MEMPHIS, TN— A U.S. district judge will make a final ruling on Shelby County Municipal schools on Tuesday after attempts at mediation ended Friday November 23, 2012. The judge will decide whether new municipal school districts should be allowed in the suburbs for the 2013 school year. Shelby County commissioners are split on the issue.
"I want to see a unified school district. I think a unified school district deserves a chance,” said Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy.
"I think the law is clear, there's going to be some type of municipal schools. That's what my stand is,” said Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland.
Commissioner Mulroy is hoping the judge will rule in his favor and unify city and county schools as one district.
“I'm hoping what Judge Mays will do and I think there's a very strong legal argument for this Jackie, is to say that these laws violate the state constitution, municipal school districts should not go forward and we should give unified school districts a chance,” said Mulroy.
Many suburbs, like Millington, already voted to create their own school district. Commissioner Roland says municipal districts are in the best interest of the suburbs.
"I want to do what the people in my district overwhelmingly want and that’s municipal schools,” said Roland. "I also want to see the municipalities, the suburbs, to have the autonomy to do what they see they need to do.”
Judge Samuel Mays will decide if it’s constitutional for the suburbs to create school districts. If so it's not over. There is a part “two” of the federal lawsuit that deals with race.
"The constitution says if race played even a factor in the decision then that's unconstitutional. It doesn't have to be the only factor, doesn't have to be the primary factor but if race played a role in the decision at all then it's unconstitutional under the federal constitution,” Mulroy stated.
Roland says there is no such argument.
"It's just some more arrogant BS from the county commission,” said Roland. '”They're trying to sue the people in District 4 saying that they're desegregating the schools, they need to come to Millington schools.”
If the judge rules in favor of the municipal school districts there will be another trial in January on the discrimination claim. Whatever happens both sides say they will appeal perhaps all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.