Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grading the Schools Briefs

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 2:11 PM

If U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays was law school professor Mays, how would the lawyers representing various parties in the school system merger case have fared?

State of Tennessee. Got it right: Norris-Todd bill rules. MCS is a special school district. The transition committee rules. The existing school boards continue to exist during the transition. GRADE: A

Memphis City Schools. Got it right: MCS does not answer to the Memphis City Council. The city's "maintenance of effort" funding must continue until the merger. Shelby County schools will succeed MCS upon the court's order and Norris Todd. Got it wrong: The school board charter surrender WAS VALID as was the city council's acceptance of it, as was the referendum. GRADE: B

Current members of the Shelby County Board of Education, including chairman David Pickler. Got it wrong: the current electoral districts are unconstitutional, and the members have no property right to their seats. Got it right: the Shelby County Commission does NOT have the right to hold new elections to expand the board to 25 members. GRADE: D

The city of Memphis: Got it wrong: Norris-Todd is NOT unconstitutional. The Shelby County Commission does NOT have the authority to create a new school board. Got it right: MCS has been abolished for all purposes except the winding down of its operations but school board will not cease to exist until the start of the school year in 2013.. GRADE D

The Memphis City Council: Got it wrong: MCS IS a special school district. The transition committee DOES have authority. The city of Memphis and the Memphis City Council have no authority to oversee MCS during the wind-up period or oversee the transfer of administration. All funding amounts owed to MCS remain due. Got it right: The charter surrender was valid. GRADE C

Shelby County schools: Got it right: Norris-Todd is binding. MCS board should continue to exist during orderly transition. MCS is a special school district. Shelby County Commission can't legally make a new board. GRADE A

Shelby County Commission: Got it right: Current county school board does not represent Memphis and is unconstitutional. Got it wrong: MCS IS a special school district and its board IS NOT powerless during the transition. The commission lacks authority to expand the county school board or create 25 electoral districts. GRADE C

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