Judge Approves 13 Member Merged School Board

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(Memphis) U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays has approved expanding the new merged school board to 13 members from the current 7.

But Judge Mays has not yet approved a way for the six new members to be chosen.

In a meeting Tuesday afternoon with attorneys involved in the school lawsuit, Judge Mays suggested holding a special election.

The new members can take part beginning September 1. Those who wanted to expand the school board did so because the 13 districts would match the same 13 districts used to pick Shelby County commissioners in 2014.

Shelby County commissioners had previously discussed appointing the six positions, but according to Chairman Mike Ritz, Judge Mays told them he ‘didn’t recall agreeing’ to appointed positions.

Ritz called the result of the meeting an “interesting twist,” since attorneys from all parties now have to file briefs next week to suggest how the six new members will be chosen.

Ritz said an attorney from the Shelby County Election Commission was present at the meeting and estimated the cost of a special election to be around $400,000.

Since a special election would likely have to be held after July 1st, this money would need to fall under the new fiscal year budget to be discussed beginning Wednesday.

Ritz said that he does not believe the commission will object to a special election, but he said some may object to the cost.

The Shelby County Commission cannot call for a special election, but a judge may order one. In this case, Judge Mays could hear opinions from all parties involved and decide whether to call a special election.

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