Answers Hard To Come By On School Takeovers

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(Memphis) Big changes are coming to more than a dozen low performing schools in Shelby County.

Five will stay in the district and move into its "Innovation Zone" reform program.

But for eight other schools, the state will take over, then basically fire everyone who works there and make them reapply to get their job back.

The Achievement School District will take charge from Shelby County Schools next school year.

The ASD says students can expect longer hours and more homework, but not everyone was so fast to talk about the changes.

Shelby County School Superintendent Dorsey Hopson was whisked away from cameras today just hours after learning control of eight county schools was being whisked away by the state.

At the time, the district claimed it couldn't talk.

“That's not our rules, that's theirs,” said SCS Communications Chief Emily Yellin.

‘Theirs" refers to The New Memphis Institute, a group focused on local education which put together this luncheon with Shelby County and the achievement school districts.

“We're not doing anymore interviews. We're just not doing anymore interviews. If you guys want to submit questions, we're taking questions on Twitter,” said New Memphis Institute Communications Specialist Mya Donald.

While some parents and teachers may not be happy about the takeover, the Achievement School District says it's ready to answer any questions you have.

“We have an opportunity to invest some race to the top resources in schools and work together to get schools back on track,” said ASD Superintendent Chris Barbic.

The school district finally made Hopson available to speak only to News Channel 3 about the changes.

“I just didn't want to talk before because I wanted to stay focused on what I was going to say. We're working collaboratively across the county to make sure we increase student achievement for everyone,” said Hopson.

The schools include Coleman, Denver, Springhill, and Westwood elementary, as well as Southside and Wooddale middle schools.

Three high schools are up for takeover - Fairley, Frayser and Carver. Only two will be chosen, and Carver may end up closing.