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Municipal schools hearing courtroom blog

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -


5:18 p.m. - "I must have gotten so fascinated by the analysis I lost track of time." -Judge Mays

5:14 p.m. - Defense expert shows graph: after 30 years of stagnant population, Gibson Co population will inexplicably begin to grow next year... Hmmm

5:11 p.m. - Currently discussing the accuracy of tables on predicting the population forecast for a particular county. /sr

4:23 p.m. - We are talking 6 dimensions, equations and slope/intercept in court. /sr

4:02 p.m. - Judge rules Dr. Hicks is an expert in economic forecasting. /sr

4 p.m. - Judge allows witness to be economic expert, not population expert. So we'll see if his population models will be allowed going forward.

3:58 p.m. - Atty. Bearman saying Dr. Hicks is not qualified to testify in this case. /sr

3:56 p.m. - Atty. Bearman is doing a fairly decent job of poking holes in the expertise of Dr. Hicks as an expert in economic forecasting. /sr

3:47 p.m. - Dr. Hicks is still on the stand. Questioning continues. Judge hasn't ruled on his "expert" status yet.

3:29 p.m. - Plaintiff's are objecting to Dr. Hicks as an "expert" as population forecasting.

2:44 p.m. - Defense has called their own demographer (Dr. Hicks) to the stand. We are now going over his background to establish him as an expert.

2:10 p.m. - Judge questioning Swanson. Asking about Maury County and the building of the Saturn plant there. Swanson says his model projected right.

1:53 p.m. - Population expert says Gibson Co wasn't examined because it has no county school district so doesn't fit muni law requirements.

1:36 p.m. - That's the constitutionality issue. State law says laws cannot be written to only apply to one county.

1:25 p.m. - Population expert testifies that muni school laws do not apply to other areas of the state because there's not enough kids in those areas

1:24 p.m. - David Swanson is back on the stand. Once again going over the report of Dr. David Swanson on demography analysis.

1:22 p.m. - ...and court is back in session.

1:18 p.m. - Back in court following lunch break. Court still recessed, however.

12:13 p.m. - Media interviewing @senatornorris. Says he feels as though testimony "filling time" so far.

12:05 p.m. - Recess for lunch until 1:15 pm.

11:51 a.m. - Swanson asked to forecast enrollment in 5 school districts.

11:50 a.m. - And Mr. Swanson is deemed to be an expert.

11:43 a.m. - We are still getting the life's work of David Swanson. He says he has been an expert witness before.

11:34 a.m. - This is the man currently on the stand.

11:28 a.m. - We are currently getting a history lesson on the life of Mr. Swanson & the books he has written. Establishing him as an expert in his field.

11:19 a.m. - Likely will show other areas do not meet criteria of public chapter 1. Defense's job is to show muni school laws can apply elsewhere in state

11:18 a.m. - Likely Prof. Swanson is here to show that other parts of the state will not have population to support muni schools in the near future....

11:18 a.m. - Swanson has been practicing for over 30 years.

11:17 a.m. - David Swanson, professor at Univ. California Riverside, on the stand. He studies population forecasting.

11 a.m. - Atty. Patterson submitting into evidence depositions from neighboring county officials into evidence. Judge will then read them.

10:58 a.m. - Recess over. Court back in session.

10:39 a.m. - Court in recess for 10 minutes.

10:39 a.m. - Huffman released from stand. His questioning finished.

10:37 a.m. - Statute currently being discussed. 49-5-203 //

10:35 a.m. - Different codes,statutes being discussed. Dealing with rights and privileges of teachers.

10:33 a.m. - Commissioner Huffman testifies he will not have to ensure rights of teachers are intact in creation of muni schools as he did with merger

10:31 a.m. - Wade done with interviewing Huffman. Attorney Patterson (Shelby Co. Commission) now questioning him.

10:25 a.m. - Senator Norris has been taking lots of notes this morning while listening to the testimony of Commissioner Huffman.

10:21 a.m. - Huffman not sure on what would need to be done should municipalities approach him about school districts. Says he'd have to get counsel.

10:19 a.m. - Commissioner Huffman basically has no clue how to proceed with formation and approval of municipal schools. Keeps saying he'll ask counsel

10:18 a.m. - Commissioner Huffman testifies that all 6 suburbs would not be allowed to open. Only 6 districts per county allowed. SCS already exists.

10:10 a.m. - Huffman agreed with question that nothing can be done until the previous is taken care of.

10:09 a.m. - Huffman says no plans from any municipality about school board creation. No plans for superintendent either.

10:08 a.m. - Huffman says he has received no municipal plans from any municipality in Shelby County. Also nothing about student makeup or facilities. /sr

10:07 a.m. - Huffman answers, "I don't know" to a Wade question. He has also answered, "not sure" a few times to questioning.

10:02 a.m. - Wade currently going over the steps that would need to be taken with Huffman should a municipality want to create a school district. /sr

10 a.m. - Huffman says to date he hasn't received plans for municipal school system. His job would be to make sure $ is there.

9:50 a.m. - Wade bringing up that Norris brought up to Huffman the fact that creation of municipal schools was "another tool in the toolbox."

9:48 a.m. - Wade asks Huffman if transition plans included any plans of the creation of municipal school districts in Shelby County. Huffman: "No."

9:43 a.m. - Huffman/Wade going over breakdown of money and budgets for various neighboring school systems for the fiscal year 2012.

9:40 a.m. - Wade presenting Huffman with documents. There have twice been objections because Huffman cannot say for sure documents came from him. /sr

9:33 a.m. - Commissioner Huffman testifies he will not have to ensure rights of teachers are intact in creation of muni schools as he did with merger

9:30 a.m. - Wade currently going over documents with Huffman.Plans, etc. Also copies of website printouts detailing neighboring school systems. /sr

9:27 a.m. - Kevin Huffman (Commissioner of Education) on stand. Wade affirming that he has the duties to carry out transition plans under his job. /sr

9:19 a.m. - Commissioner Huffman basically has no clue how to proceed with formation and approval of municipal schools. Keeps saying he'll ask counsel

9:19 a.m. - Lawyers believe it will take two days to present proof to judge. #municipalschools

9:17 a.m. - Commissioner of Tennessee Department of Education up first. Alan Wade questioning him. #municipalschools

9:13 a.m. -  @senatornorris among the people present in court this morning. #municipalschools (Sen. Mark Norris District 32, Senate Majority Leader)

9:11 a.m. - ...Wade laying out the planning and procedure followed by transition planning for unified system, no planning submitted by muni schools

9:10 a.m. - Memphis City Council attorney questioning TN Educations Commissioner Huffman...


This will be the live courtroom blog for the Municipal Schools hearing in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Samuel Mays.

He is set to make a ruling on the constitutionality of the vote that led to create municipal school districts.


FOX13 Twitter | Lauren Lee Twitter | Steven Russell Twitter

A little background on the case can be found by reading Sarah Bleau's story from this past weekend.

FOX13 reporters Le Smith and Lauren Lee and web producer Steven Russell will be inside the courtroom.

You can also keep up to date by reading tweets from Lauren Lee from inside the courtroom.

The blog will be updated with time stamps and the latest information will appear at the top of the page.

Lauren Lee and Les Smith will have live reports at both mid-day and all the happenings in court on FOX13 News at 5 p.m.

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