MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Former Memphis mayor and former MCS superintendent Willie Herenton was dealt a blow in his quest to open nine charter schools.
The new, 23-member, Unified Shelby County School Board voted Tuesday, October 25, 2011, to reject Herenton's application.
"This school system needs help," Herenton tells abc24.com. "They need as many partners as they can get to turn this school system around. We don't need to turn partners away."
Herenton wanted to set up four high schools, three middle schools and two elementary schools. The longest serving mayor in Memphis history may not get another chance for a while.
Dr. Jeff Warren, Vice Chairman of the USCSB, wants to explore asking state lawmakers in Nashville to pass a moratorium on charter school applications as the consolidation talks continue.
"If you are trying to merge two school districts," says Warren, "and trying to open 50 charter schools at the same time, it may be a little bit more difficult."
"We shouldn't be denied the opportunity to help our community grow and prosper," says Herenton. "It is not about Willie Herenton. It is all about improving education."
The board rejected 15 charter school applications and accepted only two during Tuesday night's meeting.