County and Suburbs Look Beyond School Ruling

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(Memphis) Shelby County Commission Chairman Mike Ritz says he doesn’t expect either side to appeal a federal judge’s decision about the constitutionality of municipal schools. 

“I think it means more to the suburbs than it does to the whole county because each of the suburbs have spent a lot of political and emotional capital,” said Ritz. 

Ritz says he believes a higher court will uphold whatever decision the judge makes.

The whole question of constitutionality is over Senator Mark Norris’s law that allowed the suburbs to vote on municipal schools and a tax to pay for them. 

Norris told News Channel 3 he disagrees with Ritz saying he expects an appeal. 

That possible appeal would rack up even more legal fees in this very expensive process. 

So far, the County has spent $200,000 and is looking approving $400,000 more Wednesday. 

The suburbs are all chip in to pay based on their population with Bartlett paying the most because it’s the biggest. 

Bartlett has already spent $350,000 And is the mayor is asking for $250,000 more to pay for existing legal fees. 

Ritz says suburban tax payers don’t realize their money is being spent to pay for the county’s attorneys and the suburban attorneys.

Just a taste of what spending would be like if suburbs have their own schools. 

“Suburban tax payers are going to be paying for two school systems. They’re going to be paying for their own and they’re going to be paying for the unified system,” said Ritz. 

County property taxes would pay for county schools and the sales tax voters approved in the municipalities would pay for municipal schools.