Herenton Presents Plan for Memphis City Schools

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton presented his plan for Memphis City Schools to the Memphis City Council in a speech Tuesday afternoon.

Herenton said he hoped his plan would "begin a citywide discussion," into what it would take to improve the city's fledgling school system.

"This is the day when we can set aside such issues and put the focus where it belongs: on the students," he said.

Herenton listed several initiatives for improving the school system, including improving security, making schools more efficient, and improving teaching and learning.

The mayor proposed that the city school system use the Memphis Police Department's Real-Time Crime Center to target troubled schools. He also proposed the school system restore corporal punishment for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Herenton also called for a complete over hall of the school system's central office, citing a poor organizational structure there.

"The number of employees at Memphis City Schools has increased dramatically over the past fifteen years, while the student population has grown only slightly," he said.

Herenton went on to propose the construction of two middle schools that would specialized in technology.  The mayor proposed building one such school at the fairgrounds, and the other Downtown.

The mayor's presentation was followed by a question and answer session with council members

Herenton's speech came at a crucial time for Memphis City Schools, as members of the Memphis City Council consider withdrawing $93 million in funding from the school system.