Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Creative Confusion

Vetoes, overrides, overrules, and overlaps mean muddled outcomes.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM

You say you've had enough of apathy and do-nothing politicians in Memphis and Shelby County? You want civic engagement? You got it. This is what civic engagement looks like:

The Memphis City Council, after much debate and soul-searching and with the support of Mayor A C Wharton, votes to put a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.

The Shelby County Commission trumps the Memphis City Council by voting for a countywide sales tax referendum instead.

Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell vetoes the Shelby County Commission's sales tax proposal.

The Shelby County Commission overrides the mayoral veto and the referendum is back on the ballot.

The county referendum knocks the city of Memphis referendum off the November ballot.

Voters in Shelby County will vote on the referendum in November, unless they live in Collierville, Bartlett, Germantown, Lakeland, or Arlington.

Approval of the countywide sales tax increase would override the sales tax increases approved in those suburbs in August.

Rejection of the countywide sales tax increase would put the sales tax increases in those suburbs back in force.

The suburban sales tax increase, possibly combined with a property tax increase, would fund municipal school systems whose school board members would be elected in November.

Unless the federal court, after a trial that begins in September, nullifies the suburban election results on the grounds that the enabling legislation violated the state constitution.

Then the unified school system is back starting in 2013, and the suburbs are part of it.

Unless the state legislature comes up with new legislation next year that passes constitutional muster and the municipal school systems are back.

Unless the federal court rules in another trial scheduled to begin in November that municipal school districts were racially motivated and violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Memphis and Shelby County school board members continue to serve on the interim unified school board only until September 2013, unless they won seats on the permanent unified school board in the August election and only if the election results were not challenged by a losing candidate and the challenge is unsuccessful.

School superintendents John Aitken and Kriner Cash continue to work for their respective systems unless Cash takes a job in Florida for which he is a finalist.

Aitken serves as interim superintendent of the unified school system until the unified school board completes a search for an omigod superstar superintendent, unless the search committee and board decide to abort the search or do the search but offer the job to Aitken anyway.

The "world class" unified Shelby County school system begins operations in 2013 with approximately 145,000 students, unless the suburbs start their own systems and siphon off 20,000 to 30,000 students.

The unified system starts in August 2013 unless the start is delayed until August 2014.

The 23-member unified school board, which will shrink to seven members in September 2013 unless the Shelby County Commission decides after that to increase it to 13 members, will run the unified school system, except for the charter schools, which are independent and have their own boards, and the failing schools in the Achievement School District, which are run by the state.

The operating manual for the unified school system is the 21-member Transition Planning Commission's plan, unless the unified school board has other ideas and decides not to adopt the plan or adopt only the parts that a majority of its members like.

The unified system starts with a deficit of $57 million, unless the TPC plan's proposed savings are scrapped and the deficit balloons to more than $100 million.

The city of Memphis is off the hook for $65 million a year it used to give to city schools before MCS surrendered its charter.

The Memphis City Council lowers property taxes next year unless members don't cut the budget and have to raise taxes instead or revive the sales tax increase six months from November, assuming it fails in the upcoming referendum.

Got it?

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