Commissioners plan for legal fees in school merger battle - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioners plan for legal fees in school merger battle

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(WMC-TV) - Shelby County Commissioners spent Wednesday discussing how to put money aside for legal fees to fight the schools battle in court.

Commissioner Sidney Chism said he realizes the legal battle over the school merger could be a long and tedious process.
"Nothing is free in the confines of the legal system," Chism said. "If you go to court you got to pay a lawyer, and whatever that cost might be you got to bear it."
Wednesday, members of the Commission's budget committee said bills are already adding up.

"Our attorneys have submitted bills, invoices for billable hours and submitted hours," commissioner Henri Brooks said.

The resolution would allow for the transfer of $85,000 from the Commissioners' Contingency Fund to the County Commission Legislative Operation Budget. The money would be for legal fees incurred by litigation relative to the Unified County School Board.

In federal court last week, Judge Samuel Mays asked Shelby County Commissioners to delay their plans for a unified school board. Mays' request was in response to the recent lawsuit filed by Shelby County Schools to try to block the Commission from appointing a 25-member unified school board.
"It shows he is a very prudent judge and that he wants all the facts before he makes a decision," Chism said.

Commissioners have already asked the law firm representing the Board of Commissioners for a detailed list of legal bills for the school merger issue. We're told the legal fees have totaled more than $30,000.

"We should move expeditiously and prevent further expenditure of dollars for something to fight a quality of education for all children," Brooks said.

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