Suburban School Vote Could Be Overturned Again

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(Arlington, TN) A Shelby County Commission lawsuit against the suburbs says the districts would violate equal protection and re-segregate schools.

A federal judge hasn’t decided if that’s the case or not and if municipal schools can move forward if approved today.

News Channel 3 requested an interview with Judge Samuel ‘Hardy’ Mays, who will make that decision, but his office says he doesn’t do interviews.

Some commissioners tell News Channel 3 say he needs to make a decision soon because the longer he waits, the more it could cost taxpayers.

The election commission says Tuesday’s special election costs tax payers about a quarter of a million dollars.

If it’s overturned like the last election, the vote would be for nothing and the suburbs couldn’t have their schools.

Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman isn’t worried, and he believes people in Arlington will finally have their voice heard.

“There’s always that concern about what the judge may or may not do. But the case is there because municipal schools exist not just across the state but also the country,” said Wissman.

Cheryl Pardue was out waving signs with her children to make sure the municipal districts are approved and she says she’s not worried about the judge.

“I think as he looks at the laws and sees what we have going on here is as applicable to everyone in the county and the city, then he will judge accordingly,” said Pardue.

Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey says the judge can’t make a decision until the suburbs start building their districts.

“We don’t know how we’re going to approach that argument until we see how the school districts pan out in terms of demographics and whether they have a fair mix,” said Bailey.

Bailey says he doesn’t believe the suburbs will be stopped over the equal protection issue, because it will be very hard to prove.