When the bell rings Monday, Aug. 5, what can Shelby County and Memphis parents really expect for the first day of school now that the school districts are combined?
"We expect that your children will be able to go to the school they were assigned to last year unless they moved up and that we will have teachers in place, text books in place we'll have bus transportation to get them there," said Shelby County Schools board member David Pickler.
Pickler says in what's considered the largest school consolidation in the country, for the most part on the day the school doors open Aug. 5, it will be business as usual.
"We do have a lot of work to get done over the next month," he said. "We have to make sure communications are in place for bus transportation, school nutrition, for all of the teacher assignments, getting everything done that needs to be done."
The Memphis City Schools sign has been removed since Shelby County officially took the helm Monday, Pickler said. Though this is a small change, he admits parents will see some difference in this massive merger.
"We know that there's going to be new school popping up all across Memphis and Shelby Count, charter schools, state-run achievement school districts, and we need to continue to evolve with this changing landscape," Pickler said.
This is a part of the process, including lay-offs, changes in payroll, even making sure IT works in this new unified district, Pickler added. The next four weeks are going to be tight, but he says the work will get done.
"I'm optimistic, after working together that people are in place and the dedication is there to try to make this as seamless as possible for the children because at the end of the day, this has got to be about the kids," he said.
Since this is a road Memphis and Shelby County have never traveled, parents are hoping Pickler's words will ring true come Monday, Aug. 5.