MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) — Memphians and Shelby County residents aren't sure if there will even be a unified school district in 2013. Members of the Transition Planning Commission have laid out a preliminary picture of how it'll look but parents are asking, why bother if suburbs are opting out.
Parents say they're confused about everything. They still don't know if taxes will go up or by how much and where their children will go once the unified district is formed.
"Nothing seems to ever get done. The kids are the most important thing,” said Memphian Bob Beck.
"There are several different things that play into it and I'm not sure what all of it is,” said Bartlett resident Joan Ballard.
"I hope everything works out. It's just a whole big mess," said Oliver Scott from Memphis.
That's how residents from the city and suburbs feel when it comes to the Transition Planning Commission. So far the commission came up with 6 regions describing the unified district.
"It offers a variety of autonomies to schools and all its support. So it's an innovative and exciting structure," said TPC chairwoman Barbara Prescott. “This is a very orderly process. I think we can get our plan done, it's just kind of lightning speed."
It's lightning speed because the commission wants to present the first draft of the unified district to the public in June. Commission member Kenneth Whalum Jr. says why bother if suburbs want out.
"There is no plan. There is no merger," Whalum told abc24 news. “That's consulting speak. That's what you get when you spend a million dollars for a Boston consultant group."
Memphians we spoke with want the suburbs to be part of the unified district.
"It's kind of weird that the suburbs don't want to be apart of it,” said Scott.
"I think Germantown and other suburbs breaking out on their own are just posturing. I think it's better as a community, as a whole, if we keep it one unified school district,” said Beck.
"If I live in the suburbs and I had children in the elementary school and all of this confusion was afoot well of course smaller is always better when it comes to education,” Whalum said.
Many Bartlett residents agreed with Whalum, in having their own school district.
"I think it'll be really good because most people do move to Bartlett because of the schools and the area,” said Bartlett resident Carol Williams.
It will be up to the unified school board and the state department of education to approve the new district layout. The commission will meet Thursday to hash out where students will be attending in 2013.