Suburban mayors plan for municipal school constitutionality ruli - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suburban mayors plan for municipal school constitutionality ruling

(WMC-TV) - Court ended Monday without a word on whether municipal schools in the suburbs are constitutional. The Shelby County suburbs now continue to wait to hear if they will be able to open their own public schools in the fall.

Regardless of the ruling, the suburban mayors have a several plans in place to move forward.

"Obviously, depending upon how he rules, we will probably come back together to have some further discussions," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald says if the judge allows municipal schools, they are ready to hit the ground running.

If not, they may form charter schools and you can expect an appeal.

"If we go up to the 6th Circuit, those usually last a year or two in appeals," said McDonald.

In that scenario, both sides would negotiate what happens in the meantime leading up to the merger next August.

"We would like to not have to go into the second phase of the trial," said McDonald.

The case has two phases.

Phase one, which included mediation, ends this week when the judge rules on the constitutionality of suburban schools, specifically, if state lawmakers gave Shelby County special treatment when they voted to allow municipal schools.

"I believe they're done a great job showing it would apply in at least two or three other counties," said McDonald.

The judge's ruling could eliminate phase two, which would determine whether municipal schools result in racial segregation.

"Our folks are spending a lot of time getting proof for that, if it's necessary," explained the Bartlett mayor.

When the judge rules, the attorneys involved will get an electronic alert. Then, the news will be shared with the plaintiffs and defendants.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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