Voters choose to form municipal school districts

DECISION 2012: Voters choose to form municipal school districts

(WMC-TV) – Voters decided that all six suburbs should create their own municipal school districts.

The referendums passed by an overwhelming majority in each suburb.

The suburbs have been hoping for a chance to create their own school districts before the Shelby County Schools and Memphis City Schools merge for the 2013-2014 school year.

The plan prompted Shelby County commissioners to file a lawsuit to stop the measures from making it to the August ballots. The lawsuit claimed the law allowing the vote violated the state's constitution.

A federal judge made the final decision not to stop the referendums from appearing on the Aug. 2 ballot, giving voters the power to make the decision.

The voters made their voices heard Thursday at the polls. Each suburb decided it would rather take its community's education into its own hands.

"It's the right thing to do for the children, and the community," said Germantown resident Wendy Williams.

State Senator Mark Norris is the person who crafted the controversial legislation which cleared the way for municipal school elections.

"As I've campaigned the last three or four months, I will say I've found very few people who did not want neighborhood schools - that's really what it's about," said Senator Norris.

The federal judge that ruled over the lawsuit did say that if he later determines the formation of municipal school districts is unconstitutional, he will not hesitate to withdraw the election's results.

"You know, we still have that promise from Judge Mayes that if he rules it unconstitutional, he has no problem about turning over the election," stated Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner.

"I'm just glad that we're actually here tonight to let the voters have their say and see where everybody wants to go whether it's in Arlington, Collierville, Bartlett, wherever. People wanted a change to speak and we'll know tonight with those results," said Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman.

So what will happen next?

Action News 5's Jerica Phillips spoke with Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald Thursday to find out specifically what his city will have to do now that the municipal school district vote passed. Click here to read more about the City of Bartlett's plans.

The sales tax ordinance in each suburb, which will raise the sales tax from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent to help pay for the municipal school districts all passed, except in Millington.

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