Manchester city school board revives dormant county lawsuit discussion
During the April Manchester City Schools meeting of the Board of Education, board members re-examined a motion that had tabled the debate of whether to accept settlement from a 2006 lawsuit concerning the distribution of tax collection by Coffee County government.
Director of Schools Dr. Prater Powell advised the board that on Oct. 9, 2009, a motion was made by then board member Bob Bellamy to go along with the board of mayor and aldermen to not accept the money from the county.
“This motion was tabled until we know for sure from the mayor and board of aldermen are going to be doing and also we want some legal opinion,” Powell read.
A motion tabled cannot be debated until it is rendered from the table with a motion, second and a two-thirds vote.
Lisa Gregory made a motion to take the previous motion off the table so “that we can pursue this issue.”
Mike Lewis seconded the motion. It carried with a unanimous vote.
“If that motion has been tabled,” asked board member Mike Lewis, “is the county not [still] responsible for the distribution of some of that lawsuit. The result of that lawsuit was that the county was to make payment to Manchester City and Tullahoma?”
Powell explained that the City of Manchester did not accept settlement at the time, so there are still some questions whether the boards of mayor and aldermen and education have to both agree to pursue the money, or whether the board can pursue the lawsuit alone.
“There are some pretty deep legal issues that I can’t answer,” Powell advised.
Powell will next talk to board attorney Mark Williams “to see where this is with the county.”
Gregory later told the Manchester Times that her intention with the motion was to “see where we are on it – to go back and look at this and see if we are actually entitled to the money.”
The lawsuit goes back to 2006 when Manchester City, Manchester City Schools, Tullahoma City and Tullahoma City Schools filed a civil suit in the 14th Judicial District Circuit Court against Coffee County that alleged that since 1982 the county had failed to share a portion of the “second half” of the sales tax, which the county has allocated to the general purpose school fund…
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