Judge rules against creation of municipal school districts in Shelby County
(WMC-TV) - Judge Samuel Mays made a landmark ruling in the suburbs' municipal schools battle, Tuesday.
Mays ruled that the creation of municipal school districts in Shelby County is unconstitutional.
The suburbs were fighting to create their own municipal school districts when Memphis City and Shelby County schools merge in 2013.
Keith McDonald, Bartlett Mayor, told Action News 5 that if the judge decides the municipalities are unconstitutional, we can expect them to appeal that decision. He also said they may form charter schools instead.
"If we go up to the 6th Circuit, those usually last a year or two in appeals," said Mayor McDonald.
The 65 page ruling from federal judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays took some time to decipher.
He said everything done to form municipal schools in the six suburbs is null and void, including the election of school board members.
Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald was disappointed but not totally surprised by the ruling.
"We suffered a mortal wound, but we're not dead," McDonal said. "This lawsuits not dead, case is not dead. He wants more info on other parts and we'll do that while going other things. Ultimately, I think we'll have municipal schools, I just don't know when."
The best case scenario for the suburbs is that this ruling simply delays the formation of municipal schools.
Shelby County commissioners who took them to court disagree, including Steve Mulroy.
He said ruling municipal schools unconstitutional was the right thing to do.
"It might very well be appealed, but I think the judge's reasoning is sound, the opinion is thorough and I think there a strong legal basis in finding that everything done in the past year toward the resegregation of Shelby County education is null and void," Mulroy said.
Judge Mays ruled the law clearing the way for municipal schools was unconstitutional because it only applies to Shelby County.
There are sure to be appeals and both sides have proven their patience.
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