Federal court Judge Hardy Mays ruled Thursday that residents in all six of the suburbs outside of Memphis will vote on whether or not they want to form municipal school districts. The ruling comes a day before the start of early voting.
Lawyers for the Shelby County Commission tried to halt the referendums. They argued that the creation of municipal school districts would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which protects against racial discrimination, and two provisions of the Tennessee Constitution.
The judge ruled that the referendums can go forward, but declined to rule on the larger issues.
“He is going to decide the big questions about the laws governing those referendums at a later date,” said Senior Reporter for the Memphis Daily News Bill Dries.
The judge could void the results of the municipal school district referendums. Or he could reject every argument against municipal schools thrown at him by the county commission lawyers.
“No one on any of the different sides in this case declared victory after his [Judge Mays] ruling,” Dries said.