Suburbs plan to challenge decision on municipal school districts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suburbs plan to challenge decision on municipal school districts

(WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Election Commission said suburban cities cannot vote on their own school districts.

The decision is already being challenged by officials and residents.

"The municipalities request for a referendum election had a procedural defect," said Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Myers.

The Shelby County Election Commission said that defect will not allow for a scheduled May vote on municipal school districts.

"I guess in some ways you could say it was the cart before the horse," said Myers.

On the advice of their attorneys and the attorney general, Myers said the law requires the complete consolidation between Memphis City and Shelby County Schools before those seeking municipal school districts can move forward.

"They're throwing wrenches out there," said Bartlett resident Anthony Hall.  "They're doing everything they can to stop this."

Bartlett is one of the six suburbs looking to form their own school system.

"Still allows the suburbs to vote on whether they want it or not, whether they want the property taxes to go up or whatever," said Hall.  "Let us have our say in all this, because they didn't give us a say in the merger."

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said this decision by the election commission is only an interpretation that he plans to challenge.

"We agree that our school systems can't operate until then," said McDonald.  "I think the interpretation is wrong and we'll probably have to seek injunctive relief."

"We think we've made the right decision and we'll just see what happens," said Myers.

Discussions are currently underway with the legal advisors and mayors from each suburb on how to move forward.  McDonald said they will likely challenge the election commission's decision as a unit rather than individual cities.

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