Jim Strickland will serve another four years as mayor of Memphis.
Strickland was projected to win Thursday over 10 challengers including Willie Herenton, a former city mayor and superintendent, and Tami Sawyer, a county commissioner and Teach for America Memphis leader.
Strickland’s most significant education initiative in his first four years was to see through a long-held goal among city leaders to expand prekindergarten for low-income families with $6 million in city funds.
The mayor’s office has had little influence on K-12 education ever since the City Council — led in part by Strickland — voted to slash school funding. Currently there is no dedicated stream of funding from the city to Shelby County Schools, which educates most Memphis students.
Strickland told Chalkbeat he does not intend to change that arrangement, despite mounting pressure from county and district officials, but he emphasized expanding education offerings at community centers.
“City government may not have oversight over the local schools, but we have a moral responsibility to nurture and enable our young people. As a result, I would continue to do what we’ve done these past three-plus years,” Strickland said in Chalkbeat’s candidate survey.
“We found a way to fund universal, needs-based Pre-Kindergarten for the first time. We introduced literacy education in our community centers. We’ve greatly increased programming and youth participation in our library programming. After years and years of the city scaling back investment in these meaningful programs, we are reinvesting in these neighborhood assets and are beginning to see the results,” he said.
You can read his full survey responses below: