Apparently it has been 50 yers since a Memphis or Shelby government elected official left office because of a move out of a district. A voluntary resignation occurred in that situation. A person's place of residence is very difficult to establish. Thus in the past half century there has not been a legal finding that an elected official lived outside his or her district, or outside the City of Memphis if they are City Council members.
Over the years, there have been a number of accusations that various elected Memphis and Shelby County government officials have moved out of their districts or in city government, have moved out of the city. Under the city charter, a Memphis council member does not face removal for moving out of his or her district during a term. After being elected and sworn in, a council member is diisqualified for moving only if he or she moves out of the city. The county charter and state law say a county legislative body member shall reside in the district where he or she was elected. Can anyone cite the last time an elected city or county official here had to leave office because of an accusation that he or she had moved out of a district or the city?
On county alone taxes and services, studies in the past have shown that taxpayers in the county outside Memphis heavily subsidize the county services received by city residents and not the other way around. Most Memphis officials, probably including Wharton, incorrectly believe that Memphis residents subsidize county services used by county residents.
To this point, no one has shown me that there has been any plus in this whole process for schools in Memphis, their students, teachers and other staff members. It seems to me that schools in Memphis are currently funded at a lower level than they would have been if a special county school district had been established. People can blame whom they wish for how things have turned out but it was all pretty predictable. It seemed clear from the start that the suburban areas had the clout in the legislature to gain what they wanted for schools in those areas. I am a Memphis taxpayer whose children were served well by Memphis city schools. I never felt that I was "double taxed" for the city's schools. I always felt I was paying more to receive more programs and services. But the advocates of charter surrender wanted to give up that extra and be funded at a lower level. I do not believe that the charter surrender supporters ever fully understood school funding and the financial impact of the charter surrender on schools within Memphis. I make these comments because the point of the editorial was to cite the winners and losers in the schools restructure situation. Maybe there is a hope for the future, but I don't see how schools in Memphis can be considered winners. I think the editorial points this out. jcov40
Rather than outcomes, my interest is in process and procedure and hoping that things will be done openly and knowledgeably. . There are 21 counties in Tennessee where there are overlying county school districts. The situation in one of the counties went to federal court and the judge upheld continuing the election procedures that were in place.
There is just one thing wrong with all of this. The commission did not and does not at this time have the authority to exclude the voters in the municipal districts from the election of county school board members. They will gain that authority only if Judge Mays rules that including the municipal voters would violate the voting rights of the voters from the areas served by the county school board. This is a new issue in the local schools situation and could be a lengthy complicated process. If the majority of commissioners wanted to deal with this issue before the upcoming election they should have started months ago. It really doesn't make much difference whether the board has 7, 9 or 13 members. The bg issue is whether municipal voters will be allowed to participate. It is a state issue by reason of the fact that I have read that Tennessee law requires members of all county elected boards to represent an entire county. During the discussion on the school board structure, Mr. Basar and none of the other commission members gave any indication that they were aware that the state requirement is that the entire county must be represented. If a majority of commissioners wanted to endorse a proposal to exclude the municipal residents from voting, it would appear from a distance that they had sufficent numbers on the commission to do so without the support of any suburban commissioners. The 13-member commission includes seven Democrats who are usually highly supportive of Memphis resudents. In addition, Republican Mike Ritz votes with the Democrats on many school and some other issues. Only seven votes was needed to adopt a school board restructure proposal.
At this point, the county has the 13-member board in place that meets state requirements and faces no further legal challenge at this point. And then there is the proposed nine-member board which still must pass federal court muster and a likely full-fledged hearing. Did Mr. Basar actually help speed up things? Or was it significantly too late to speed up things? jcov40
You may be entirely correct but it will be whatever the courts rule it to be. Until a federal court rules, it appears that the plan that the commission adopted is currently in violation of state law. It seems to me that the commission had some obligation to adopt a plan that complied with state law and then file a challenge if they believed it was improper under the U.S, Constitution. jcov40
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