Progress made in schools mediation meeting - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Progress made in schools mediation meeting

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The new year, same old talks between the suburbs and the county on municipal schools.

Parties met in a mediation session in Downtown Memphis and appear to be making progress.

After the mediation session that lasted nearly seven hours with no lunch break, Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman and Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said progress is being made and a framework for a deal is coming together.

"I think we have some pretty firm footing," Mayor McDonald said. "I think everyone understands we still have a lot of friends in high places.  This is only one of many possible steps."

MORE: Judge Mays rules against creation of municipal schools

But there are still some sticking points that they are finding tough to find common ground. What those sticking points are, the mayors would not say.

In November federal Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays, Jr., ruled in favor of the county on the municipal schools case, Which means Memphis and Shelby County Schools will consolidate, for now.

Further litigation leaves the door open to municipal schools after next school year.

Despite the judge's ruling, McDonald and Wissman say the county does not have the upper hand.

"It's just tough to get to some common ground," Mayor Wissman said. "But we've met three or four times over the last month. I think we've made some progress."

The mediation session before the judge's ruling, were conducted by the judge. With these sessions there is a mediator. The parties are in different rooms.

Over the next few weeks, the lawyers will work on the language of the progress made Jan. 3. They plan to meet later this month.

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