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Board adopts resolution appointing six School Transitioin Committee members

By Bill ShortFlag City Logo

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has appointed a six-member Municipal School Transition Committee that will give the school board options to consider.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Hank Hawkins and seconded by Alderman Bethany Huffman. The motion was passed by four affirmative votes, with Alderman Mike Caruthers abstaining, and Aldermen Larry Dagen and Frankie Dakin absent.
The committee members, who were nominated by Mayor Terry Jones, are Caruthers, Interim City Manager Mike Chesney, Ron Williams, Doug Dakin, Bruce Rasmussen and Rosie Crawford.
During discussion shortly before the vote, Hawkins asked Jones whether Caruthers will “kind of head this up.” Caruthers recalled that Millington was establishing a “transition team” last year before U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays issued his ruling in late November.
Caruthers acknowledged that the new committee will resume the previous effort. But this time, he noted, it will ask Dr. Tim Fite, a founding partner of the Southern Educational Strategies consulting firm, to provide “quite a bit of assistance.”
Alderman Thomas McGhee said he would like to invite former Millington Central High School principal, Trent McVay, to join the committee. But Louise Kennon, an uncontested school board candidate who attended the meeting, said McVay does not live in the “district.”
In response to a question by Huffman, McGhee said there is no legal requirement that the committee members be residents of the city.
“They are not running for office,” he noted. “They’re being consulted on the process.”
Caruthers said he hopes that, after the school board is elected, sworn in and receives the mandatory training, the committee can cease to exist.
Although the school board will be elected on Nov. 7 and can be sworn in after the results are certified, it cannot take any action until Dec. 1.
But Dr. Jim Mitchell, another founding partner of SES, has acknowledged that some things can be done “ahead of time.”
“It’s usually helpful if you have a group of experienced citizens who can start some preliminary work before the school board is elected,” he has said. “You would gain some time and, perhaps, some ability to have some decisions ready for the board to consider in December.”
During an interview after the meeting, Caruthers said the committee will examine all the requirements for establishing a school system.
Although it will not make decisions, he said it can legally do “much of the paperwork” and give the school board options to consider regarding such things as transportation, maintenance and where to “house” the board. He also said Fite, who has a “template” on how to do this, will be “walking with us the whole way.”
Caruthers said he will confer with Fite regarding when and where the committee will schedule its initial meeting.
“There hasn’t been a school system established in the state since 1987,” he noted. “So, we’re breaking some new ground, just like the other municipalities are.”

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