U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays has ruled the Shelby County Schools board will stay at seven members, instead of going up to 13, until the 2014 elections.
In April, Mays said a 13 member school board would represent more of the community.
The Shelby County Commission wanted to appoint the six new members when the 23-member board drops to seven.
But suburb leaders said not so fast. They said the commission wants to appoint the members so they – not the community – have the power and influence over decision-making.
Suburbs’ attorney Thomas Cates asked Mays in April not to increase the board at all, citing the 23-member board’s difficulty with making decisions.
He said a larger board would run into similar problems.
The judge said having some people in the county represented by an appointed member, and others represented by an elected member, could create constitutional problems.
County Commission chairman Mike Ritz said in April that what’s really wrong is lack of representation.
“This community has a lot of neighborhoods in it and you cannot cover all of those neighborhoods with seven,” he said. “You end up consolidating neighborhoods that aren’t consistent with each other.”
For that reason, Ritz wanted to increase the board from seven to 13.
“We’re ready to appoint them now, and the judge wants them to be elected. The earliest they can be elected is December,” Ritz said in April.
A special election for the six new members would have cost taxpayers almost a half million dollars.