Wharton bracing for both scenarios as charter vote approaches - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton bracing for both scenarios as charter vote approaches

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - As Memphis braces for the vote to decide the fate of the Memphis City Schools charter surrender, Mayor A C Wharton is planning for both scenarios.

"We're going to have to govern regardless of what happens," said Wharton.

Wharton said his goal is to be still in the center of the charter surrender storm.  He said he is focused on solution.

"Not matters of race.  Not matters of incrimination.  Not matters of retribution," said Wharton.  "They did this to us, now we're going to do that."

The fray surrounding Wharton's sentiments include:

-An inquiry by the Election Commission to see if city schools properly filed the referendum to surrender their school charter.

-Debate if the Memphis City Council must first approve the referendum.

-Whether or not county residents should be allowed to vote on the referendum.

-A request for an investigation into the Election Commission's partiality.

-Threats of a lawsuit by Shelby County Schools to stop city and county schools from merging.

Initially, Wharton asked the MCS board to delay its vote to put the charter surrender up for referendum.  Now that it is done, he said it is time to let democracy take its course.

"It's written in the law, it's the American way," said Wharton.  "They're following the law here.  That has been done, so now, let's move forward."

Wharton said there was a chance the referendum could be reversed by the incoming school board.

"I would never just say it can't be turned around," said Wharton.  "Others are speculating on that.  What I have to do is plan for both scenarios."

If the referendum does pass, Wharton said he will work side-by-side with Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell to transition to the combined school system.  If it does not pass, Wharton has other plans.

"Let's jump back in there and get all these financial questions settled as to what the city's going to pay the schools," said Wharton.  "Continue working with Dr. Cash to make sure the schools are safe and a success."

The special election is tentatively scheduled for February 15.

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