A federal judge ruled last week that six Memphis, Tenn., suburbs cannot start public school systems, saying any actions under a state law that initially allowed for the establishment of the new districts are void.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Mays issued a ruling saying the state law that permitted voters in the six Shelby County municipalities to decide if they wanted their own school districts violates the Tennessee Constitution because it applies only to one county.
Voters on Aug. 2 approved referendums to form school districts in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, and Millington. Those suburbs want to break away from the Shelby County district and avoid the planned merger between the larger, struggling, majority-black Memphis school system and the smaller, more successful, majority-white county system.
The state law that allowed for the vote was challenged by the Shelby County Commission and the city of Memphis.
A version of this article appeared in the December 05, 2012 edition of Education Week as District Status Denied For Memphis Suburbs