Superintendent responds to Action News 5 report - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Superintendent responds to Action News 5 report on security salaries

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Supt. Dr. Kriner Cash Supt. Dr. Kriner Cash
MEMPHIS, TN -

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash responded Tuesday to an Action News 5 report about the six figure salaries paid to some of the district's security personnel.

In fact, the top two security administrators at MCS make more than their counterparts in Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the United States.

Tuesday, Cash spoke to Action News 5's Kym Clark from NBC's Education Nation summit in New York.

"It's a matter of where you want to put your money," he said. "When I came Memphis City Schools, it was no walk in the park. It was one of the most dangerous school systems, (with the) most highest incidents per 1,000 in the country, number one. So you want to bring top talent in to take care of that. First things first - take care of the students, take care of the staff."

Gerald Darling, Chief of School Security, earns $167,000 per year, while Deputy Chief, Carolyn Jackson, earns $115,000 per year. Action News 5 could not find another comparable district that even pays close to that - not even the Los Angeles Unified school district pays as much.

Los Angeles Unified is more than six times the size of Memphis City Schools, yet that district pays its police chief $17,000 less than MCS pays darling.

Action News 5's Kym Clark asked Cash about this during Tuesday's interview.

"I would be happy to sit down and talk to you about those issues, but it will take more time than we have this morning," he said.

"But Dr. Cash, we have a little time left, and I would like to say, there are still problems," Clark replied. "There are still gang problems. There are still fights at school. There are still students being expelled for fighting, (and) weapons on school grounds. I think nobody has a problem with putting money in education, but we're talking about salaries for security personnel."

"Well they're not really security personnel," Cash said. "If you look at their credentials, these are people that have been top police officers and chiefs at some of the top school districts in the country, and second-in-command in Miami, for example. Second or third-in-command here in Memphis. These are not out of line salaries. These are exactly what you pay to professionalize security in our schools."

At a salary of $167,000 per year, Security Chief Darling earns more than any police chief in the state of Tennessee.

Meanwhile, Cash's job review shows he has reduced the number of serious incidents in schools, but he has not decreased fights.

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