Shelby Co. Cities Plan to Move Forward Again with School Districts

Shelby Co. Cities Plan to Move Forward Again with School Districts

One signature. That's all six Shelby County cities are waiting on to move forward with creating their own school districts.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - One signature. That's all six Shelby County cities are waiting on to move forward with creating their own school districts.

Governor Haslam is expected to sign a bill allowing them. Local mayors and supportive parents are ready to take action.

It will take two more elections. Germantown's mayor says the process feels like déjà vu.

All six suburbs passed laws last year that are now invalid. Cities are now preparing to begin the process all over again.

"We're happy with the outcome of the vote," says Derek Venckus. He's the parent of two Bartlett school kids and a member of the Better Bartlett Schools, a grassroots group that's been advocating municipal school districts the last two years.

With the legislature just voting to allow statewide municipal districts, supporters in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington are now planning to once again hold elections.

Each city will have to hold two: one asking voters to again vote yes or no on the school districts, a second to elect school boards.

"We certainly don't take anything for granted," Venckus says. "There is going to be an election of some sort. Now we've got to make sure the people are behind this and we get the people to the polls to support municipal schools when that vote does come about."

Germantown's Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy says it's a detailed process. Lawyers for all six municipalities are working toward completing it as soon as possible.

"We believe the vote will turn out as it did in the past," Venckus says. "We're going to work hard to make sure it does turn out that way."

Each city's mayor and board of aldermen must hold three readings on the school referendums. Most will likely then hold special elections.

Mayors say lawyers are looking into how that will work, when the elections will take place and how much they will cost. It will likely be next week before cities are ready to release specifics.

Parents like Venckus are ready to campaign once again. "Right now we've just got to ensure the vote is a yes vote," he says.

"People area already begging us for signs again. I'm getting emails all day," says Mick Wright, a fellow member of Better Bartlett Schools.

There's still a lawsuit waiting to go before a judge on whether municipal schools would be discriminatory based on race.

As for challenging this week's ruling, a Shelby County commissioner, the group who sued the municipalities over this in the past, says they could still challenge it.
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