A measure that would clear the way for Tennessee cities to begin forming municipal school systems passed Monday the Tennessee House in Nashville.
The measure passed earlier in the Senate and is now headed to Gov. Jim Haslam for his signature.
The proposal sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville was overwhelmingly approved 70-24 on Monday evening. The companion bill was also scheduled to be taken up by the full Senate.
The legislation would lift a 1998 ban that forbids municipalities from starting their own school systems.
It would benefit six Memphis suburbs seeking to bypass a merger of the Shelby County and Memphis school districts and run their own schools.
Suburban leaders say the passage of these bills means municipal schools by 2014. Several suburban mayors and parents traveled to the state capital to support the passage of the bills in both the House and Senate.
The passage by both the House and Senate lifts the ban on municipal schools statewide and resolves the constitutional question that forced the federal judge over the schools case to throw out last year's municipal schools bill because it just applied to Memphis and Shelby County.
The suburbs can expect referendums and electing schools boards to try and have schools in place by 2014.
The Memphis City and Shelby County Schools systems will be unified for at least one year. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of policy differences that have to be decided.
With less than four months away from when students return to class for the 2013-14 merged school year, a lot of families have been patiently waiting to find out which policies will be in place.
For instance, the grading system. It's the same Tennessee uniform grading system for sixth through 12th graders. However in pre K - fifth grade Shelby County schools uses the A through F scale, but Memphis City Schools are using the aligned instructional system, for pre K - third grade, which tracks students progress towards specific academic standards making it less likely for a student to be held back.
It's considered the pass or fail policy.
There is also the corporal punishment issue, which is not an approved disciplinary measure for MCS, but it is allowed in the Shelby County Schools system.
Also, MCS students are required to wear uniforms. Shelby County students are not.
Truancy, suspension, and what requirements a student must meet to keep his or her drivers license, are just some of the many policy differences parents want to know the answers too.
FOX13 News reporter Marcus Hunter and Associated Press writer Lucas Johnson II in Nashville contributed to this report.
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