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Memphis Votes To Merge City, County Schools

Residents of Memphis voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to transfer control of their schools to the larger Shelby County, Tenn. NPR's Claudio Sanchez tells NPR Newscasts seven out of 10 voters supported the merger, because Shelby County is preparing to create its own school district. That would limit Memphis schools' access to a shared pot of education dollars.

It also means more than 100,000 Memphis students, nearly all of them black, would combine with about 47,000 Shelby County students, nearly all of them white.

It's a hot brew involving racial issues, educational activists and money. The New York Times explains:

For years, the Memphis and suburban Shelby County school systems operated semiautonomously but were paid for collectively. Taxes were drawn from everyone in the county and divided between the two systems based on attendance. City schools were additionally financed by revenues from a city-only tax.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal says it's not clear if the merger is legal. It's also not clear if a special Shelby County school district would be legal.

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