Municipal school fight swamps suburbs in requests for documents - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DECISION 2012: Municipal school fight swamps suburbs in requests for documents

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(WMC-TV) - Memphis suburbs are scrambling this week to provide thousands of documents to lawyers fighting against the creation of municipal school districts on behalf of the Shelby County Commission.

A subpoena seeking the identities of people who made comments about municipal schools in the newspaper has already sparked a lot of controversy.

Now the 6 suburbs, including Bartlett, have been asked to hand over all similar correspondence.

believes attorneys working to challenge municipal schools are on a fishing expedition.

"I think they're maybe even a little panicked, just hoping they'll find some little morsel they can jump on in court," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

Attorneys requested all email, letters and even voicemail regarding the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools and the creation of municipal school districts.

Bartlett's City Clerk and others in the suburbs have spent compiling all of the documents. In some cases, it's required the cities to hire temporary workers and pay thousands of dollars in overtime.

McDonald said that his email alone contained about 2,500 messages that pertained to either schools in general or municipal schools.

The request is the latest effort to gather information in the ongoing legal fight aimed at preventing the suburbs from forming their own school districts.

Just this week, county commissioners clashed over a subpoena which sought the identities of people behind racially charged comments on the Commercial Appeal's website that may have influenced legislation.

On Monday, the county commission voted 8 to 5 to keep the subpoena process going.

Those in favor of the lawsuit challenging municipal schools say the attorneys are paid to do their jobs, and asking for thousands of documents is part of their work.

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