Former MSCS board vice chair alleges corruption within district

Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Almost one week after one Memphis-Shelby County School (MSCS) Board member resigned mid-meeting, she’s now alleging corruption within Tennessee’s largest school district.

Former Vice Chair Sheleah Harris alleges corruption within the district when it comes to contracts, funding, and more.

Harris’s resignation comes at a critical time; MSCS remains without a permanent superintendent and a board vice chair.

“This is the highest level of ignorance I’ve ever been a part of, and for my own health, I just can’t be a part of it anymore,” Harris said at a June 13 board meeting.

In a statement sent to Action News 5, Harris said that by that comment she meant there are too many people who know about the corruption but are not standing up to make any changes.”

Harris alleges district staff and board members have “benefited from contracts and relationships within the district.”

She also claims there are people in leadership positions with “no credentials” and she claims the superintendent search is being what she calls “manipulated.”

But MSCS’ interim superintendent disagrees.

“We’ve been transparent from Day 1, as a financial leader and someone who is a leader of this organization,” said interim Superintendent Toni Williams. “I have true accountability of ensuring at all times we lead with high integrity.”

Harris also alleges Williams, a candidate for the permanent position, discovered a “dummy account,” an allegation Williams denies in emails provided by the district.

“When I received no support to make any changes, I knew it was time to leave,” Harris said. “You cannot fight against an entire corrupt system with no support.”

Harris did not provide proof of any of her claims against the district.

Her last day serving on the school board will be June 27.

Read Harris’ full statement and the district’s response to her allegations below:

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