Haslam signs municipal schools bills - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Haslam signs municipal schools bills

(WMC-TV) - Gov. Bill Haslam signed two bills into law Wednesday that lift the ban on municipal schools in the State of Tennessee. That gives Shelby County's six suburbs the green light to create their own municipal school districts.

Suburban leaders said the new law should nullify court challenges, and there should be another round of referendums as soon as possible.

Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy and her suburban counterparts said municipal schools are now back on track. This is minus the legal barriers that blocked their creation last year.

"We were thrilled to hear the Governor signing," said Goldsworthy. "It was anticipated, but it's always good to check the next thing off the list of things"

(WMC-TV) - A federal judge in Memphis voided a similar bill last year that would have lifted the ban on municipal schools.

The bill appeared to only apply to Shelby County, which violates the state constitution.

The current bills were drawn up to make it clear that the bills apply to the entire state, specifically schools with 1,500 or more students.

Memphis and Shelby County Schools will merge for at least one year because the six municipalities need time to hold elections for school board commissioners.

An election to put a referendum on the ballot to approve municipal schools will happen July 16, voters will also need to elect commissioners in a second election November 5 or 7, and then superintendents will be sworn in sometime in December.

Shelby County School Board member Kenneth Whalum is proposing a delay or suspension of the city and county school merger based on municipal school districts possibly forming. That will be discussed by the full board next week.

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