MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - With no leader, what's next for the Memphis and Shelby County school merger? MCS superintendent Kriner Cash and SCS superintendent John Aitken have both resigned. For school board members looking for leadership, that August 5th deadline is fast approaching.
Adios John Aitken. He's been working on merging the city and county schools since day one. The "S.S. School Merger" has been sailing on some choppy seas, and now it looks like a typhoon.
"I think he could have gotten us through the merger. And that is the big tough job ahead of us," said Unified School Board member Betty Mallott.
Actually it's just one of the big tough jobs ahead of them. They have to decide whether there will be an interim superintendent to be in charge of the county school system. The city has an interim superintendent, and maybe that's all that will be needed to keep the merger work going.
"I'm hoping that it's actually legal for us to have one interim superintendent for the next few months to actually get us through this merger and get us through July," Mallott added.
Things have been difficult with this board. That's probably the understatement of the year. Fights between members of the old city school board and the old county school board still happen. Valuable time is spent on what to name the new school system, when nobody knows who is going to be in charge of the new school system. Now, toss in the John Aitken stuff.
"I think it's just gotten crazier," noted board member Snowden Carruthers. "We needed more stability. I think in one of the meetings I was in they talked about flexibility, but we need stability."
They also need someone to be the next superintendent. As for how hard that will be, Carruthers said, "I wouldn't want the job."
Aitken will get the same buyout as Dr. Cash received, about $150,000. Federal Judge Samuel Mays probably isn't happy over this, as he's called picking a superintendent perhaps the most important thing the board needs to do quickly.