Arlington And Lakeland Settlements Not A Done Deal

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(Memphis) The settlement over Arlington and Lakeland schools must jump through a few more hoops before it’s a done deal.

Wednesday night, Arlington’s Board of Aldermen is voting to approve the plan that will allow them to keep all schools within its city limits for $3.9 million.

Lakeland will vote December 2nd.

That’s the same day Lakeland and Arlington’s school boards are sworn in, and they must also approve the plan.

But before that, the county commission will vote on it Friday.

Commissioners have kept the lawsuit going for over three years costing taxpayers more than $5 million.

Commissioner Chris Thomas says the whole legal battle over schools is a waste of your tax money, and the sooner suburbs can come to an agreement like Arlington and Lakeland did the better.

“I did talk to an alderman from Arlington today who said ‘you know we would have agreed to this three and a half years ago,’” said Thomas.

Friday Thomas and other commissioners will vote on that deal three years in the making.

They must approve it or it's back to the drawing board meaning more negotiations, and more of your money spent on legal fees.

Some commissioners say their own attorneys in the case are trying to manipulate them by dragging this process out longer than it needs to be.

“I am very tired of the attorneys in this case trying to drive our agenda. And calling on Sunday afternoons telling us to vote on something we haven`t even gotten the paperwork for the next day,” said Commissioner Heidi Shafer.

After confronting attorneys Monday commissioners now have the next two days to comb over the settlements before voting Friday.

“We need to look like we know what we`re doing and you can`t do that unless you have read the documents,” said Commissioner Henri Brooks.

Thomas is sitting on a resolution to drop the school lawsuits all together in case all six suburbs do not reach an agreement by December 16th.

Throughout this legal battle many commissioners have told me they are defaulting to the school board to decide what is best in negotiations, and they will support it.

So nothing is certain, if that’s true it looks like the Lakeland and Arlington Settlement could be easily passed Friday.