Suburban cities take first steps towards forming school district - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suburban cities take first steps towards forming school district

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Less than two weeks after Memphis voters approved a referendum to transfer city schools to Shelby County, county documents revealed Sunday that suburbs are aggressively seeking to keep the school systems separate.

A Shelby County attorney opinion revealed suburban cities are taking their first legal steps towards forming their own school system.

"They definitely don't want to merge with Memphis City Schools and so they're looking at all options," said Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas.

On behalf of suburban cities, Commissioners Thomas and Terry Roland asked the county attorney for two opinions: who controls Shelby County School assets and buildings and what happens to county school property in cities that form special school districts?

"The Shelby County School Board," said Thomas.

While the county attorney has now established the county school board controls all county buildings, only a court can decide who is actually on the board.

This week, the commission plans to appoint unified school board members.  This Memphis-dominated school board might block suburban cities from obtaining county buildings.

Meanwhile, the county mayor and county schools will acknowledge the state's transition plan, which would delay the unified school board for 18 months.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions we still have to deal with," said Thomas.  "So a lot of this is going to have to be decided in court."

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