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Schools subject of special meeting

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Bartlett aldermen will take the first steps next week toward creating the city’s own school district.

The aldermen will hold a special call meeting at 6 p.m. Monday to repeal an existing referendum that was created in 2012 when the city and several other Shelby County municipalities attempted to create their own districts. Once repealed, the aldermen then will propose a new referendum to create a special election that will allow citizens to vote on whether or not they want to create a new district.

Mayor Keith McDonald said the city hopes that election will be on July 16. The efforts to move forward with a special election now will allow an appointed education committee time to begin creating a new district while school board members run for office. The goal is to have the district up and running by the 2014-2015 school year, he said.

McDonald said he hopes most of the committee the city appointed last year will be interested in serving again.

“I’ll be making phone calls this week to see how many will participate,” the mayor said. “The fact that will take somebody some time to get up to speed (on this issue), I hope I find most are willing to serve again.”

The developments scheduled for the next couple of weeks were made possible by two new state laws that Gov. Bill Haslam signed April 25. The laws allows municipalities that fall into certain criteria to establish new districts if people within that municipality wish to do so. It also repealed a 1998 law that prohibited municipalities from creating any new districts.

Shelby County state representatives proposed the law after a federal judge said several new districts created in Shelby County were unconstitutional, and the municipalities would be able to create the districts only if the laws were changed. The suburban Shelby County communities decided to create their own districts after the former Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools merged into a single, county-wide district when MCS gave up its charter.

Despite the efforts to prevent a unified district, that district is scheduled to start its first school year in August.

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