Shelby County Schools board members agreed Tuesday evening to suspend its superintendent search for one year as recommended by the search firm it used.
Interim superintendent Dorsey Hopson also agreed to stay on as interim superintendent of SCS as well as maintaining his duties as interim superintendent for Memphis City Schools.
There is no timeline when the superintendent search will start up again. The school board will likely reinitiate it in about six months.
MORE: 11 Memphis-area schools recommended for closure
Board members had asked to wait until after schools merger to seek a superintendent and let John Aitken guide the transition.
Aitken requested the buyout of his superintendent contract in March, and the board approved. Aitken said in March the decision to remove himself as district superintendent was a personal and family decision.
The Unified Schools board selected Illinois-based PROACT Search in January to help the merged system find and screen a superintendent.
PROACT was retained for $23,000, not including travel expenses, to conduct the superintendent search.
The national search was to have taken approximately five months.
PROACT recommended to halt the superintendent search until the start of the 2013-14 school year, saying it was a challenge to find the right type of candidate to become the new merged superintendent. In a brief to the SCS board, PROACT brought up several factors, including the size of the district, the make-up of the merged school board, and salary range.
After voting to suspend the superintendent search for the Unified district, the school board also voted to move forward with closing 16 Memphis City and Shelby County schools.
In addition to the original 15, the board also added Gordon Elementary School to the list. It does not mean the schools will close at the end of the 2012-13 school year, nor does it mean they will absolutely close.
Tuesday night's vote simply starts the process.
Next fall the school board will hold community meetings regarding each school on the list. After the meetings, the board will vote again. If a school is approved for closure it would not happen until 2014 at the earliest.
FOX13 News reporter Lauren Lee contributed to this report.