Norris, Todd Eye Delay in Memphis-Shelby School Consolidation

Authors of the state law that helped set the process of merging Memphis and Shelby County schools expressed support Friday for a proposed one-year delay in the consolidation, reports the Commercial Appeal.
During two Transition Planning Commission committee meetings Thursday, TPC member David Pickler argued that a productive conversation could be held if the merger and implementation of new municipal school districts were delayed from the fall of 2013 to the fall of 2014.
State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville, primary author of the “Norris-Todd” law dealing with the school merger, said Friday he doesn’t believe current law allows a one-year delay and he hasn’t been asked yet to sponsor legislation for a delay. But he said there are several education bills pending that could be amended to allow a delay of both the merger and lifting the ban on new school districts.
State Rep. Curry Todd, the Collierville Republican who co-sponsored the “Norris-Todd” act, said he would likely support a one-year delay.
“I think it’s a good idea, so we don’t rush through this and that whatever is done is done in a very smooth and effective manner,” Todd said. “I know the municipalities are interested in having their own school districts, and pushing everything back a year gives them time to find out what’s needed and what’s best for the school children and parents in the county and in the municipalities.”

…But Memphis Mayor A C Wharton took a less favorable view.
“I’ll keep an open mind, but based on what I’ve heard, and what I know so far, we would oppose that,” Wharton said, citing last summer’s consent order signed by U.S. Dist. Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays, which prescribed the consolidation process and lifted the city’s obligation to provide supplemental funding to Memphis City Schools beyond 2013.

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