School Mediation Could Decide Future Cases

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(Memphis) Attorneys are in negotiations to decide if the law allowing Shelby County suburbs to approve their own school districts is constitutional. 

To be constitutional, the law must apply to at least one other county in the state, and that’s something they're trying to decide. 

There's a gag order in place so no one inside can talk about exactly what's going on, but what they decide will not only have an impact on this case, but also possibly other cases in the future. 

This is proving to be a long and expensive process, and the law will face even more challenges when as deal is reached or the judge announces his ruling next week.

“It's far simpler and certainly far less contentious than the desegregation issues that have the potential of dividing this community once again,” said Shelby County School Board Member David Pickler.

Pickler says that desegregation issue will be taken up next when the judge decides if municipal schools violate segregation laws, but he says both side can choose to forgo that in mediation.

“It has the potential of just beginning what could be a very long and very expensive appeal process that could take this case all the way to the supreme court and could literally keep public education in a sense of limbo for years to come,” said Pickler.

In other words municipal school districts could open as scheduled next August only to be closed for possibly breaking segregation laws.