Shelby County, TN. – Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell supports a State Senate bill that calls for a planning commission to be established to oversee the transition of Memphis and Shelby County Schools should they merge.
The initiative, known as “Senate Bill 25” was passed today in Nashville by the Senate Education Committee by a 6 to 3 vote. “The bill meets two major requirements; an orderly transition of operations and an effective way to keep the public informed,” said Mayor Luttrell.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Mark Norris, also calls for a three-year transition period to ensure an orderly merging of the two school systems. The planning commission will be made up of 21 members.
The county mayor and the chairs of the Memphis City School Board and the Shelby County School Board would serve as Ex- Officio members and each shall appoint five citizens to serve on the planning commission. The other three members would be jointly appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.
The commission would prioritize the many issues that would affect students and employees of the two school systems. Once completed, the commission’s recommendations would be submitted to the Tennessee Department of Education for review.
Luttrell said he intends to talk with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, the suburban municipal mayors, and the Shelby County Commission concerning possible appointments should the bill pass.
“I commend Senator Norris for his leadership on this issue. I would hope the committee’s work would be completed sooner than three years. However, as indicated in early January, I think it is absolutely critical that a clear and legal transition process take place. While this measure won’t stop the planned referendum, it will help ensure the needs of all public school children in Shelby County are met,” Luttrell added. “Senate Bill 25” will be taken up for discussion tomorrow by the Tennessee House of Representatives Education Subcommittee.