MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The lawyers are still making money. Your money. So far, the Memphis suburbs and Shelby County have spent roughly two million taxpayer dollars in the municipal schools fight. Even with the ruling stopping communities from moving forward with their plans to start their own school systems, the meter is running.
“My understanding is attorneys will be meeting Monday,” says Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas. “They will be looking at options of appealing, or legislation, or talk about the charter schools.”
Charter schools must be run by non-profit organizations. No matter how you slice it, Germantown, Collierville, Arlington, Lakeland, Bartlett and Millington aren’t non-profit organizations.
There is this thing called public conversion schools. Any public school could be involved. Unified School Board member David Pickler says, “All it takes is a vote of fifty percent of the teachers, or fifty percent of the parents in that particular school to convert it to charter.”
Not many people know about the law, and many say they can’t remember it ever being used. But if the Memphis suburbs want their own schools in August of next year, David Pickler says it’s something they should consider.
“When you convert to a charter,” according to Pickler, “all of a sudden you receive true autonomy. You go to the Board of Education. They grant you the charter, to allow you to operate that school system as a charter for a period of years. You have the ability to set curriculum, to have the ability to set specific standards like school hours.”
Pickler hopes people will start talking about education and ideas and take the lawyers out of the picture, because there is clearly still going to be a lot to talk about.
“Municipalities are going to get their own school system,” says County Commissioner Chris Thomas. “It’s just a matter of when.”