Hearing to take place before schools referendum - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Hearing to take place before schools referendum

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MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Federal Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays may still decide to stop the August 2 municipal school referendum.  However, it will not be before a hearing takes place Thursday morning. 

"A lot of this has to do with our ability to vote," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.  "To have self-determination."

McDonald was among those sitting in during an initial meeting in front of the judge Monday evening.  Mays allowed those suburbs whose leaders have voted in recent days to join the lawsuit.

"We'll be telling our folks blow by blow at least what we understand is going on," said McDonald.

Mays said during the Monday "status conference" that he needed to decide this issue as promptly as possible.  He said stopping an election is a weighty thing to do.

"It's also a big deal to have a judge set aside an election if 80 percent of the vote has been in favor," said McDonald.

In filing a complaint to try and stop the election, the Shelby County Commission claimed municipal districts would be segregated.  Judge Mays said he could not rule on that argument without a much longer hearing which could take weeks.

Instead, Thursday's proceedings will deal only with the constitutionality of municipal districts.

Both sides must have legal briefs filed by the close of business Wednesday.

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