Unified Board to Focus on Academic Planning

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(Memphis) With just two months until the unified schools open, the school board is finally moving on to issues that directly impact students in the classroom.

For months, members have argued over how the schools will actually operate and disputes over whether there should even be a merged district.

Tuesday, the school board met until nearly midnight to take on several big issues like teacher pay, who will clean the schools, how the children will get to school and the decision to not delay the merger.

Now, board members will take up academic decisions they say couldn't even be considered before operational decisions were taken care of.

“We got a lot accomplished last night. Overall we saved the district about 19 million dollars and counting,” said Unified Board Member Kevin Woods.

Woods says the district is making progress and will have schools ready to open in August.

After months of arguing and slow progress, the board is moving forward with infrastructure plans and focusing on what students will learn.

“We've done most of the TPCs recommendations. I`m really excited about turning the page and discussing what`s going to be done from an academic standpoint. I think that`s about to start happening,” said Woods.

The board will now make detailed plans about the future of education in Shelby County.

Board member Chris Caldwell says the district can laser focus on a curriculum since it suspended the superintendent search.

“We were able to suspend the superintendent search and give the district and the current staff, cabinet, superintendent and deputy superintendent to really focus on getting these districts merged,” said Caldwell.

Board members say they are putting the final touches on the unified schools budget and will be presenting that to the commission later this month.