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Drinking charge doesn’t mean Memphis school board member will lose his seat

Shelby County Schools board member Scott McCormick, right, was in court Monday after being charged with drunk driving over the weekend.
Shelby County Schools board member Scott McCormick, right, was in court Monday after being charged with drunk driving over the weekend.
Houston Cofield/Daily Memphian

A Memphis school board member’s drunk driving charge will not cost him his position of helping to govern Tennessee’s largest district, according to state law and board policy.

Shelby County Schools board member Scott McCormick was charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence, and failing to yield to oncoming traffic over the weekend after his vehicle hit another car while leaving a hospital gala downtown, according to a police affidavit. All charges are misdemeanors.

Shante Avant, the board’s chairwoman, said Monday it was a “personal matter.”

“There’s no legal action the board needs to take at this time,” she said. “We’re glad Scott is OK.”

McCormick, whose district includes Cordova and unincorporated rural parts of the school system, is the chairman of the board’s superintendent search committee. His committee has proposed a resolution to the full board to suspend the national search and hire interim superintendent Joris Ray. McCormick has not publicly said if he supports the resolution. But the board has gained a new member since beginning the search, and if McCormick had lost his seat, the additional change could have affected the outcome.

Two of the three people in the other car were sent to the hospital with no serious injuries, according to court records. McCormick was released from Memphis Police Department custody on a $1,000 bond early Sunday morning. On Monday, his hearing was delayed until May 1.

Board policy and state law deal mostly with mishandling school money, and don’t seem to address these kinds of charges against school board members. There are no references to possible dismissal. McCormick and a spokesman with Tennessee School Boards Association did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

According to police, McCormick had a “heavy odor” of alcohol when an officer approached him after the crash outside a parking garage on Front Street. McCormick told the officer he had “one drink about an hour ago” at the Regional One’s annual gala. He was arrested after police conducted a sobriety test. The blood alcohol limit in Tennessee is 0.08 percent.

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