(Memphis) A federal judge is hearing arguments that could decide the fate of municipal schools in Shelby County.
Thousands flocked to the polls just a few weeks ago to overwhelmingly approve starting suburban school districts, but a decision by Jude Hardy Mays could stop the schools in their tracks.
Both sides are presenting, what they believe to be, proof that argues their case.
Judge Mays is listening to the evidence as he considers if the state, suburbs, election commission or county are right about the creation of municipal schools.
State Senator Mark Norris who wrote the law that allowed for the referendum to create municipal schools said, “A lot of it is irrelevant as far as I can tell, but they are entitled to use up as much time as they can.”
Shelby County Commissioners filed a lawsuit claiming the August referendum, allowing municipal schools, is unconstitutional.
They claim the law singles out Shelby county.
The law’s language specifically says it applies to any county in the state that had a school transition planning commission in place when it was passed, not “may” have.
At the time, Shelby County was the only one.
Some say the law undercut all the work being done by the school transition planning commission.
“It just basically undercut everything they did to allow these municipalities to start creating school districts with a plan in place that didn’t consider them,” said attorney Allen Wade.
Bartlett voters approved creating their own schools, and if the judge strikes it down, their mayor has a ‘plan B.’
“Appeal. Yeah, but I’m not expecting that. I believe our case is very sound,” said Mayor Keith McDonald.
The hearings are expected to last into Wednesday.
Some however believe it will last days longer because of the slow speed of questioning.