Lawmakers weigh in on MCS charter surrender debate - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lawmakers weigh in on MCS charter surrender debate

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By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - While the city and county school boards race against the clock to push their consolidation agendas, the state legislature in Nashville has put their plans to delay a charter referendum vote back on the fast track.

"Anything that gets in the way of the vote, I am just unalterably opposed to that," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

As Wharton weighted in on the Memphis City Schools charter surrender, legislators in Nashville amped up their efforts to delay the March 8 referendum.

"I think we need to let common sense prevail and a little reasoning prevail," said Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey.  "I don't think anyone has a plan on how to implement this."

Ramsey said next week, state lawmakers will expedite legislation that could stop Memphis voters from voting on the MCS charter surrender on March 8.

"I'm not trying to take the vote away at all," said Ramsey.  "I'm simply saying it's way too quick to let this happen."

Wharton said he detests any plan that gets in the way of the right to vote in a city where people marched and died for that right.

"Once you tell the people that they're going to have the right to vote on something, he or she who gets in the way of that acts with great peril," said Wharton.

Ramsey argued the greatest peril is making a rush decision on merging city and county schools.

"I know what the mayor's actually said, and A C's a good friend of mine, has said that we'll work out the plan after the vote," said Ramsey.  "That's not the way to be doing this.  I think people need to realize exactly what's going to happen if this vote takes place."

State Senator Mark Norris of Collierville and Representative Brian Kelsey of Germantown have submitted bills that would delay the vote.

"More state dollars go into the Memphis City Schools than any other system in the state," said Ramsey.  "We do have a stake in this and it comes down to what is best for the children."

The legislation will be up for discussion at an Education Committee Meeting next Wednesday in Nashville with the goal of getting it on the floor by Monday, February 7.

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