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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

MSCS will move hundreds of employees to classrooms

By meerna Jun12,2024

Emails and videos that are now being made public show plans to fire more than 1,000 headquarters employees if they do not agree to return to the classroom.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) Superintendent Dr. Marie Feagins decided to shake things up in the district.

Emails and videos that are now being made public show plans to fire more than 1,000 headquarters employees if they do not agree to return to the classroom.

Some community leaders who spoke to ABC24 said workers are being forced to work in the classroom with no experience. Other Memphis residents believe district cuts are necessary.

Feagins’ announcement was posted on social media exclusively to MSCS employees, and the public learned about it shortly thereafter. Feagins posted a nearly two-minute video regarding the cuts.

“If your position is impacted now or in the future, this change is directly related to the urgent need to maximize our budget to provide better support for leaders and better outcomes for students,” Feagins said.

In her statement, Feagins said 363 affected employees have been offered classroom positions. She said so far 171 have accepted their new role. According to Feagins, he believes this move will address the problem of chronic absenteeism and student academic performance.

In a separate email to employees obtained by ABC24, Feagins said the cuts would be much deeper. This is expected to impact 1,100 items. ABC24 discovered that if MSCS employees do not accept the district’s offer, they will be fired.

Beverly Davis, parent advocate for Whitehaven Empowerment Zone, said the plan needs refinement.

“I like the concept, but I think we’re going about it the wrong way,” Davis said.

Davis said the district’s needs should be met by teachers with the best qualifications.

“What we do? We just put bodies in the classroom and say what…take kids who already struggle with reading and writing and make it work?” she said. “Are we looking for someone to warm the seats?”

Former MSCS school board member Reverend Kenneth Whalum Jr. told ABC24 the reality is that the central office is overcrowded.

“That means most people won’t overreact,” he said. “Most people will be realistic about the state of the system. They will be realistic about the situation they find themselves in.”

Whalum also believes Feagins’ move will improve student outcomes over time, although he said some staff will not be thrilled with Feagins’ decision.

“Why would you continue to have a very, very, very well-resourced central office when you have vacancies in the schools themselves?” he said.

Based on the results showing that 8 out of 10 students are not proficient in reading and math, improvement in MSCS is needed.

On Tuesday, MSCS board member Althea Greene will hold a special meeting in conjunction with Feagins’ announcement. She sent ABC24 the following statement:

“I have received the email that Dr. Feagins sent to employees, as well as phone calls and emails from staff regarding employee transfers and potential layoffs. I am calling a special meeting of the MSCS Board of Directors tomorrow to discuss the proposed changes in more detail. I understand that change is necessary, but it can only be effective if it is communicated and produces tangible results.”

By meerna

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