From The New York Times: The merger of the Memphis and Shelby County districts in Tennessee, the largest school district consolidation in American history, poses huge logistical challenges: Memphis teachers are unionized, Shelby County’s are not; the county owns its yellow buses, the city relies on a contractor. Toughest of all may be bridging the chasms of race and class. Median family income in Memphis is $32,000 a year, compared with the suburban average of $92,000; 85 percent of students in Memphis are black, compared with 38 percent in Shelby County.
AUGUST 2011...from The Memphis Commercial Appeal: A federal judge has ruled that the merger between the Memphis (Tenn.) school system and its surrounding county school district is legal. U.S. District Court Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays found that the Memphis district charter was properly surrendered in February and that the all-suburban makeup of the Shelby County school board is unconstitutional because it lacks Memphis representation. He also ruled that a new state law aimed at guiding the merger of the two system, was valid. The judge said the merger must be completed for 2013-14.
JULY 2011...from The Memphis Commercial Appeal: The Memphis school board has approved a payment plan from the city that will enable schools to open as scheduled next month. The City Council is expected next week to approve the district's budget. If it does not, schools will remain closed, board members say. Under the payment plan, nearly 80 percent of the city's contribution of $55 million will be in the schools' bank account by early October. If the council meets the criteria, students will return to schools as scheduled on Aug. 8.
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Earlier...from The Memphis Commercial Appeal: A showdown over school financing in Memphis that has threatened the start of the fall semester for city school students may be coming to an end. Under a proposal brokered over the last two days by Mayor AC Wharton and Memphis City Schools board president Martavius Jones, the city would pay the schools $15 million by Aug.15. Then, the remainder of the money due for the upcoming school year would be paid in monthly installments. If all sides agree, students should return to schools on time, with a scheduled start date of Aug. 8.
Also...from The Memphis Commercial Appeal: The Memphis school board has voted to delay the start of classes for 2011-12 until the City Council provides the $55 million the city has budgeted for schools. The district is trying to persuade city leaders to make good on funding promises.
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