MCS district hits last day - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MCS district hits last day

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Many say it is the end of one era, and the start of a new. Many say it is the end of one era, and the start of a new.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Schools district dates back to 1848 and was the first free public city schools in the city. But Friday is the last day of MCS as Memphians know it.

"There aren't that many school systems that abandon their charter," said president West TN Historical Society Dr. John Harkins.

Many say it is the end of one era, and the start of a new.

"I think it could be a real jumping off point to real improvement, or it could be just a blip before more of the same," said Harkins.

Harkins is the author of local history books, and witness to Memphis City Schools' roller coaster ride through years.

He said it is still the civil rights era that will determine how history remembers MCS.

"I think largely, it will be a negative. Starting shortly after the Brown versus Board of Education there have been legal tie ups lasting for decades from the '54 decision until 1972," he said.

Harkins said change in organizational structure is not uncommon when considered over the past 150-plus years.

Interim superintendent Dorsey Hopson made assurances Tuesday that staff is prepared for this change to a unified district.

While it has yet to begin, some cannot help but wonder how it will all be remembered in the end.

"It's gonna depend on how much the unified school board changes will be when it all ironed out and how well that's adhered to," said Harkins.

Starting Monday, it officially becomes the Shelby County Unified School System. The merging process is still underway.

The district did not return requests for comment.

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