Group halts school charter lawsuit...for now - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Group halts school charter lawsuit...for now

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Attorney Allan Wade Attorney Allan Wade

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - There were more twists and turns in the Memphis City Schools charter surrender fight Tuesday when a citizens' group scheduled to file a lawsuit against the Shelby County Election Commission today put the brakes on their plans.

The lawsuit was to demand that the Election Commission set a date for the charter surrender vote.  Allan Wade, the attorney for the "Citizens for Better Education" descended upon Chancery Court Tuesday afternoon.

"I know this is startling news to you, that I am suggesting that no lawsuit is filed," Wade said.

Wade did not file a lawsuit demanding the Election Commission set a charter surrender referendum date as planned because of a letter from State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins.

"This whole firestorm started when the State Election Coordinator opined that the Council had to approve the referendum before it went to the ballot," Wade said. "He has since then written a letter in which he has somewhat withdrawn his protest."

The letter asks for clarification of the referendum question that would go on the ballot.

"They thought the school board wanted both questions on the ballot," Wade said. "He asked for clarification of what question they want.  They've done that now and that clears up the issue for him.  As I understand from this letter, he is no longer blocking the election."

Wade said the School Board sent the clarification to the Election Commission and the election coordinator Tuesday afternoon.

"Specifically stated they want the question of whether the administration should be transferred to the Shelby County Board of Education," Wade said.

Wade doesn't expect further delays.

"If this doesn't happen within a reasonable time, and I'm not talking about a week, I'm talking about a few days, the lawsuit will be filed," he said.

While Wade's expecting the Election Commission to "promptly" schedule a referendum date, that may not be happening.  Late Tuesday afternoon, the Election Coordinator's Office said their legal opinion remains that the Memphis City Council must vote on the referendum before it goes on the ballot.

And the Shelby County Election Commission says it is not planning a meeting to set the date because nothing has changed.

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