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VOL. 128 | NO. 218 | Thursday, November 7, 2013

Election Day Arrives for Municipal School Boards

By Bill Dries

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Voters in Shelby County’s six suburban towns and cities go to the polls Thursday, Nov. 7, for the second time in a year to elect school boards for their respective municipal school districts.

Election day is Thursday, Nov. 7, in Shelby County’s six suburbs, where voters are electing school board members for their municipal school districts.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

Election day polling places in the six towns and cities are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Follow @tdnpols on Twitter after 7 p.m. for election returns, and The Daily News Online, memphisdailynews.com, for stories once the early vote is in and at the end of the unofficial vote count Thursday evening.

Election day in the suburbs comes after an early voting period in four of the six communities that drew a turnout of 2,091 citizens, or 1.5 percent of the 131,856 voters across the six suburban municipalities.

There was no early voting period at Collierville and Arlington satellite locations because all of the school board races in those two cities are uncontested races.

The largest block of voters in play during Thursday’s elections is the 39,966 voters in Bartlett, followed closely by the 34,781 voters in Collierville and the 32,057 in Germantown, according to Shelby County Election Commission statistics.

Lakeland has a voter base of 8,733, compared with 7,533 in Arlington and 6,746 in Millington.

But a heavy turnout in any of the suburbs will be challenged by the large number of uncontested races.

Of 17 school board positions among Germantown, Bartlett and Millington, only six are contested races.

Germantown voters have a single contested school board race among Edgar A. Babian, Linda Fisher and Paige Michael. The remaining four positions on the Germantown school board are one-candidate races.

Bartlett has two contested school board races. One pits Erin Elliott Berry against Alison Shores, and the other is a contest between Sharon L. Farley and David Cook. The other three seats are uncontested.

Millington has a school board with seven positions and three contested races.

In one, Oscar L. Brown and Cecilia Haley are running. The second contested race features Jennifer Ray Caroll and Tom Stephens, and the third is between Donald K. Holsinger and Charles P. Reed.

Lakeland voters elect all five school board members from a single field of candidates, with the top five vote-getters declared the winners.

The field of seven includes Kevin Floyd, James Andrew Griffith, Kelley Hale, Laura Harrison, Teresa Henry, Greg Pater and Matt Wright.

In each community, the school board seats are citywide positions, not divided into districts.

It was a year ago this month that voters in the same suburbs went to the polls to elect school boards. Before the results of those elections could be certified by the Shelby County Election Commission, U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays voided the results of those elections, along with referendum results from earlier in 2012, on the question of forming municipal school districts.

Mays ruled the state law setting up the process for forming such school districts violated the Tennessee Constitution because it was a law that applied only to Shelby County instead of being a general law.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Legislature lifted the statewide ban on establishing such school districts. That law has not been challenged in the ongoing federal lawsuit over the school districts in the Western District of Tennessee. The only remaining part of the lawsuit is a challenge of the suburban school districts by the Shelby County Commission on the grounds that it would violate the U.S. Constitution by racially “resegregating” public schools in Shelby County.

PROPERTY SALES 106 318 6,336
MORTGAGES 131 363 7,084
BUILDING PERMITS 178 482 13,795
BANKRUPTCIES 40 208 4,301