Bill allowing suburbs a vote on creating municipal school districts passes senate

(WMC-TV) - The bill allowing the Memphis suburbs to hold referendums this year on creating municipal school districts has been approved.

Despite a heated debate, the senate passed a bill 22-9 allowing Shelby County suburbs to vote.

A Germantown resident and mother of four, Paige Michaels, was pleased with the vote and said it is about keeping the school system small.

"When you get too big, you get lost. You know, keep it small. Germantwon was 300 kids when I graduated in '83. Now you've got 300 at Germantown and 500 at Houston, that's too big," said Michaels.

Michaels is a member of the growing organization calling themselves "My Germantown Schools". She says it is a grassroots movement to allow residents to have a voice.

"It was a way to say, 'Germantown, do you want your own school district or do you not? Do you want to go in with the big school district or keep it small?' And we decided we want to keep it small," she said.

Big, yellow signs are sprouting up in yards around Germantown by residents who say they will vote 'yes' to a municipal school district when given the opportunity.

The bill may face further legal review before being signed into law, but Michaels says the suburbs will continue inching forward one sign at a time.

"Give us the right one way or the other, let's start with that first. Then they'll be other things that are going to go into place but we want the right to vote too," said Michaels.

The bill is currently awaiting Governor Bill Haslam's signature to become law. He previously turned down a similar bill on the advice of the attorney general, who suggested that the suburbs should wait on the transition committee plans.

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