Suburbs Halt Local Municipal Schools Negotiations

Suburbs Halt Local Municipal Schools Negotiations

Suburban mayors have pulled out of school negotiations with Memphis and Shelby County.
CORDOVA, TN (abc24.com) - School merger negotiations have failed. The suburban Shelby County mayors called it quits Friday. The mayors tried to compromise after a judge ruled against municipal schools in the county. A visit with Nashville lawmakers this week changed everything for Shelby County mayors.

Parents tell ABC 24 News they don't care about all the politics, they just want to know what school their children will go to and if they'll get a good education.

"We have looked at private schools. I was trying to decide and watch the news and figure out what they're going to do,” said Beth Palmer, who recently moved to Cordova.

Palmer moved out of Nashville because of a similar big unified school district.

"It didn't seem to make a lot of people happy, it didn't seem to work for me,” said Palmer.

But with negotiations ending, Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald says the 2013-2014 school year has been decided for suburban kids.

"Their children will be educated under the unified school system,” said Mayor McDonald.

Parents are not happy.

"I think the school system should be in that community, not governed by the whole entire city like Memphis, it's too large. I don't agree with it,” said Palmer.

"I think education is the best thing you can give for your kids and if we can't do it as a county or as a city then I'll find a place that can give him an education and a good start in life,” said Bartlett parent Shari Russenberger.

Mayor McDonald says ending negotiations does not mean quitting on creating municipals school districts. It just means the mayors will not settle with county commissioners and leave it to a judge.

"So the county commission just continued to go back to issues that the school board has the right to negotiate. They wanted to set us up in this agreement so we had to negotiate with the school board under their terms, and that's just not acceptable," McDonald said. “We just let the judge know we're ready if he wants to go ahead and rule about moving this forward.”

There's also another legal matter at hand, how municipal schools would be formed. If the judge rules in favor of allowing municipal schools in Shelby County then there's the issue of possible racial discrimination within the schools. That will take on a whole new case.




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