Haslam visits Memphis, talks schools merger - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Haslam visits Memphis, talks schools merger

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said during a visit Friday to Memphis, he will not rule out the possibility of the general assembly passing more legislation, affecting the merger of Shelby County Schools when it convenes in January.

Federal Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays, Jr.'s ruling Tuesday striking down the creation of municipal school districts is clear, the governor added.

The Republican governor was in midtown where he led a discussion on education with some aspiring teachers at the Memphis Teacher Residency Program.

Earlier this year Gov. Haslam played no more than an interested spectator as Tennessee Legislators pushed through a law which Judge Mays ruled didn't pass constitutional muster.

The question is if it happens again next year will Gov. Haslam still remain on the sidelines?

Stripping down to shirt sleeves, Gov. Haslam showed an earnest interest in soliciting students' comments on their experiences in Memphis classrooms so far.

"There's something we assume that they can't do or we assume that they won't crave," said Michael Long. "But, they do crave structure and they do crave somebody who believes in them enough to get a high expectation for them.

Gov. Haslam's kind of "ah shucks" demeanor with ordinary people is charming. But, as a reporter trying to pin him down on his specific opinions can be harder than attempting to read a Chinese menu written in Mandarin. The latest example of "Haslameese" speak came when asked his opinion of this week's ruling by Judge Mays that struck down the constitutionality of a legislatively passed law allowing the creation of municipal school districts in Shelby County.

"It was a fairly clear decision," the governor said. "I think at this point in time. I want to be encouraging everybody let's leave the courtroom behind and let's go sit down and have conversations that we need to prepare. There's no way this hasn't been a distraction to all of  us as adults. But, to people running the schools, to teachers, students and just can't believe that hasn't impacted student performance in some way."

It appears as governor, he might take a firm stand against any further legislative action on the schools merger issue when the session begins in January.

No, not really.

"First of all you have a fairly new general assembly that's changed, and second I haven't heard of any specific plans there," Gov. Haslam said. 'So, whether there'll be legislation brought up this year I really don't know."

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