Pickler, schools should be run like a business - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pickler, schools should be run like a business

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The man who has fought 15 years for the Shelby County suburbs to have their own school system is looking ahead, as voters give the green light to municipal school districts. 

School Board Commissioner David Pickler says schools will soon be managed more like a business and that the approach to delivering public education is rapidly shifting.

"A more entrepreneurial manner or businesslike manner," said Pickler.

He says changes emerged well before Shelby County's six suburban municipalities voted to form their own school districts Thursday.

"As we go forward, it's not going to be just about two big school systems: Memphis City and Shelby County," Pickler stated.

You can expect eight school systems: county schools as well as Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, Millington and State of Tennessee schools.

"We know the state has just begun the process of coming in and taking over schools by identifying the three or four they have this year," said Pickler.  "We know they've identified as many as 65 schools that may be taken over in the state's Achievement Schools District over the next several years," he added.

Pickler says public schools will have five different management models:  municipal school districts, charter districts, achievement school districts, virtual schools, and home schools.

Pickler also says he anticipates cooperative agreements to deliver services to suburban schools such as transportation and nutrition.

"We may see the Shelby County Board of Education become a vendor of choice," Pickler stated.

Or the newly formed suburban schools could have their own cooperative agreements separate from Shelby County.

While many parts are still moving, Pickler says one thing is certain: that public education in this community is changing.

A judge has yet to rule whether or not the election to create municipal schools is constitutional.  Either way, suburban leaders say schools in the six suburbs will never physically merge with Memphis City Schools.

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