Archive for ‘Shelby County government’

December 31, 2014

Part 2: A $15/hour Minimum Wage?

PART 2:  The conversation which began focused on minimum wage issues continued, with the discussion becoming much broader in scope including is the public thoughtfully engaged in important issues, is the public library serving to promote well read and well informed citizens, what is the role of the Internet in research and information, and much more. As always, we appreciate your listening to our conversation, but yours is more important! Discuss these issues with your family, friends, acquaintances, and legislators.

Length: 42 minutes, 25 seconds

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December 21, 2014

A $15/hour Minimum Wage?

PART 1:  Whether to raise the minimum wage required by law in the USA has, once again, become a topic of controversy with a number of employees of fast food restaurants staging protests demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage. One such worker wrote to The Commercial Appeal to outline her reasons she thought the minimum wage should be increased to $15. A high school class examined her arguments as we do along with other considerations in this Memphis Conversation. (Part 2 is below the audio link to Part 1.)

Length: 36 minutes, 49 seconds

PART 2 is the continuation of this conversation and is posted on this site.

June 10, 2014

Desirable Qualities for Local Leadership

campaign-signsWhat attributes should those seeking local public office have? That is the primary question being discussed in  this Memphis conversation. While there may be many, this conversation focused on a couple of overriding qualities. The decision for the City of Memphis to further involve itself in the AAA minor league baseball franchise and its Redbirds Stadium (also known through purchased naming rights as AutoZone Park) became somewhat of a case study. Darrell Hugueley, Eddie Settles, and Ken Welch hope you will engage this issue in your own conversations. In the meantime, we invite you to list to ours.

Length: 55 minuted, 33 seconds

 

February 24, 2014

Are we sheep or is our government ours to shape?

A Memphis Conversation began exploring the proper role and function of local government. Beginning with a few examples of what the conversationalists though was proper and what was not, the discussion evolved into a broader exchange about the local and federal role and the people’s role. There were divided opinions among the participants. While their thoughts are important, the greater good might be that they addressed the issues with one another. This is what A Memphis Conversation hopes all of us will do. In a civil and informed manner, discuss the issues of our society. At least in one advocate’s position, it is hoped you will make your thoughts known to our governments on various issues with the intent to influence our governments to do the will of the people.


Duration: 45 minutes, 14 seconds]

December 8, 2013

Control of suburban school buildings: county or municipality?

In late November and early December, five of the six suburban Memphis cities have come to agreement with the County Commission and Shelby County School Board regarding the future ownership and use of the school buildings within their boundaries and requesting the federal district court to dismiss a lawsuit over the issue of suburban school districts. The City of Germantown, however, in which there are eight Shelby County Schools has not reached such an agreement and is arguing for possession of those all those schools. The Shelby County system, however, says that because high percentages of the pupils in three of those schools live in the City of Memphis or unincorporated areas, it wants to keep and operate them as county schools. This is a major issue for Germantown, as the county wants to continue to operate its three namesake schools in question: Germantown Elementary, Germantown Middle, and Germantown High.

In A Memphis Conversation, our panelists discuss the ownership and operation of the schools at issue. The community, governments, and school boards seem to have different points of view and that holds true for our conversationalists.


Length: 42 minutes, 14 seconds

Note: As of December 16, 2013, all the suburban municipal governments of Millington, Lakeland, Bartlett, Arlington,  Collierville, Germantown, the Shelby County Commission, and the Shelby County School Board have reached agreements which cover the ownership and control of school buildings within the limits of the suburban municipalities. The agreements provide that the school buildings to be deeded to the suburban school districts are for $10 upon condition the suburban municipalities provide a local education authority for at least 25 years and the dropping of the pending federal lawsuit over suburban schools. The agreements also calls for the municipalities to provide payments to Shelby County Schools for the purposes of retiree health and life insurance liabilities in the amounts listed below:
Lakeland: $676,044 over a period of 12 years at $56,337 a year,
Arlington: $3.9 million over a period of 12 years at $333,333 a year,
Bartlett:  $7.2 million over 12 years at $608,000 a year,
Collierville: $6 million over 12 years at $507,819 a year,
Millington:  $2.7 million over 12 years at $230,219 a year,
Germantown: 4.3 million over 12 years at $355,453 a year.

 

March 31, 2013

School Vouchers: are they right for Tennessee?

If you want to start a vigorous discussion gather a few people together and bring up the idea of school vouchers. Vouchers is a common term devouchers-classroom-bscribing programs in which state/local money that traditionally would have gone to a public school in which a student enrolled can follow the pupil even if he/she chooses to go to a private school.

Several states have implemented school voucher programs. The Tennessee General Assembly is currently considering such a proposal from Governor Bill Haslam.

In this conversation recorded March 30, 2013, Eddie Settles explores some of the issues concerning school vouchers with Darrell Hugueley and Ken Welch.

Listen:

Length: 1 hour, 45 seconds

                                                                      ________________                  

Addendum:
The subject of school vouchers is full of important elements. An hour’s discussion hardly does it justice.

That’s where you come in. A Memphis Conversation is just that, one of many. If you’ve listened, you’ve heard part of our conversation (we kept talking for a couple of hours more). Now it’s your turn. Talk about this and other important subjects, in a civil manner of course, with your family, friends, work acquaintances, even others who you may not know but who are concerned about our civic responsibility to inform ourselves. Encourage those who are inclined not to address important subjects to join you in considering these matters.

Among the important aspects of the discussion I do not think we had time to mention are the following:

  • legislative observers believe there is a good chance this year for a school voucher bill to be enacted into law in Tennessee;
  • the Shelby County School Board, currently the 23 members panel that governs both Memphis and Shelby County schools (which become one school district this summer), is on record opposing any legislation or other efforts by the Tennessee General Assembly to implement a program designed to provide students with a taxpayer-funded opportunity scholarship/tuition vouchers to attend a non-public school of their choice;
  • the Tennessee Education Association, as well as the Memphis Education Association which is the union representing Memphis City School teachers, opposes school vouchers;
  • the governor’s proposal caps the number of vouchers for the 2013-2014 school year at 5,000, 7,500 the second year, 10,000 the third year, and 20,000 the fourth year of the program but there are proposals among legislators to amend the bill to increase or remove the limits.

Links:

Read a summary of the voucher bill

Read the voucher bill as filed in the Tennessee Senate

View the Tennessee K-12 & School Choice Survey referenced during the conversation

The Shelby County School Board 2013 Legislative Agenda resolution (see page 7)

— Ken Welch

March 25, 2013

Discipline, Not Panic – Doomed, Surviving, or Thriving Schools Ahead?

settles-eddie-kwanis-smWill it be doom, survival or thriving for public education in Memphis and Shelby County?

Those are three scenarios outlined by one of our esteemed participants on this blog, Eddie Settles, as he spoke before a meeting of the Germantown Kiwanis Club February 21, 2013. Eddie presented his view of the facts surrounding the budget situation for the Shelby County Schools 2013-2014 fiscal year. Effective July 1, the Shelby County School district will include what has been Memphis City Schools. The two districts are already governed by a single Board of Education. He encouraged the members to become involved.

Listen to Eddie Settles presentation before the Germantown Kiwanis Club. He is introduced by a member of the club.
Listen:

Length 22:03

August 26, 2012

Cotton, hardwood and rock ‘n’ roll, the capital of the Delta. A new state of West Tennessee?

Listen:

Length 1 hour 42 minutes.

For our August edition of A Memphis Conversation we knew what we were going to talk about. The only thing is, we did not talk about those things. One of the wonderful aspects of talking with friends is that the conversation can go in a direction completely unplanned. Perhaps those targeted subjects will be the fodder for future conversations.

We also took a turn away from the topic that has dominated our previous conversation programs. Those largely focused on the primary and secondary education systems in Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee. Rightly so, since Memphis is the central location for a Teacher Effectiveness Initiative and it is also in the midst of one of the largest school district mergers. This month, though, the school systems were barely mentioned.

So, what did we talk about? A wide range of subjects. Including those that might wish there were a 51st state: West Tennessee, Memphis as the capital of the Delta, Memphis being the exporter of “some of the most important cultural innovations … in the 20 and 21st centuries.” We also discuss our responsibility in a self governed society and concerns about surrendering freedom for security or a false sense of security.

Admittedly, I probably like to hear myself talk. Still, I, Ken, thought I’d listen to the entire program when I went to bed the evening after recording it and that it would put me to sleep. I was wrong. It was such and interesting and enjoyable conversation, it kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.

We hope you’ll not just listen, but that you’ll engage in conversation with friends, family, colleagues.

 


Want to know more? Here are some links to information about some of the things we talked about.

Buster Williams and his Plastic Products Company & his jukeboxes
Memphis as the Hardwood Capital
The Story of Cotton ( from planting to marketing)
Memphis History
Jimmy Ogle, historian or storyteller
Meet the Mayor – Citizens’ opportunity to meet personally with the Shelby County Mayor
Downtown Museum Day – September 15, 2012

July 30, 2012

Education dominates local election and our conversation

“law of unintended consequences, ”  $15-million more in school “savings,” does it affect Mississippi, Arkansas, West Tennessee,  neighbors’ separated, jaywalking — just some of the aspects touched upon in this discussion

Ken and Eddie

Ken & Eddie

Eddie Settles and Ken Welch engaged in A Memphis Conversation July 28, 2012. Once again it seems the pending merger of the city and county school districts and the imminent election of 7 board of education members is a major concern in the community.  Apparently that includes Eddie and Ken because that’s mostly what they talk about in this edition of A Memphis Conversation.

We hope you will listen to A Memphis Conversation and it will encourage you to engage in conversations with those you know about important public issues.

Listen:

(If your browser does not support HTML5 audio for your uploaded format, or Flash Player is not installed, a direct download link will be displayed instead of the player.)

Length:  1 hour 56 minutes

Technical note for Firefox users: Mozilla reports that some users are having repeated crashes of the Flash player used to play the audio. “Adobe has recently updated Flash to version 11.3. Some users have reported that this version of Flash is crashing more frequently than previous versions of Flash. If you are experiencing excess crashes, please downgrade to Flash 10.3 or Flash 11.2.”  See http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/flash-113-crashes