Suburban mayors meet behind closed doors

Suburban mayors meet behind closed doors

(WMC-TV) - Suburban mayors are meeting with their attorneys behind closed doors to plan their next move to form their own school districts.

The suburbs say they are not going back to the drawing board, but are instead adding to a pre-existing sketch.

Behind closed doors, with Bartlett police standing guard, six municipal mayors tossed around ideas with attorneys.

"We would wanna send a message, again, of cautious optimism," said Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner.

The suburbs are moving forward in the fight to form their own school districts.

Tuesday morning's meeting was the first the mayors have had since a federal judge ruled they cannot form municipal schools in 2013.

They say they are not abandoning the original plan, but are searching for alternatives.

"Lots of good give and take, a lot of what-ifs and what the next steps are and who's going to take those next steps," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

State Senator Mark Norris joined the strategy session.

"We need Shelby County to be strong and sound," said Senator Norris.

He says he will connect the suburban mayors with the state commissioner of education.

"These matters have consequences beyond just the schools," said Norris. "The state cares what happens to education here in West Tennessee."

The mayors say they are determined. Municipal, achievement, charter, or even virtual districts are all possibilities now.

"We're still confident that at some point in the future we'll have control of our own school systems," said McDonald.

A set of legal briefs are due in federal court by December 11.

The suburbs have until December 27 to answer.

They say they expect to meet again, often, and soon.

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