Many questions remain as MCS charter surrender vote looms - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Many questions remain as MCS charter surrender vote looms

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Election Commission chairman said when a newly-elected Memphis City School Board is sworn in Saturday, they could overturn the board's resolution to surrender the charter.

The Memphis City School Board voted December 20 to surrender its charter and let Memphis voters decide whether city and county schools should merge.

Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Bill Giannini said there are many differences between the laws of the state and the laws of the school board.

Memphis City School Board member Martavius Jones said it is very unlikely the resolution will be overturned because only a board member who voted in favor of the resolution to surrender the charter could bring it back up again once the new board is sworn in.

The Shelby County Election Commission has asked the state election coordinator to rule on whether Shelby County voters have the right to vote on the charter issue.  It is also raising questions about whether the election commission can conduct a fair and unbiased election.

"Especially considering some of the mistakes that took place in previous elections, I would just think that Mr. Giannini would execute the election as it relates to this as he has been charged by the state to do so," said Jones.

Giannini said he wants to make sure all the rules are clear before setting an election date.

"All we did was ask a question and suddenly we're being accused of being part of a conspiracy to delay this, that and the other," said Giannini.  "We want to make sure that before we spend a million dollars of your money, that we are going to do it in a fashion that we feel as certain as possible that we're doing it properly and that it's not going to be set aside by a court in three months that says it wasn't done in concert with the law."

Jones said the resolution to surrender the charter says the board may allow voters outside the district to vote, but does not guarantee it.

The state coordinator of election will interpret the law before an election date is set.

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