Municipal school proposal in the hands of a federal judge

Municipal school proposal in the hands of a federal judge
(WMC-TV) - Municipal mayors wanting their own school districts were under a gag order until Friday. 

Now, one of those mayors talks about how a federal judge's ruling could affect your child's education.

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said it all boils down to whether or not it's constitutional to elect a school board Aug. 2013, the proposed start date of the unified school system.

Less than a week ago, five suburban mayors from all across Shelby County gathered for mediation talks downtown at federal court.

Now, those five mayors are waiting on U.S. District Judge Samuel Hardy Mays' ruling before moving on with creating municipal school districts.

"There are buildings, questions of district size, just so many things that have to be decided," said Mayor McDonald.

Mayor McDonald said it's now up to Judge Mays to decide whether or not it's constitutional to elect a unified school board, when the merger is supposed to take place.

"Our attorneys, I believe, have made a good case to show it was constitutional, that in fact it does apply to more than just Shelby County.  That's a litmus test, as long as it doesn't apply to just one jurisdiction," said McDonald.

McDonald said a lot of work still has to be done in order to create municipal school districts. 

If Judge Mays rules in their favor this week, that work can continue.

"Just keep moving forward. Many of us have had, as Bartlett has, a committee moving forward toward policy manuals, decisions about a superintendent, hiring of teachers, facilities, attendance zones, all of those things," he adds.

If the judge declares an election unconstitutional, McDonald said there will more than likely be an appeal to the sixth Circuit Court. 

McDonald said municipal mayors will also look at a plan to for a hybrid charter school program in cities like Bartlett, Millington, Lakeland, and Germantown.

No matter what, he says, they plan to move forward.

"We have whatever it takes.  We committed to this for the long run.  If we don't get it by 2013, then we're looking at 2014 or whatever," added the mayor.

Mayor McDonald said he expects to know Judge Mays ruling the early part of this week. 

Stay with Action News Five for news on his decision when it happens. 
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