Commission and Suburbs Agree on Overseer for Merging Districts

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis, TN) For what seems like the first time the county commission and suburbs agree on something about unified schools.

Both support a federal judge’s plan to possibly appoint a special master to oversee the merger of the schools.

With Wednesday’s deadline both sides will turn in a list of possible candidates.

A federal judge is considering naming a special master to oversee the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

Shelby County Commissioners tell News Channel 3 the judge feels the unified school board isn`t doing what he told them to, and they won`t have plans finished by the time schools open this summer.

“The school system touches almost everybody in the community. So we need to be thoughtful and deliberative when we make decisions,” said unified school board chairman Billy Orgel.

Orgel agrees with the county commission and the suburban mayors that a special master will help speed up the process.

The special master doesn`t need an education background or even be from Shelby County.

At the end of the day the judge may not even decide to appoint someone.

“I think that’s going to be incentive for our board to change the way we’re doing things or make decisions and even hurry up,” said Orgel.

Some board members say a special master would have been helpful about a year ago when they had so many legal questions and didn`t know how the unified district would work, but now they feel that person will just be in the way.

“The majority of the board believes we do not need anyone at this point for us to move forward and have those talks.  Because then we have to bring them up to speed and we have to provide some additional dollars to pay them too,” said board member Patrice Robinson.

Robinson says they are moving along on target.