Suburban leaders meet with attorneys in municipal schools battle

Suburban leaders meet with attorneys in municipal schools battle

(WMC-TV) - In less than 24 hours, Shelby County suburban leaders will meet with their attorneys to choose what their next course of action will be after losing the first part of the municipal schools court battle.

In essence, the judge said the suburbs cannot open municipal schools in 2013. But he did not rule on another recent law that says they can open in 2014.

Tuesday, attorneys for Shelby County's six suburbs will meet to form a legal strategy on the future of their schools.

While Judge Samuel Mays voided municipal schools in 2013, he did not rule on the Norris-Todd law that lifts the ban on municipal schools allowing them to possibly open in 2014.

Before Judge Mays makes a decision, he wants attorneys on both sides to give him extra information by December 11.

"We're focused on providing the judge what he needs to allow us to open in 2014 instead of 2013," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

The suburbs say the new scenario could be to open charter schools until the ban is lifted on municipal schools.

By law, charter schools only need approval from either 60 percent of parents or 60 percent of teachers.

"We might do charter schools a year or two in anticipation of getting municipal schools," said McDonald.

Then, voters would have to go back to the polls.

"Then, we could redo our referendum to start the school, and redo our election for school board members," McDonald explained.

They will also turn to the state legislature in the coming weeks to pass laws to achieve autonomy.

"It might be that we would be able to get some legislation in Nashville that would put municipal charter schools under the commissioner of education instead of the local LEA," said McDonald.

Mayor McDonald says citizens gave the leadership a mandate for autonomous schools, and they are in it for the long haul.

He says there are many paths they can take, and those are changing by the week.

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