There was a time when tenure or seniority meant something for school teachers, administrators and staff. Educators were rewarded for molding the minds of young children.
But, a law passed two years ago states school staffing and transfers are no longer based on seniority.
Shelby County Education Association President Sammy Jobe and Memphis Education Association President Keith Williams say the teacher to student ratio's for schools have changed with the merger of Memphis city and Shelby County.
"You're not guaranteed a job", said sammy Jobe of the Shelby County Education Association, "but You're on the preferred hire list if you have tenure. If you don't have tenure, you have to reapply with the system like a new teacher."
Keith Williams of the Memphis Education Association says some schools will gain teachers and some will lose teachers due to the changes in teacher to student ratio. "It does not mean these are poor teachers or bad teachers it means they are in excess of what the building needs", he said.
An unknown number of city and county teachers were told their position is considered excess. Teachers notified were informed the decision was based on budget cuts and drops in enrollment, but include teachers with a few years under their belt, those with absenteeism, tardiness, and insubordination issues, and even seniority.
The process by which teachers or staff is chosen is now being called into question. For example, a principal only has to interview a handful of teachers, even if you have the most experience, the principal can hire you or can hire someone from the outside.
Keith Williams isn't sure about the process either. "It appears that people with seniority or senior teachers are being cherry picked in some schools, if you will to be the ones to go," he said.
The uncertainty of what's happening with is so upsetting, none of the two dozen teachers we contacted would talk to us about it. All are so worried about the possible backlash of an interview with our station.
The irony is the district says there will be more than 11-hundred open positions available for educators.
"No one really knows what the future holds", Sammy Jones said. "Especially when you hear they have a thousand positions roughly opening, yet we have all of these teachers being excessed."