VOL. 126 | NO. 44 | Friday, March 4, 2011
County Schools Adds Commission As Defendant In Consolidation Suit
By Bill Dries
The Shelby County Schools system has amended its federal lawsuit on the schools consolidation referendum to include the Shelby County Commission as a defendant.
The original lawsuit, filed Feb. 11, listed as defendants the city of Memphis, the Memphis City Schools board, the state of Tennessee and parts of the federal government.
The County Commission was added in an amendment filed Thursday because of the votes the commission took Monday to create a 25-member countywide school board including Memphis, along with a redistricting plan.
“It is entirely unclear by what authority the (County Commission) purports to expand and reconstitute the board of education of Shelby County under the circumstances present in this case,” the amended lawsuit reads, citing “conflicting provisions” in private acts, state statutes and constitutional principles.
“This court should declare the rights, duties and legal relations of the parties with respect to the expansion and reconstitution of the (county school board) if any such expansion or reconstitution is required or permitted by law.”
County commissioners in favor of the countywide school board plan approved this week expected the legal action that the county school board had already authorized its attorneys to take without a further vote by the board.
The lawsuit seeks a federal court order that would set the terms of a transition to a countywide school system, should Memphis voters approve the MCS charter surrender in Tuesday’s referendum.
The county school system is seeking an expedited hearing on the matter before U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays. No hearing had been scheduled Friday.