Suburban mayors wait on municipal school ruling - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suburban mayors wait on municipal school ruling

(WMC-TV) - Shelby County Leaders are on pins and needles as they wait for the ruling in the municipal schools court battle.

A ruling on whether the municipal school districts are constitutional is expected at any time.  A suburban mayor told Action News 5 that Judge Samuel Mays filed the ruling at 4:45 p.m., but it is 1,500 pages long, so it is taking a while to get into the system.

Learning the decision will help Shelby County's six suburbs decide on a specific trajectory to plan their own school systems. This battle is two years in the making.

There are two issues at hand… whether the suburban municipal schools will re-segregate the school system in this area.

It is unclear if they judge will rule on one or both matters.

Suburban mayors who want autonomy to educate their children, as well as the Shelby County commissioners fighting for a unified school district say that no matter what the ruling is, their work is far from over.

"We already have school board meetings set up next week, swearing in of school board agendas that are going out this week. Moving forward with superintendent searches possibly, facilities for superintendent and staff," said Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman.

"At the end of the day, the county commission has to fund all the schools no matter how many there are. We've got to take care of all that. In the suburbs, it's everything. They've decided to fall on this sword," said Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz.

The suburbs have several other options if the judge does not rule in their favor, from the formation of charter schools to establishing new state laws.

However, the municipal school option is the only model that will give the suburbs full economic autonomy.

The other scenarios would mean they still have to answer to the Department of Education's Local Education Agencies for funding.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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