Only city of Memphis residents may vote in an upcoming election on whether to merge Memphis City Schools with Shelby County Schools, according to an attorney general’s opinion issued Monday.
The city has been engaged in a fierce debate over whether to combine the predominantly black city schools with the predominantly white county system since a December vote by the city school board backing the move.
Proponents, including the Memphis Branch of the NAACP, say a merger is best for children in the county and city.
“The sum of the Memphis City and Shelby County schools can be greater than its disparate, warring parts,” the Commercial Appeal’s Wendi Thomas wrote shortly after the vote.
But opponents fear the merger could hamper economic growth and encourage people to leave the area. The Tri-State Defender recently predicted that combining the school systems would lead to “a further downward spiral of the education system and an unimaginable situation for those that remain.”