Lakeland Takes First Step In Trying To Build Its Own High School

LAKELAND, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Growing pains in the suburb of Lakeland, after the school board moved forward Monday night with plans to build a new high school. 

 

However, the city has to approve financing for the multi-million dollar project, and not everyone thinks Lakeland needs its own high school.  Some residents believe the community already has excellent schools. 

 

There's a Facebook group with more than 1,000 members opposing the idea of a new high school in Lakeland.  They simply say there is no need for it, and they ultimately worry their tax dollars will be footing the bill.  

 

Monday night, Lakeland's School Board unanimously approved plans to build a new high school. Currently, students who live in Lakeland attend Arlington High School, but Lakeland Schools Superintendent Ted Horrell says there should be an option for residents to send their kids to a school in their community. 

 

"The initial plan three years ago was to build a combined middle and high school for $50 million, and that plan was taken to the voters of Lakeland, but it was voted down in a bond referendum," Horrell explained.

 

Instead, a $20 million bond was issued to build just a middle school.  Now Horrell says the school board wants to refinance that bond to build the high school, and this time it doesn't require a public vote. 

 

"If they pass this without giving us another opportunity, then they are going against the will of the citizens. The citizens have already spoken on this," Horrell said. 

 

Melanie Mays is one of more than 1,000 people who belong to a Facebook group called Concerned Citizens of Lakeland, TN.  Dozens of members in this group are against building a high school.  This group believes they already have excellent schools. 

 

"There's not an educational need for us to assume this amount of debt right now," Mays said. "While they say they can do this without raising taxes for the schools, that is probably true, but they are going to have to raise taxes for other needs."

 

Tuesday night, Lakeland's Board of Commissioners and the Industrial Development Board will vote on financing the bond to pay for the high school.  The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. 

 


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