TN senator speaks up about school merger

On September 28, 2012, in News 2012, by Mark Norris

WMCTV.com
September 28, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN –  (WMC-TV) – State Senator Mark Norris is speaking about the ongoing merger of the Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools.

The federal trial to decide if state law lifting the ban on municipal districts is set to resume in January, but those in support of these districts are not slowing down their planning.

Municipalities, with the support of voters, have formed committees to establish school boards and plan their new systems which they hope will be up and running when students walk into classrooms next fall.

Still, there are many elements up in the air, including as State Senator Mark Norris explains, how the transition planning commission will plan for the districts if eventually given federal approval.

“I still endeavor to hope that the municipalities can form municipal systems which can be part of the unified system that’s what we had intended from the outset when we passed public chapter one in 2011,” said State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

So, the municipalities would basically operate as a district within a district with shared power, though Norris says the Transition Planning Commission never considered the letters municipal leaders sent the commission.

“I think there are those in power, who are still interested in the consolidation of governments and really less concerned about the education of children. They are using the children almost as a tool,” he said.

The second phase of the federal trial is expected to pick up January 3, but Judge Samuel Mays is now reviewing requests by Memphis and Shelby County leaders that their current rights be upheld.

It is something that could complicate the already complicated case.

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