County Commission divided on schools issues - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

County Commission divided on schools issues

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The Shelby County Commission tackled two consolidation items on Monday night. They voted to expand the school board to 13 members and also changed course on the teacher residency requirements.

The move still must be approved by the judge over the consolidation case, but he has already given the board the option to expand to as many as 13 members.

The original members of the Memphis City and Shelby County School Board will soon see their terms expire. That would leave the seven people elected to the board in the last election. The commission would appoint six additional people until the 2014 election.

Suburban commissioners wanted to slow the process down, saying municipal schools could change the whole dynamic of the county wide board and the commission would be back to the drawing board. Several attempts were made to stall, but they all failed.

The Commission also took up the residency requirements for MCS employees. After the merger, they become Shelby County employees.

The County has a residency requirement, but Memphis City Schools does not. The Commission was moving toward a five year grace period to give the 1,400 or so employees time to move into the County.

The hope of Republicans was to get a referendum before the voters to remove the residency requirement altogether.

But instead, Republican Commissioner Steve Basar switched sides by proposing an amendment that would grandfather in all the teachers who live outside Shelby County as of March 18, 2013.

To become official, the ordinance still has one more reading.

Suburban commissioners found themselves on the losing end of all these votes.

Commissioner Terry Roland says he plans to appeal to his friends in the state legislature, "These same hypocrites that say I don't want the state running my business are going the same things to the municipalities and the suburbs. So it's just like World War Two folks.  I'm going to Nashville getting my allies and I'm coming back to bomb Hiroshima."

Commissioner Sidney Chism responded by saying, "One of my colleagues here tends to through Nashville in our face on a constant basis, so it don't matter what we do here.  I guess Nashville's going to overturn it anyway."

The ordinance on residency will be up for a third and final reading in two weeks.

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