Lakeland couple files lawsuit over $60M bond to build school

LAKELAND, TN (WMC) - In debt and upset – a Lakeland couple has now filed a lawsuit over a $60 million bond to build a new school.

Last week, Lakeland officials approved funding the city's very first high school, which could possibly open in 2020.

This new lawsuit questions if the city alone can decide to use bonds to pay for the school.

"The expenditure of $60 million without voter approval is illegal," said lawyer Robert Spence, who represents the couple filing the lawsuit.

That's how much city officials said it might cost to build the high school. Right now, teenagers in Lakeland attend Arlington High.

The people behind the lawsuit said taxpayers should have a voice.

"If the voters approve it, then it's a done deal," Spence said. "If the voters turn it down and that is the will of the citizens, then the citizens have the right now to be indebted $60 million."

The city recently built the middle school in Lakeland, and Spence said proper protocol was followed.

"Two-thirds of the citizens in 2015 voted down a $50 million referendum," Spence said.

But in that case, he said at least a vote was done and taxpayers then rejected using bonds to pay for a new school.

There have also been previous meetings discussing the building of the high school. Many residents have come forward supporting the building of the high school.

"I'm here from the perspective of a parent who is concerned about smaller class sizes," said parent Debra Thomas.

Others said a new high school or not, it's important to make sure residents have a voice, especially when it comes to putting the city in more debt.

We're told more residents may join this lawsuit. The case is due in Chancery Court in a few weeks.

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