Timeline to possible Bartlett school district presented - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Timeline to possible Bartlett school district presented to public

(WMC-TV) - The City of Bartlett took the first toward creating a municipal school district Wednesday night.

Residents looking for the easiest path to a Bartlett school district left Wednesday's presentation with more questions than answers.

Based on the timeline presented by a consultant, Bartlett residents could be voting on the creation of a school district soon.  The city attorney has already been tasked with writing the referendum.  Next would be public readings of that, and then a public hearing.

"We should move for a referendum vote at the end of May," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

The big question for many is how much a separate school district would cost taxpayers.

"I'm here as a resident and I'm concerned about the increase of property taxes," said Bartlett resident Mattie Brown.

The two options suggested by consultants are a half cent sales tax increase or a 15 cent increase to the current property tax rate per $100 of value.

The consultant admitted those figures could vary based on the actual number of students.  Many parents said putting their children first is going to cost.

"What they are talking about is a very minimal cost to our citizens and to grow our children," said parent Rebecca Jones.

One thing the consultant could not answer is who would get the buildings in Shelby County.  Parents said Shelby County Schools has given Memphis buildings in the past, so the same should apply now.

"Buildings have been built, they have been negotiated when they were annexed in," said Jones.  "No one has a problem with that."

Members know they could get pulled into a legal battle over this at any time.  Alderman Jay Rainey hopes that can be prevented.

"They may feel strongly enough about that that conversation, compromise won't work," said Rainey.

Residents will get to ask their own questions at the next meeting with the consultant tentatively scheduled for February 6.

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