Unified school board members have to sort through 172 recommendations made by the Transition Planning Commission's merger plan, voting on whether to pass or reject each individual one.
Board Member Kevin Woods says, luckily, Superintendents Kriner Cash and John Aitken through them a soft ball. Cash and Aitken broke down the recommendations into smaller batches.
The school board voted on 20 of the 172 recommendations at their meeting on Thursday. Those included teacher evaluations, enterprise resource planning and early childhood education. One of the five recommendations about early childhood education was held from Thursday's vote until further fiscal analysis.
All of the recommendations passed Thursday, with the exception of the one about enterprise resource planning which was excluded for the time being.
"They're (the superintendents) giving us individual information on individual items and, just as it happened tonight, somebody had a question about one of the items and they just pulled the item. I think that's going to be the best way to deal with it going forward," says Board Member Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Jr.
Whalum says there will be a lot of discussion about school closures in October, adding that those recommendations will most likely be rejected.
Other recommendations to avoid closing any Memphis or Shelby County school will be made, according to Whalum. He's playing his cards close to the chest when it comes to his exact proposals, but did say different services and education programs could benefit by being in the underutilized buildings that are in question.
"Those schools can be pilot projects, they can be small school projects to lift and raise the academic performance of the children in those neighborhoods," says Whalum.
After October, the rest of the recommendations will be voted on in November, according to Cash and Aitken's timeline.