Parents upset over decades-old desegregation order - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents upset over decades-old desegregation order

By Justin Hanson - bio | email

SOMERVILLE, TN (WMC-TV) - Parents in Fayette County are upset because a decades-old federal desegregation order still isn't resolved.

Specifically, the order seeks to make schools in the county more racially diverse, leaving parent Chris Goodman to ask why nothing has been done.

"The school board is ready to submit plans to build a new school, and the (Fayette) County Commission seems not to want to provide the funding," Goodman said.

Goodman has been leading an effort to find a solution to the growing problem of diversity.  According school board member Bryon O'Brien, the problem is money.

"We can't be like Walgreens and have a school on every corner to support our constituents and community in Fayette County," O'Brien said.

A proposed plan would consolidate Jefferson and Somerville Elementary, sending students from both schools to a newly constructed building.  But that plan is on hold.

"We don't have the purse strings, the money in the budget to fund ten million dollars or seventeen million dollars to build a new school," O'Brien said.

But Goodman wants to see the Fayette County Commission approve the money for a new school, and see neighborhood schools can be built up.

"It's very common that parents do not want their children bussed out of neighborhoods," he said.

Now, it's up to the Fayette County Commission to decide just how much money to spend to solve this decades old problem.

The Department of Justice, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Fayette County leaders will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, October 19 to discuss that matter.  The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Fayette County Justice Center.

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