Trial Resumes Over Suburban Shelby County Schools - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Trial Resumes Over Suburban Shelby County Schools

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The trial has resumed in Memphis where a federal judge is hearing arguments on whether a state law that allows the six small cities in Shelby County to start their own schools is constitutional.

Proceedings got back under way Thursday after a two-week recess.

The Commercial Appeal reported Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald was asked Wednesday outside City Hall what his city's fallback plan is should the court rule against the municipalities. McDonald acknowledged some of the cities have backup plans, but said he believes the suburban cities will prevail.

Attorneys for Memphis and Shelby County are trying to prove the statute doesn't pass muster, claiming it could apply to only Shelby County, where the city and county schools are combining.

The lawsuit seeks to invalidate an August 2 vote by suburban residents who approved referendums to form separate public school districts for six municipalities in the county.

The suburbs of Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington are currently part of the Shelby County Schools system.

Parents and elected officials in the suburbs say they want to break away and avoid the merger between the larger, struggling, majority-black Memphis school system and the smaller, more successful, majority-white Shelby County district.

The state law that allowed for the vote was challenged by the Shelby County Commission before the vote. But U.S. District Judge Samuel Mays decided to wait until after the vote to hold the trial.

(NewsChannel5 and The Associated Press.)

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