Teachers want to intervene in Shelby County, Tenn. lawsuit

Oct. 1, 2012
Judge is weighing whether suburban municipalities may leave county school system and form their own districts

From The Memphis Commercial Appeal: Teachers in the Memphis and Shelby County (Tenn.) districts are seeking to become parties in a lawsuit over whether suburban municipalities in the county have the right to form their own school systems. The teachers want to make sure that their rights and benefits are protected if municipal school systems are created. U.S. District Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays is presiding over legal challenges to the planned creation of new municipal school districts in some Shelby County suburbs. Those municipalities want to form their own districts instead of becoming part of a merged Memphis-Shelby County system.

AUGUST 2012....from The Memphis Commercial Appeal: Declaring they want no part of a unified Shelby County, Tenn., school system, voters in six suburban municipalities have given landslide approval to referendums establishing their own districts. despite the resounding approval of the municipal school district, the issue is far from settled. A U.S. district judge is expected to decide in October whether the state law allowing the referendums violates the Tennessee Constitution.

JULY 2012...from The Memphis Commercial Appeal: Federal Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays has refused to block next month's elections on whether suburbs in Shelby County, Tenn., can create their own school systems. The Aug. 2 election will go forward, and Mays says he rule after that whether the statute allowing the votes is constitutional. Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett, Millington, Arlington and Lakeland are holding referendums to create their own municipal school districts instead of being part of a merged Shelby County-Memphis district.

UPDATE: A trial has been set for Sept. 4 to determine the constitutionality of statutes allowing municipalities in Shelby County, Tenn., to establish their own school system. Earlier... From The Memphis Commercial Appeal: A federal judge refereeing the dispute over the structure of public schools in Shelby County, Tenn., says he will rule on whether it is legal for suburban municipalities to create their own school districts. Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays has ordered an expedited hearing to determine whether he will issue a temporary restraining order halting the referendums that six suburban municipalities have scheduled for Aug. 2. Early voting in those referendums is set to begin July 13. JUNE 2012...From The Memphis Commercial Appeal: The Shelby County (Tenn.) Board of Commissioners is suing to block Aug. 2 elections that could create six new suburban school districts. The suit contends that those who sought the elections are deliberately discriminating against black residents. The filing is the latest step in a dispute over the merger of the the majority-black Memphis City district and the smaller, majority-white Shelby County district. The systems are scheduled to merge in 2013. The county commissioners argue in their pleading that if Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington create their own school districts, they will be majority white. The suit says that legislation that authorizes the suburbs to pursue creaing their own school systems "can only be explained as an attempt to guarantee that Caucasian suburban children would never have to attend a school in the predominantly African-American Unified Shelby County School system – even for one year."

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