Municipal schools bills head to governor - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Municipal schools bills head to governor

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(WMC-TV) - The Tennessee Senate just passed the bill to allow new city schools in Tennessee, 24-5.

This comes less than an hour after the Tennessee House passed the bill, 70-24.

The bills now go to the governor for a signature.

House Bill 1288 and Senate Bill 1353 would lift the 1998 ban on municipal schools.

Dozens of suburban Shelby County mayors, parents and other leaders are in Nashville for today's votes.

Although the bill applies to the entire state, parents in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington are elated.

This now gives them the green light to form their own school systems to avert the merger with Memphis City Schools.

County leaders in rural areas are not happy about the vote because they feel more city schools splinter the tax base.

School merger planners are also against the bills, after they spent the last year putting together the school merger plan.

A federal judge in Memphis voided a similar bill last year that would have lifted the ban on municipal schools.

The bill appeared to only apply to Shelby County, which violates the state constitution.

The current bills were drawn up to make it clear that the bills apply to the entire state, specifically schools with 1,500 or more students.

After the governor signs the bills, the next step is for municipalities to hold an election to choose school board commissioners.

Memphis and Shelby County Schools will merge for at least one year because the six municipalities need time to hold elections for school board commissioners.

It is unclear if any local lawsuits will follow the actions in Nashville.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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