City leaders set date for municipal school district referendums

(WMC-TV) - The date is now set for when Memphis suburbs will hold their referendums to potentially create municipal school districts.

A general election could be held in Shelby County on August 2, which would tentatively allow Memphis suburb residents to vote on a sales tax increase for municipal schools. Whether the suburbs can decide if they want their own school district will appear on the ballot pending Governor Bill Haslam's signature.

"We have no reason to believe the governor is going to veto it," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald, who says the suburbs are outlining their plan on the basis of two referendums.

"To have the referendum for the schools on at the same time as we have the sales tax referendum and if that passes, then to be able to elect the school board in November," said Mayor McDonald.

During the vote, residents will have the opportunity to decide if they want to increase their sales tax by half of a cent, or if they vote 'No', residents will anticipate no less than a 15 cent increase to their property tax.

"The 15 cents gives us $1.8 million, the .5 cent increase gives us $3.2 million," explained McDonald.

All of the consultation and budgeting about how to pay for the municipal school systems still depend on residents voting 'Yes'. Almost certain that this is what the city wants, McDonald says they are ready to head to the polls.

"We'll call some special call meetings in the month of May once that happens so we can have that on the August ballot. Each suburban city is now preparing an ordinance to present to the election commission by June 1 in order for the referendums to appear on the August ballot," said McDonald.

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