Governor Haslam Signs Municipal School Bill

Governor Haslam Signs Municipal School Bill

Memphis suburbs are one step closer to creating their own school districts.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis suburbs are one step closer to creating their own school districts. Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill that lifts a 15-year old state-wide ban for creating municipal school districts.

Suburban mayors say they're working fast to schedule new referendums to establish new school districts by next year. Many parents from Bartlett, Arlington, Collierville, and other suburbs always stood by their mayors to create their own school districts. They say this was a "long time coming."

"It feels good. I would love to have different school districts to have their own schools and their own systems. I think it'll be good for the families that live out here in these districts,” said Bartlett mother Rachel Porter.

Many voters approved a referendum last year to create their own school districts in each of their cities, but it was thrown out by a federal judge. Now with the governor's signature, people are excited their vote will matter this time around.

"It’s a fabulous idea. It's way overdue,” said another resident, David Harp. "It's just people wanting to control their own school districts and that's understandable."

“We're really pleased this morning when we got the news,” said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald. “We won’t be electing school board members until November. We'll have to redo the referendum to establish the schools and the ordinances to establish the referendum. So we've got a lot of work to do between now and November."

As the suburbs work out the kinks, Rachel Porter remains hopeful that everything will run smoothly by the time 1-year-old Jackson is ready for school and for his unborn brother.

"Yes I have another little boy on the way,” the pregnant mom told us. “The school district is actually a great thing for us."

There's another bill headed to the governor's desk, Senate Bill 1354. If the governor signs it that will lift the ban to limit the number of school districts per county, currently the maximum is six school districts per county. If the governor signs it there won't be a limit; that's needed because the unified Memphis-Shelby school district and the municipalities exceed the maximum.
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