Council still has trump card in charter surrender battle - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council still has trump card in MCS charter surrender battle

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MEMPHIS, TN -

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Final approval of a bill that would delay a school merger for two-and-a-half years is expected Thursday, even as the Memphis City Council prepares to fight back.

Tuesday, council member Jim Strickland said the council still hasn't played its could-be trump card: a vote to approve the surrender of Memphis City Schools.

Originally the plan was, "To try to step in, in case the state legislature tried to take away the vote, or dilute the vote with the suburban vote," Strickland said. "They've moved away from that, but we have this whole other issue of the transition and who makes up the transition commission, that we're looking into right now, to see if we can make the deal better for Memphians."

Strickland said he is working now to make sure a council approval of the surrender won't take away voters' opportunity to have a say on March 8th.

He's also working to see if the council has any power to stop some of the things in the bill that passed in the State Senate Monday night, and is now headed for the house.

"That's one of the questions I'm trying to figure out," he said. "Can the council, through its action, trump the state? If so, what actions of the state can be trumped?"

Strickland said his big concern with the bill isn't the two-and-a-half year delay of a merger, but rather the makeup of the appointed transition commission.

"I don't think anyone has a problem with the appointments by the county school board, the City School Board, or the County Mayor. It's the other appointments that are given to the Governor, the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, none of which live in Shelby County," he said.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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