Suburbs eyeing former Superintendent Aitken - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Suburbs eyeing former Superintendent Aitken

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Though it's been less than a day, several suburbs are eyeing former Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken for their top job of the proposed municipal school districts.

Shelby County Schools board of education Tuesday evening unanimously approved the buyout of Superintendent John Aitken, which was at his request.

Aitken's buyout is about $320,000 which goes into effect immediately. He will remain on as advisor until May 31.

MORE: Board approves buyout of Superintendent Aitken

He said the decision to remove himself as district superintendent was a personal and family decision.

"I have to thank the board," he said. "It was done at my request and I think the public needs to know that. You have to weigh some things in your life and have to make some personal decisions. When evaluating everything this was the best. I brought this to the board and asked for their consideration. I appreciate them."

Though he is looking forward to time to decompress, he may not remain in retirement for long. A bill to allow municipal schools in the suburbs appears to be moving easily though the Tennessee State Legislature. The suburbs hope to be on track to create systems separate from the unified system, which means each municipality will need to hire a superintendent.

This cannot happen until a school board is elected, but Aitken might find job offers coming his way before that happens in the form as a consultant while the school districts form.

"There is that though, that we could use someone with that expertise that could guide us in all the different things we need to do," said Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner.

But it's not just Collierville eyeing Aitken. If there's a bidding war, many of the suburbs say they'll be ready.

"In the near future you're going to have these municipalities competing against one another," said Jason Sykes of  Better Bartlett Schools. "Who's got the top superintendent? Who's got the programs to support the municipal schools? I think that sense of competition is what the suburbs asked for."

"If that happens, Collierville will be in the competition," added Mayor Joyner.

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