Halbert email: She and voters 'beyond confused'

The email comes from Wanda Halbert, the Education Chair for the Memphis City Council, and it reveals, well, read it for yourself. Halbert claims that rampant confusion still exists over what, exactly, Memphians are voting for in Tuesday's schools referendum, and her email to City Council attorney Allan Wade and Memphis City Schools attorney Dorsey Hopson indicates that Halbert is confused herself.

Halbert, a former chairman of MCS's board, also distributed the email to MCS board members. Her main issue seems to be with the actual ballot question, which reads, "Shall the management and control of the Memphis City School System be transferred to the Shelby County Board of Education?" That language was approved in January. Halbert writes in the email:

I am now hearing the decision on March 8th is to "turn over the administration of MCS to SCS."  What exactly does that mean? Will MCS be abandoning its charter, making itself a thing of the past? If the vote passes, does SCS' administration take over MCS immediately?
The answer proponents give most often is that nothing will change immediately -- MCS will continue to operate, teachers teaching, principals managing and students attending their schools until the end of the school year. The state will contend that the legislation passed by Mark Norris setting up a planning commission would be triggered, with full implementation delayed until summer of 2013. The City Council and County Commission will contend that a) the County Commission is moving to set up an expanded unified countywide school board with 18 Memphis representatives and seven suburban and b) the Norris legislation will eventually be struck down by a court.

Halbert asked many more questions recently to try and clear up confusion in the community, and one of the charter proponents, County Commissioner Steve Mulroy, answered all 17 of them. For that document, click here.

For the entirety of Halbert's email sent this morning, click the link below to the right.
Good Morning All:

I must admit, this abrupt charter surrender by the majority of the Memphis School System has created the worst controversy in quite some time and has many including myself beyond confused. As of last night, I still have neighbors, constituents, etc. asking how should they vote.

For the record, I want to clarify, the Memphis City Council voted to accept the surrender of the charter as a means to stop the  actions of the Nashville legislature of potentially allowing Shelby County voters to vote on a Memphis issue. We were "supposed" to be protecting the citizen's of Memphis ' rights and blocking the potential inteference.  This fact was stated numerous times in council meetings.

My question(s) for you this morning, as if the confusion to date has not been enough for the voters, I am now hearing the decision on March 8th is to "turn over the administration of MCS to SCS."  What exactly does that mean? Will MCS be abandoning its charter, making itself a thing of the past? If the vote passes, does SCS' administration take over MCS immediately?

Today is the last day for early voting. Thank you in advance for your immediate response,

Wanda Halbert, Education Chair
Memphis City Council
wanda.halbert@memphistn.gov
901 576-6786 Office

2 Comments

Things like this have made me not even want to meet this person, let alone support her for anything.

Wanda Halbert is right to ask these questions. Why? Because, no one knows the answers to her questions. Also, the answer you receive today will change tomorrow. Go ahead and make light of Ms Halbert, but this is a total mess.

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