money for their respective school districts' top spot. Nashville paid $226,000, while Knoxville paid $240,000.

"In order to remain competitive, we had to offer a salary of $260,000," school board member Martavius Jones said.

That negotiation process is underway.

Dr. Cash was supposed to be in Cincinnati today interviewing for the superintendent job, but this morning he withdrew his name.

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