Letter from The Editor

| May 03, 2012
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- Dreamstime

I should be an expert on the schools merger issue by now. I've read and edited the equivalent verbiage of War and Peace on the subject. Jackson Baker alone has probably written 50,000 words about the merger and the political machinations surrounding it. John Branston's not far behind.

And I've had the distinct, um, pleasure of reading the approximately seven million web comments made on all those school merger articles. There's a group of six or seven folks who seemingly have little else to do but argue with each other about the subject, 24/7 — members of what we on the staff lovingly call the Bat-Shit Crazy Merger Debate Society (BSCMDS). All of them are experts. And all of them are already writing comments on this column.

But despite all this, I can barely keep up with the proposed dates for possible municipal school elections, the Transition Planning Commission, the Unified (ha) School Board, etc. I do know this: We used to have a city school district with 100,000 or so kids, the majority African American. And we had a smaller county school system that was racially mixed but majority white. The names are going to change. That's about it.

When Shelby County made noises about forming a separate district, the Memphis school board surrendered its charter, giving the responsibility for educating city kids to the county. In response, six suburban communities are now attempting to form their own municipal districts. I get why: If I lived in Collierville, I'd prefer to have a local, smaller system run by fellow Colliervillians (or is that Colliervillains?), rather than being part of a large all-county system.

The suburbs will get their way eventually. It will cost them dearly — in raised taxes (they'll be paying to support two school systems), regular muni school elections, plus busing, maintenance, payroll, and all the other associated expenses of running schools. Not to mention, the coming legal battles on all fronts, from who gets what buildings to who gets to claim which students for ADA payments.

We will end up with a county school system that looks a lot like the current MCS, only it will have more money and a few more kids. With any luck, the Transition Planning Commission will come up with some innovative proposals to improve what's already in place.

And my White Station freshman stepson will end up graduating from a county school, without even having to move out of the city. It's like magic.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

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Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Bloviation is hard work, Bruce. Just ask Count Tolstoy.

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Posted by Jackson Baker on 05/03/2012 at 6:10 PM

BV: Congratulations. This piece makes you, officially, a member of the BSCMDS. Actually, the other members of that august group owe you (and JB) a debt of gratitude, since without your enablement that group wouldn't exist.

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Posted by M_Awesomeberg on 05/03/2012 at 6:27 PM

@ Bruce

Asbolutely welcome to the group and thanks for keeping the BSCMDS somewhat in check. For most of the time, at least.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 05/03/2012 at 6:53 PM

Marty, you know you're the original BSCMDS member, don't you? You broke the mold. I'll bet you OTP has a picture of you on his wall.

Seriously (actually, that WAS serious), I must have missed the staff meeting where the term was certified. I don't use it. "Judge not," etc.

Anyhow, I can't speak for John, but I'm too busy working at verbiage to worry about all that stuff.

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Posted by Jackson Baker on 05/03/2012 at 10:20 PM

Is the BSCMDS going to start having monthly dinner meetings like the CACRFC? We will need to coordinate between the two, as it wouldn't do to have the dinners fall on the same night.

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Posted by HellenicLad on 05/04/2012 at 9:16 AM

JB: Whatever. Just don't stop providing us with our raison d'ĂȘtre.

HL: by mentioning the CACRFC in the same breath as the BSCMDS, I hope you're not suggesting that the Flyer is as besotted by all things school merger-related as the CA is by all things crime-related, cause I, for one, will not abide such blasphemy.

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Posted by M_Awesomeberg on 05/04/2012 at 10:33 AM

Damn another meeting

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Posted by homersimpson on 05/04/2012 at 11:46 AM
Showing 1-7 of 7

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