Rep. Mark White (R – Memphis) responded to the Memphis-Shelby County School board after facing intense backlash for proposing to appoint six new members to the school board.
In a letter exclusively obtained by KWAM, White, who is chairs the Education Administration Committee, wrote a letter to MSCS board chair Althea Greene, expressing the state’s frustration with the boards lack of leadership.“There is no longer confidence in the current school board’s ability to oversee the necessary administrative and educational needs for Memphis’ children,’ White wrote, citing the board’s endless search for a new school superintendent.
MSCS school board members quickly condemned White’s proposed legislation and a group of education activists held a press conference Thursday afternoon in opposition to White.
“This is absolutely not needed. We may have had some challenges, but more interference from the general assembly is not warranted at this time,” board chair Greene said in a statement. “We have to stop experimenting with our children.”
The current school board is currently composed of 9 members. White’s proposal would give the state the authority to appoint six new members.“I understand the Board opposes my efforts to appoint six new members to the MSCS School board; however, I, as Chairman of the Education Administration Committee and as Representative, am gravely concerned about the the dysfunction in the school board decision-making process for Superintendent.”
Below is White’s full letter:
Dear Chair Greene,As a fifty-eight-year resident of our City of Memphis, I, like each MSCS Board Member, care deeply for our city. I, like you, are elected by the citizens of Memphis, and I serve in my capacity as a legislator to build a better Memphis.
I understand the Board opposes my efforts to appoint six new members to the MSCS School Board; however, I, as Chairman of the Education Administration Committee and as Representative, am gravely concerned about the dysfunction in the School Board decision-making process for Superintendent and other problems which have been well documented in local media reports. As the State of Tennessee allocates millions of dollars into the Memphis-Shelby County School District and has tried to partner with the district to solve its problems, there is no longer confidence in the current School Board’s ability to oversee the necessary administrative and educational needs for Memphis’ children. It is my duty as a Tennessee legislator and Chair of the Education Administration Committee to address this lack of confidence and help solve the problem legislatively for Memphis’ families.
I ask that you withhold committing to a new Superintendent and keep interim Superintendent Williams to allow time for us to we meet to discuss current and future concerns so that the best decision for Memphis’ children is made.
Thank you for your consideration.
White will sit down with KWAM host Ben Deeter Friday morning to break down what this proposed legislation will mean for Tennessee’s largest school district.