School board drama heats up with tough decisions looming - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

School board drama heats up with tough decisions looming

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Unified School Board member, the venerable Sara Lewis, was about to deliver what many considered a fitting climax to the worst week the school system's governing body has experienced since its historic inception.

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"And I'm going to do everything in my power to expose what I know has occurred. This is not a threat, ladies and gentlemen. That's a promise!" exclaimed Lewis as she stormed out of Thursday night's Unified School Board meeting.

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Lewis' dramatic exit and her vow to take action came during a board discussion on a controversial measure to outsource custodial services.

"Ya'll know who I'm talking about. And I'm going to find my lawyer and I'm going to deal with this," she went on.

Ironically, Lewis's tirade was the only pledge to move on anything heard during a week that saw two board sessions drift off into a hopeless, decision-less, malaise of self-inflicted paralysis.

"We should move on other pressing issues. And we don't seem to do that. We constantly keep coming back, coming back, coming back to the same issues," said Unified School Board member Teresa Jones.

Board member David Pickler added, "We spent well over two hours tonight discussing things that really are ratifying the point of the judge and I think we're playing right into the judge's hands of him declaring a Special Master."

Meanwhile, Federal Judge Samuel Hardy Mays, continues to make it clear to all parties involved in the school merger, he has decided to take the "whole world in his hands." On Friday, Mays used a teleconference to get parties in the ongoing merger lawsuit to agree to allow him to start interviewing Special Master candidates without them present. However, just as Mays tries to keep the process on target to complete the merger by July 1, there are definite indications of cracks in the Board's delicate psyche.

 "I'm not going to be intimidated by anybody's false timelines. The law says we decide, however long that takes," declared Board member Kenneth Whalum Jr.

Jones said, "It has nothing to do with the magnitude of this merger. It has to do with second guessing and factions within this board who don't want to see certain things proceed at the pace that we as a board have voted."

Unfortunately, for board members, Judge Mays thinks the decisions might require somebody else to make it.

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