Commissioner claims municipal school lawsuit wastes taxpayer mon - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioner claims municipal school lawsuit wastes taxpayer money

(WMC-TV) – A Shelby County School Board commissioner is calling on the county commission to drop its lawsuit against the county's six suburbs.

The lawsuit claims that creating municipal school districts in the suburbs will segregate students. But Shelby County School Board Commissioner Dr. Kenneth Whalum, Jr. says the schools are already segregated.

He said the lawsuit is a moot point and its only outcome will be to drain taxpayer money from more important purposes.

"Just drop the suit and let's just be grown-up and educate the kids," suggested Dr. Kenneth Whalum.

Dr. Whalum claims that the lawsuit calling the creation of special schools in the county suburbs unconstitutional is dead on the water.

"This is the language from the complaint; it will 'create' a segregated island or something like that in Memphis City Schools. Well, Memphis City Schools have been segregated for the last 10 years," said Dr. Whalum.

According to the state, Memphis schools are 85 percent African American and county schools are 38 percent African American.

The six suburban municipalities will vote on August 2 on whether they want to create their own school districts.

That would prevent the schools from merging with Memphis City Schools in the fall of 2013.

"Let the suburbs form their own districts. Let Memphis fix ours. Then, down the road, see what happens," said Dr. Whalum.

Dr. Whalum contends the only way to make Memphis racially diverse would be to bus in children from the suburbs.

He said that will never happen, so the lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money.

Dr. Whalum plans to make a formal request to the Shelby County Commission to drop their lawsuit.

A trial is set for September to resolve the lawsuit.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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