Shelby County Schools Vote Federal Trial Begins

Sep 4, 2012

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal trial that will decide the constitutionality of a vote that approved the creation of six municipal school districts in Tennessee's largest school district has begun.

A lawsuit seeks to invalidate an Aug. 2 vote by suburban residents who approved referendums to form separate public school districts in six Shelby County municipalities.

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