Creation of Municipal Charter Schools Could be an Option for Suburbs

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(Memphis) A federal judge’s decision to stop municipal schools from opening is not quite the end of the line for those people in support of them.

Both sides are looking at their options moving forward and one of those options could still be the creation of new school districts just in a different way. 

The suburbs have the right to start a charter school anytime they want. 

All they have to do is apply to open one and submit it to the unified school board. 

The Transition Planning Commission gave the unified Shelby County Board a plan on how to run that district. 

A big part of that plan was the possibility of charter schools.

“That would actually give complete operating autonomy with accountability,” said Transition Planning Commission Chairman Barbara Prescott.

That accountability would still come from the unified Shelby County School Board because the schools would still operate under them.

But charter schools would have more freedom with their own board of directors, a separate budget and operation plan.

Creating those municipal charters may not be as easy as it sounds.

The unified board would have to approve those applications.

That's where the state legislature, who passed the unconstitutional bill to create the municipal districts, comes back in.

“There is some movement in the legislature to change that approval process back to the state, so we don't know about that,” said Prescott

But Mayor A C Wharton says the judge’s decision goes beyond municipal schools and will have an impact on legislator’s involvement in local issues.

“I think it has a lot of impact on what the legislature does in the future. The judge made it very clear that he sees through this whole thing. As he calls it a wink and a nod in which you are trying to hurt or help me county,” said Wharton.