Federal Judge Considering Candidates to Oversee School Merger

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(Memphis) A federal judge is considering four names submitted to him by Shelby County and the city of Memphis to be special master of the unified school merger.

The county submitted Christine Richards, George Brown.  Richards is an executive vice president and counsel at FedEx and was on the Transition planning commission.

Brown is a former circuit court judge and was on the school board for thirteen years.

The city of Memphis also thinks Richards is a good choice, but also submitted Barbara Prescott and Stayley Cates.

Prescott is a former school board member and education consultant and Cates runs a large mutual fund.

Richards, Prescott and Cates were all members of the transition planning commissions and came up with the plan of action to recommend how the school district will work.

The judge says he wants to interview all the candidates.

The unified board is in the process of implementing that plan right now, and parents say they may need a special master to hurry them along.

“Nobody is really thinking about what`s best for the children, and what`s going to be best for the city.  Everyone has their own agenda,” said Mary Curtis.

The suburbs did not submit any names for consideration, but says they support the idea of a special master.

The unified Shelby county school board is not taking a position on if they want that federal judge to appoint the special master.

The lack of a special master isn`t stopping them from working.

Thursday night the board voted to outsource custodial services and reduce certain benefits for all employees so they can save around $15 million.

The move to outsource over 700 custodial jobs will save the district over $11 Million.

The federal judge could pick a special master that hasn’t been submitted to him as a candidate or no one at all.

At this point there is no idea of how long it may take him to pick someone.

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