Shelby Co. Commission Resolution Could Drop School Lawsuit

(Memphis) The suburbs are busy planning their school districts, but there’s still a lawsuit in the way that can stop the districts all together.

A new plan being introduced to the county commission this week would drop that lawsuit once and for all and give the suburbs the final green light they need for those districts.

So far Shelby County tax payers have spent over $5 million in court, and commissioners say if they continue the battle it could ultimately end up costing more than $15 million.

“Our attorneys are the ones keeping it alive,” said Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas.

Thomas is introducing a resolution at Wednesday’s commission committee meeting to drop the federal lawsuit to stop suburbs like Bartlett, Collierville and Germantown from opening their own schools districts.

“Everyone is seeing that negotiations are happening and the lawsuit may be a hindrance,” said Thomas.

The county and suburbs haven’t decide what to do about school buildings or attendance zones, and with all that in the air Commissioner Steve Mulroy says they must keep pressure on the suburbs and not do away with the lawsuit because it wouldn’t be in the county’s best interests.

He claims the lawsuit could force a settlement sooner rather than later.

“We’re here with similar interest to the unified school board trying to help preserve their autonomy to the situation, and I think we’re on the same page,” said Mulroy.

The last few rounds of negotiations haven’t worked out, and with each passing day tax payers are forking over more and more cash.

School board member Kevin Woods says the district is not taking a position on the resolution or the lawsuit.

Each side says they have the votes to pass or defeat the resolution Wednesday, but even if it fails it will go to the full commission next Monday for a vote.



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