New lawsuits imminent in merger of city, county schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New lawsuits imminent in merger of city, county schools

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County commissioners confirmed Monday that two new lawsuits are now looming in the battle to merge Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

Commissioners said the lawsuits would be filed Monday or Tuesday.  Right before the Federal Court Clerk's office closed Monday, an officials said nothing was on file.  However, such lawsuits are often filed electronically, and can be filed after normal business hours.

One of the new lawsuits would attempt to delay the Shelby County Commission from appointing 18 members to a new unified school board.  The other filing by the County Commission would call for an immediate merger.

The confusion comes from the fact that the merger is on two tracks. It was approved by two entities: The Memphis City Council and Memphis voters.  The council track triggers an immediate merger, while the voter track triggers a new state amendment to delay the merger.

Both school systems, the City of Memphis and a civil rights attorney have filed lawsuits and counterclaims. Now, the Shelby County Commission plans to file its own lawsuit and a counterclaim to the lawsuit that Shelby County Schools filed against them.

"Most of what we're doing is against the County School Board and is with Memphis City Council and the Memphis School Board," Commissioner Mike Ritz said.

Commissioners don't expect the legal wrangling to be over anytime soon.
Also Monday, it was learned if a teacher is appointed to the new school board, he or she would have to give up his or her job.  State law prohibits active teachers from serving on the school board.

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