(Memphis) Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville talks about the historic day merging Memphis and Shelby County Schools and students.
“I’m very hopeful for the new unified system. Yes, it can (work) because it has to. The imperative is that important. Will it run into difficulty? Absolutely, if you look around the state and across the nation, everybody runs into difficulties,” Norris said.
It’s been a difficult transition with the state getting involved in what many believe is a local issue.
“I’m glad that we were able at the General Assembly to sort of provide a road map for that transition.”
Norris is at the center of legislation letting the suburbs vote in referendums to decide if they want to form their own municipal school districts.
He admits he’s taken a few verbal jabs, but makes no apologies.
“I got beaten up, but that comes with the turf. It’s not a question whether it was fair or not. What people have got to understand the State of Tennessee is responsible for the education of Tennesseans.”
Norris says suburban voters have a right to have a say in their children’s education.
“And for those folks it’s a questions of neighborhood schools and parental choice and far be it from me to deny them that opportunity.”
As for the future of the Shelby County School District and the possibility of municipal schools, Norris believes we’ll know more in about a year.
“But at the end of the day, we have to continue our focus on what’s in the best interest of the children and not adults.”