Monday, February 18, 2013

Too Many Puns: Hart Murmur? Hart Attack? Proposal from the Hart? Speaking from the Hart?

What the . . . hart . . . is going on?

Allegedly, Shelby County School Board Commissioner Tomeka Hart is allegedly planning to submit a resolution that would allegedly delay the date of the merger. 

Bill Dries explains it here.  Several of the Commercial Appeal journos explain it here.  Apparently, there was an email where Commissioner Hart stated her intention.  Our reporters tell us that she casts it as a response to the latest bills underway in the Tennessee legislature to enable municipal school districts in Shelby County (and possibly the rest of the state).

Though everyone seems to expect the resolution to be presented at tonight's Board work session, the public will be unable to read the resolution until the minutes from the work session are published - likely after the vote on the resolution at next week's Board work session.  As usual, the Board's practices on publishing agendas and resolutions under consideration often prevent meaningful public engagement and comment before Board votes.

Without reviewing the resolution, it's hard (hart) to say what it's about, what possible alleged purpose it might serve, whether it will save or cost money, whether it could possibly achieve its stated purpose.

So without any first hand information about what the alleged resolution would allegedly do, let's just go ahead and pick a side.

The merger is the result of a negotiated settlement in federal court.  The school board could probably rescind its recent selection of the actual merger date, but it can do little to affect the negotiated settlement that it signed on to over eighteen months ago.  Memphis has already spent what would have been its financial contribution to MCS.  The merger is on track for this summer.  Based on what I've seen of the schools administration, the merged district is on track to open its doors for the first day of school in August 2013.  There are a million reasons why that will be hard, and a million other reasons why a lot of pieces of the merger won't be nailed down by then, but the doors will be open and schools will be in session.

It's actually going to be really hard, and it will require more and more tortured discussions and decisions from the school board (and the County Commission too - don't even get me started on them).  There's nothing yet that has convinced me that postponing the hard stuff will lead to better outcomes for anyone.

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