Memphis City Schools has signed short-term contracts worth $1.4 million with several consultants, including a local public relations agency, as the district moves toward merit pay for teachers and getting rid of those who miss the mark.
Supt. Kriner Cash quickly raised the capital from donors, including the Hyde Family Foundations, so work could begin Oct. 1.
The PR firm CS, on Union Avenue, got a $152,000 contract through June 30. The agency’s main job will be communicating with teachers, making sure the district’s message is clear and consistent, potentially warding off union strife.
The contracts are a prelude to a seven-year teacher improvement plan the district hopes to accomplish with nearly $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates will announce the winners of its national grants in early November. Memphis is one of five finalists.
Cash does not want to wait, saying Tuesday that “a lull in work like this can become the devil’s playground.