Municipal school districts bill passes Senate committee - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Municipal school districts bill passes Senate committee

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A Tennessee Senate committee passed a bill lifting the ban on municipal schools putting the Shelby County suburbs one step closer to forming their own school systems. But the battle is not over yet.

Though suburban parents see the committee vote as a breakthrough, they are still bracing for more hurdles ahead.

"We're just cautiously optimistic," said Phillip Walker, Better Bartlett Schools. "Just like when we voted overwhelmingly to have municipal schools."

The parents with Better Bartlett Schools say the Tennessee Senate committee vote that brings the Shelby County suburban municipalities closer to educational autonomy is exciting, but there is a lot of work to do.

"We still have an election coming up if the bill passes and we have to ensure the municipal schools referendum passes once again in Bartlett," said Derek Venckus.

All six municipalities will have to hold another set of school board elections since a judge voided the previous law lifting the ban on municipal schools.

The parents hope the wording in the bill this time around will satisfy the courts.

"We assume it's going to pass in Nashville. Even if that happens, there may still be some court troubles," explained Mick Wright.

They say when it comes to education, smaller is better.

"We'll be a smaller more manageable organization. It's going to be better managed," said Mike Burn.

Another parent says there has been a misconception in the media about the suburbs' motives.

"We're not just completely one race out here and we're not racist as we're being portrayed," said Jennifer Proseus.

Over the next couple of weeks, the group will send parents to Nashville to monitor the bills' progress.

There are companion bills in the Tennessee House and Senate.

The parents hope they will pass in the next couple of weeks.

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