New merged school district on horizon in Memphis


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — More than two years of legal fighting, political acrimony and parental anxiety are culminating in a massive merger of the Memphis and suburban Shelby County school districts.

The consolidation creates the Unified School District, with 50,000 students in Memphis and Shelby County, and officials are preparing for classes to start next month. Experts call it one of the largest U.S. school consolidations in recent history.

But a key vote Tuesday could change the landscape of the system after just one year.

Six majority-white suburbs of the smaller, successful Shelby County Schools district are eager to avoid the merger with the struggling, majority-black Memphis system. They've decided to try to start their own districts. Voters and mayors predict victory. The six new systems could be up and running in 2014.

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