Memphis City Council weighs in on MCS charter surrender - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis City Council weighs in on MCS charter surrender

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council may soon be dragged into a fight between Memphis City and Shelby County Schools.

The Shelby County Election Commission is awaiting a legal opinion from the state on the city school board referendum to combine the school systems.  The opinion could require the council to approve the referendum before Memphis voters can move forward with the special election.

Councilman Jim Strickland, who is also an attorney, said state law requires council approval to dissolve city schools.

"Apparently, there's a private act that was passed in Nashville in the early 60s," said Strickland.  "From my reading of the act, it appears that we do have to approve it."

Councilman Shea Flinn, also an attorney, said since the city school board is an independent elected body, the council has no say.

"It defies logic," said Flinn.

Flinn said the Shelby County Election Commission is stalling to give opponents time to block the vote.

"All the delay tactics, all the political maneuvering," said Flinn.  "It's time to get serious about education and how to craft the best educational services for every member of our community."

Council Chairman Myron Lowery said the situation is being reduced to partisan politics.

"I think the election commission is losing its credibility by getting involved in issues like this," said Lowery.  "They're supposed to carry out an election on a fair basis.  They're not supposed to take sides by seeking rulings one way or another in an attempt to delay or stall the vote."

Council charter surrender supporters said they are not opposed to an unbinding, symbolic vote to show the public where the council stands on the issue.

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