Judge Tells Commission To Think Twice About School Lawsuit

(Memphis) A federal judge is warning the Shelby County Commission to think twice before continuing their lawsuit to stop suburban schools.

Commissioners claim state laws passed this year undermine their lawsuits, so moving forward could be a time and a waste of money.

Commissioner Chris Thomas is calling an executive meeting between commissioners and their attorneys Monday to go over the options.

Throwing the lawsuit out would mean no more speed bumps for suburban schools.

Right now the Shelby County Board of Commissioners is suing the suburbs saying the creation of their own school districts re-segregates Shelby County.

A federal judge is telling the board to rethink that.

“I think what he’s trying to indicate is that we may want to reconsider it because it may be a waste of time,” said Commissioner Heidi Shafer.

Shafer has always been against the lawsuit and says this tip from the judge could have other commissioners reconsidering their support of the suit.

“I believe there is going to be a new willingness to look at avenues to try to solve things. I’ve always been about working with people rather than having a school war,” said Shafer.

Shafer said she believes that new willingness comes from the fact that the lawsuit is expected to cost tax payers over one and half million dollars doubling what they’ve already spent on legal fees, and causing the mess with seeing in Shelby County Schools.

Commissioner Chris Thomas expects movement at the beginning of September because that’s when a new chairman of the board will take over.

“I am hopeful that based on the judge’s new ruling that under the new leadership with Commissioner Harvey he may be willing to say let’s move on,” said Thomas.

News Channel 3 reached out to upcoming chairman James Harvey about where he stands on the lawsuit, but he didn’t return our call.

Commissioner Harvey’s assistant told News Channel 3 he met with the attorneys Friday regarding the lawsuit.

Commissioner Shafer says she expect public hearings in the upcoming weeks for debate.

Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman says the ball is in the commission’s court, and it would be financially beneficial for all of them to stop now.

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