Meeting With State Legislators Avoids The Obvious

(Memphis) State lawmakers lined up ready to listen and local Mayors and department heads were ready to give their wish list for the new year.

They talked about everything from workforce development to road construction.

But the big elephant in the room no one mentioned, forming municipal school districts.

“I am surprised. It was brought up in passing, but no one has spoken about specific legislation,” said Tennessee Representative G.A. Hardaway.

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald explained why.

“We are not gonna talk about it until we are sure what kind of presentations we need to make before Judge Hardy Mays then we can decide after that what we will share with anybody else, the press, legislators or anybody,” said McDonald.

McDonald says the suburban Mayors are meeting Tuesday to look at their strategy for moving forward after a judge ruled  the state law allowing the municipalities to create suburban schools is unconstitutional.

Now other options including charter schools are big discussed.

The matter could also end up back before lawmakers.

“I am disappointed we don’t have that on our agenda because the legislative delegation needs to have some kind of consensus,” said Hardaway.

 Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown is pushing school vouchers as an option, allowing students to attend private institutions using public dollars.

“We certainly are pushing for equal opportunity scholarships for all children in Shelby County and all children throughout the state,” said Kelsey.

Mayors Mark Luttrell and A C Wharton were also at the meeting Monday, but didn’t discuss the municipal school issue either.

They say their focus is making sure whatever system is in place, students will have the resources to get the best education possible.

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