MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Commission decided Thursday to delay appointing members to a new unified school board after a federal judge asked the commission for the delay.
In federal court Thursday, Judge Samuel Mays asked Shelby County commissioners to delay their plans for a unified school board. Attorney Leo Bearman represented the county commission.
"I really don't want to discuss the kind of advice I'm going to give my client because I don't think that would be appropriate," said Bearman.
Commissioners decided to delay. A hearing will now be held in one week.
The judge's request is in response to the recent lawsuit filed by the Shelby County Schools to try to block the county commission from appointing a 25-member unified school board.
"We believe very strongly that Tennessee law, which we all pledge to uphold, now states that once the election is certified ,which will happen on Monday, that the Norris Todd Law comes into effect that both the Memphis City School Board and Shelby County School Board will continue to operate exactly as they have been for the next two and a half years at least," said Shelby County School Board President David Pickler.
The lawsuit asks the judge to stop the county commission from creating a unified school board and to either strike down the Memphis City Schools charter surrender or make it clear when a transfer of Memphis City Schools to Shelby County Schools would take effect.
"I know some of our board members were appointed, but I think the court used very sound judgment in terms of setting up a judicial process to make sure we don't appoint a board then have to go back and reappoint it," said Memphis City Schools Attorney Dorsey Hopson. "So again the court did an excellent job."
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