Vote “Yes” for School Unity

January 12, 2011

Statement Regarding Sen. Mark Norris Proposed Legislation

We are very disappointed in Sen. Mark Norris’ attempt to propose legislation that attempts to again disenfranchise Memphians who are 70% of Shelby County, by attempting to stall certification of election results until a transition process is in place and also give non-Memphis residents an opportunity to vote on the charter surrender referendum.  The law is clear on who legally can vote on this issue and as a lawmaker and attorney, Sen. Norris should honor the law.

This proposed legislation is very insulting to Memphians and should be looked upon as another way to ensure Special School District status and permanent boundaries for Shelby County Schools, something that Sen. Norris and Chairman David Pickler have been fighting for in Nashville for close to 10 years.

Sen. Norris states that a vote on this issue now is paramount to a “hostile takeover” and we should have a more orderly process if the citizens approve of the referendum.  There is nothing hostile about wanting to have a unified school district, where all children have an opportunity for a quality education with adequate funding.

As history was being made in Nashville yesterday, as the first female speaker of the state house of representatives was being sworn-in, she was also letting Tennesseans know that partisanship is alive and well in Nashville. Speaker Beth Harwell is the leader for all of the state representatives, not just her party leader. I hope the total Shelby Delegation reminds of her that and fights for the rights of Memphians to be heard through their vote on the school referendum.

Today, Citizens for Better Education move forward with filing our lawsuit against the Shelby County Election Commission to make every attempt to allow the citizens of Memphis to be heard through their vote.