Haslam Requests Transition Plans from Memphis, Shelby County Schools

Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday he was requiring Memphis and Shelby County schools officials to submit plans outlining how a merger of the districts would be implemented and how teachers will be affected.

At the morning press conference, Haslam was careful to avoid any statement on the question of merger itself and said his administration had been monitoring the debate but letting “local issues be local issues.” He said his administration was also focused on keeping the process within the bounds of the law and acting in the best interests of schoolchildren.

“It makes sense if you’re talking about the largest school system in the state to be going out of business that there be a plan for how that’s going to happen, everything from school bus contracts to how lunch will get served the next day,” Haslam said.

In his letter to leaders of the city and county school districts, Acting Education Commissioner Patrick Smith set a deadline of Feb. 15 for the personnel plan, March 1 for the more comprehensive transition plan. City voters are set to decide in a March 8 referendum whether to dissolve the city’s school system, with those students absorbed by the county schools.

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