MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Nobody's talking about an attempt to reorganize Shelby County schools. The federal judge who will decide if municipal schools can be created ordered everyone to mediation. He put everyone involved from the city, county, state and six municipalities under a gag order.
Is there hope a deal can be reached? Is it fair to the public to order everyone involved to be quiet?
This lawsuit affects almost everyone in Shelby County in one way or another. While the judge may have his reason for wanting all the parties to keep quiet, truth is the public has a right to now what is going on.
Those involved in the mediation left the federal courthouse Monday without saying a word. That is, except Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald, who would only say, "We've been asked by the attorneys and the judge to say as little as possible and we are going to comply with that."
"That sounds indefensible. I can't imagine why, with an issue that is so important to the public, people would be precluded from talking about it," stated Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris.
The mediation is a last ditch effort for everyone to solve the schools issue amongst themselves.
If the judge is forced to decide on the constitutionality of creating municipal school districts in the Memphis suburbs, one side or the other is not going to be happy.
Those close to the situation say truth is coming to an agreement is a long shot.
Harris said, "A lot of personalities have gotten into the middle of this. Someone wants to have the big stick and that's not good for anybody."
County Commissioner Terry Roland thinks the municipalities shouldn't give in. After all, residents in the suburbs voted to create their own school systems and pay for it.
Of course when it comes to striking a deal, those in the know will only say that they can't say anything.
Truth is a settlement may finally put this issue to rest. Taxpayers have already forked out almost $2 million in lawyer's fees. If the judge issues a ruling the losing side will likely appeal, costing taxpayers even more money.