Shelby Co. and Suburbs Negotiation over School Lawsuit

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(Bartlett, TN) Shelby County and its suburbs are in the middle of negotiations that could save tax payers millions of dollars.

The suburbs voted to create their own school districts next year, but technically a federal judge could stop it because the county is suing those suburbs saying they create racial segregation.

Bartlett`s mayor says he would like to fight that lawsuit in court based on principle, because he thinks his city would win because the school district doesn`t violate the constitution.

However, he says in the end that could cost tax payers here hundreds of thousands of additional dollars in legal fees. So it could be cheaper to settle outside of court.

The suburbs won’t elaborate on the details of talks going on right now with Shelby County, but Mayor McDonald says a deal could come in the form of the suburbs not accepting capital improvement funds from the county or paying a fee for school buildings.  The catch is the lawsuit must go away.

“We want to just get rid of this. The county commission is spending our money too on high-priced attorneys. They are spending our money and we have to spend our money to defend ourselves,” said McDonald.

Another part of the negotiations are district lines.

McDonald says the suburbs want to educate all students who are in their schools right now, but Shelby County Schools may want to keep kids who don’t officially live in the city limits because each child comes with thousands of dollars from the government.

County Commissioner Steve Mulroy says it would be best for the county to settle too.

“It would save a lot of money on attorney`s fees and we would bring certainty and finally to the school business. So I think it`s in both side`s interest to come to a reasonable settlement,” said Mulroy.

Each suburb`s population looks different, so some suburbs could negotiate their way out of court while others would face a judge.