Petition demands charter surrender be placed on ballot - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Petition demands charter surrender be placed on ballot

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A new group said it will fight to combine Memphis City and Shelby County Schools.

Minutes after announcing its inception Friday, a campaign called Citizens for Better Education filed a petition with the Shelby County Election Commission demanding the Memphis City School charter surrender be placed on a ballot for referendum.

"The people clearly want to have their voice heard on this," said Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn.  "And we owe them that."

Flinn said, by law, the petition should for a referendum in this case.

"We'll look at it," said Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Bill Gianinni.

Gianinni said election commission attorneys are already reviewing the petition to determine if Memphis City Schools' bond and debt status allows the petition to qualify.

"It'll go through a review process," said Gianinni.  "Ultimately will be submitted to the board of commissioners based on that review process and either approved or denied."

Citizens for Better Education accused the election commission of stalling on purpose.

"I will say to Mr. Gianinni to let the people be heard," said Representative G.A. Hardaway.  "Stop blocking the vote."

Gianinni said he is not blocking the vote and has no dog in the fight.

"Some political people ... in this city have the luxury of making statements without corroborating them with any facts," said Gianinni.  "Urgency on the part of some is not our primary issue.  Our primary issue is making sure we get it right."

The election commission meets again January 27.  The petition will likely be considered at that point unless other issues arise before then.

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