MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) – Suburban school districts in Shelby County are against the law, according to the opinion of Tennessee's Attorney General.
As most Memphis-area municipalities plan votes in May to create their own schools, the Attorney General’s opinion could force them to wait until after the merger is complete, and then start over.
“Well obviously I would like to see the ruling first,” said Germantown resident Pat Scroggs, “because earlier we understood that it had been approved.”
But like everything else in the schools merger, not so fast.
An opinion issued March 20 by Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper may have thrown another monkey wrench into the works.
The question was posed to the AG by State Senator Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis), and reads:
Before the opening of the 2013-2014 school year, does a municipality within Shelby County have the authority to take any formal action to establish a new school system?
Tennessee law currently prohibits a municipality in Shelby County from taking any action to establish a new school system.
“I’m not very happy about that,” said Germantown resident Lori Jones, “this is the first I’ve heard of it.”
By means of analysis and explanation the Attorney General offered this:
Restrictions of the Tennessee code continue to prohibit any municipality in Shelby County from taking any action to establish a school district or special school district.
“Even my parents- they’re older- they don’t want that either. I moved to Germantown because it was its own little city, had its own rules.”
But, after the opinion it will not have its own schools; at least for now.
The Attorney General’s opinion was summed up like this:
A municipality in Shelby County can take no action, which would include the holding of a referendum to establish a school district until after the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, assuming the transition is complete by that date.
“Perhaps it is the right decision,” said Scroggs, “but naturally I don’t necessarily agree with it right now.”