Suburban voters hit the polls for municipal schools, a second ti - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suburban voters hit the polls for municipal schools, a second time

(WMC-TV) - Memphis suburban voters will hit the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots, a second time, in an election that will decide the outcome regarding the creation of municipal school systems.

Supporters have scattered "Vote Yes" signs, shirts, and mobile billboards across satellite cities of Memphis since Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett, Lakeland, Arlington, and Millington initially put local schools up for a vote in early 2012.

The suburban effort for local schools in municipalities started shortly after Memphis City Schools surrendered their charter more than two years ago. The suburbs were fighting to create their own municipal school districts before Memphis City and Shelby County schools merged; municipal districts would allow suburban areas local control and accountability in their public schools.

All six municipalities voted in favor of establishing local schools in an election last summer. With the exception of Millington, all municipalities also voted for the half-cent sales-tax increases to pay for the schools. As the taxes stayed, Judge Samuel Mays ruled municipal school districts in Shelby County were unconstitutional – which threw out those votes.

Mays' ruled the districts unconstitutional because creations of local schools only applied to Shelby County – and not the state of Tennessee. Gov. Bill Haslam signed two bills into law in April that lifted the ban on municipal schools in the state. That gave Shelby County's six suburbs the green light to create their own municipal school districts.

Since the law was redrafted and now applies to the entire state, rather than just a county, another vote is required.

A local political analyst says that all six suburbs are expected to vote yes as before.

At a recent rally encouraging residents to vote yes for municipal schools in Germantown, current Shelby County Board of Education commissioner Mary Anne Gibson said municipal schools are about preservation.

"We've got to fix this," she added. "I want my children to be able to come back here from their time in other parts of the world, and I want them to come back and raise their families."

Regardless if the referendum passes or fails, suburban students will be enrolled in the recently merged Shelby County Unified Schools district this upcoming school year.

Voting information:

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

  • Tennessee drivers license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo

The polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday.  They close at 7 p.m.

To read more about grass-root efforts for municipal schools in Your Neighborhood click one of the below:

Stay with Action News 5 and WMCTV.COM Tuesday night for the latest on election results.

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