MCS/SCS unification: Where's the plan?

Much has been made about the absence of a detailed plan that would govern the merger of the Memphis City Schools with the Shelby County Schools.

This isn't about the mandated plan that Republican governor Bill Haslam is now requiring the districts to come up with by Feb. 15, the day before early voting is scheduled to begin for the March 8 referendum to approve the MCS charter surrender.

But what about the Shelby County Schools' plans - either for special school district status or a contingency plan as the agency responsible for education countywide?

The case could be made that since the county alone bears the entire responsibility for educating all the children who live in that county, that the Shelby County Schools should already have some sort of contingency plan for if the MCS ever surrender its charter. It doesn't appear that such a plan exists.

But, as a reader pointed out in an e-mail to me today, the Shelby County Schools have not been compelled to explain, in detail, how the acquisition of special school district status would impact the Memphis City Schools. And on the anti-unification side, no one has been required to come up with a plan for anything.

This reader wrote:

... [H]as anyone demanded that he, Mr.  Pickler, submit a DETAILED PLAN on how this will affect the CITY SCHOOLS, CITY SCHOOL KIDS, CITY SCHOOL TEACHERS, other staff members and CITY SCHOOL FUNDING ???

Does the "bill" submitted in NASHVILLE demand that Shelby County Schools take 3 years to plan for a "special school district" before it can take effect ???

Did the new GOVERNOR demand that a DETAILED PLAN be submitted by Shelby County Schools on a "special school district", not just in the next 2 weeks but EVER ???

Did any of the 4 state senators, who are named in your article, that support this "bill", at anytime demand a DETAILED PLAN from Shelby County Schools BEFORE "special school district" status would be allowed ???..... OR..... Does "special school district" status AUTOMATICALLY go into effect if this bill is approved with ABSOLUTELY NO PLAN AT ALL ???


I think it has become obvious that Mr. Pickler's plan is to keep as much confusion as possible alive. He is doing his best to NOT have a plan. This might sway people to vote against the merger, since there is so much uncertainty. Additionally it can be used in Nashville as an attempt to delay the vote.

Luttrell just endorsed Norris' bill. This shows his true colors. Remember the man is mayor of ALL Shelby Countians not just his Republican brethren in the hinterlands.

My stomach is turning and my once optimistic outlook for our children is shattered.

Are we really still stuck in the 19th Century here in Memphis? Can we not ever agree to do what is best for the future of our region? Can we not invest in the next generation - all of the next generation- to prepare them to face and tackle the future of Memphis and Shelby County?

We all should have known. Politics rules out.

I guess a parent should always have a contingency plan "if the children move back in", even if the children in question are a century old.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

  • About

As the process for merging Shelby County's schools accelerates into action, we'll provide bonus coverage here at, with a particular focus on the 21-member transition team and the 23-member unified school board. Comment early and often. If you have any tips or suggestions you wish to share, contact Zack McMillin at or 529-2564.

  • Zack McMillin on Twitter