Lakeland residents contest new high school without vote

Lakeland residents contest new high school without vote
(Source: Facebook)

LAKELAND, TN (WMC) - Despite opposition, plans to build the first high school in Lakeland have not changed.

Lakeland Mayor Wyatt Bunker said the lawsuit filed against the city is in the negotiation phase.

Videos are popping up on social media in opposition to the hotly debated $53 million bond issuance passed by the Lakeland Board of Commissioners.

The money is set to build the city's first high school. The debate is now the topic of a lawsuit filed against the city.

When WMC Action News 5 met with Mayor Bunker, we asked why citizens did not vote on the school funding.

"They knew what elected officials were prepared to support," Bunker said. "When we found out it was possible, we did what we said we were gonna do."

Bunker said taking the bond issue to a referendum was not possible because of a tight time frame.

Funding for the new school was voted on by the board of commissioners and mayor and coordinated through the city's industrial development board.

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

"We are open to negotiations, but I also open to taking it to the finish line," Bunker said. "I think we have a winning case."

Currently, Lakeland has its own elementary and middle school, but high school students attend Arlington High School.

Richard Gonzales is in support of a new high school, but only if citizens get to vote.

"If they want to do this then we would like to vote," Gonzales said.

As the #LetLakelandVote movement continues, Gonzales said city administrators should hold off on a new school until everyone has a say.

"It's a big concern with a lot of people," Gonzales said. "A lot of people who have issues."

The original resolution passed by the board of commissioners has expired, but the mayor said plans have not changed and the intention is to pass another resolution related to the bond issues.

The lawsuit is still in negotiation, but WMC will keep you posted with the very latest.

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