Shelby County Commissioners discuss unified school board - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County Commissioners discuss unified school board

(WMC-TV) - In a unanimous vote Thursday, Shelby County Commissioners submitted two proposed redistricting plans to a federal court judge monitoring the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

They all agreed seven school board members are not enough to cover a vast unified school district.

"The representation on the board with seven members is not going to be nearly as good in a county this size," said Commissioner Wyatt Bunker.

Commissioners are exploring their own legal options to expand the new school board to 13 members.  In the meantime, they must move quickly to satisfy the court and get seven new board members on the job.

"Time is wasting," said Commissioner Steve Mulroy.  "There's a constitutional violation, there's principles at stake.  We need people now."

In order to avoid the cost of a special election, the commission is asking the court to place candidates on the October 6 city election ballot.  Any later than that and some commissioners suggest appointing interim board members to get the work started.

That idea did not sit well with Commissioner Terry Roland.

"If you want to be fair about things, let's elect people, not appoint people," said Roland.  "Because I can see Commissioner Bailey over there rubbing his hands.  He's probably already picked out who he wants."

Roland was out-voted, and a motion to appoint interim unified school board members passed.

Commissioners said they hope that before this school year is out, they will have a properly constituted school board.

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