So what’s up with municipal schools?

There has been quite a bit of drama the past couple of weeks as it pertains to municipal schools and legislative maneuvering. Lets start with what is for certain:

1) August 1 2013, the prohibition on municipal and special school districts will be raised. At that point, new school districts can start.

2) On August 1st, 2013, the SCS will consist of a seven member board(unless the county commission decides to expand to 13).

3)A couple of weeks ago an attorney general(Cooper) offered an opinion stating  that no referendums or school board elections shall take place prior to the ban being lifted.As a result of the opinion, the election commission pulled the municipal referendums until such time that it would be legal.

4) Two bills have been making their way through the TN legislature. One bill lifts the prohibition on municipal school districts starting Jan 1 2013. The other is an amendment to fashion a Planning process(like Norris-Todd) for municipal school districts starting as soon as it passes.. Lets take each bill one at a time…

The bill to lift the prohibition on muni districts in Jan 1 passed the senate easily. However, once it got to the house education committee, it was amended to effectively only pertain to those counties that have special school districts that utilize the norris-todd path for consolidation. Unfortunate for the rest of the state, including our neighbors like Fayette county, this would leave them out. There are other counties that could utilize this path so it does not only pertain to Shelby County. Shelby County is just going through it. This sends the bill to the house for a full vote. If the house approves, it must go back to the senate for concurrence or to conference committee for reconciliation.

The other bill was a bill on evaluations that was amended on the senate floor to include language to set up a process to create municipal districts prior to the prohibition being lifted. It is not unheard of the amend on the senate floor but the bill sponsor in the house supposedly did not know it was coming. Either way, the senate passed it and the bill went to the house for a floor vote yesterday where it was picked apart. Montgomery wound up pulling the bill and sending it back to the senate or in this case to conference committee. Conference Committee is a joint group of 3 senators and 3 house reps and they reconcile differences. They are picked by the party in power.

So what is the future of the bills? The bills were written to conform with Norris-Todd, however, they are to make sure all the municipal school work can be done so on August 1 2013, municipal schools open. Worst case is that these schools open 2014. Not ideal but better than not having muni districts at all.

I will tell you that In facilities AD Hoc Meeting the other day, that Martavious Jones revealed his hand as he is ready for us to query Judge Mayes on this topic as it has become “ripe” in his mind. So I expect some legal maneuvering soon on this subject. I will tell you as a Bartlett citizen that I just put a contract on another house here is Bartlett. I am here and planning on staying here.

This is how confident I am in our schools in this part of the county. I fully expect schools in the municipalities will have their own school district.


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