Germantown steps closer to muni schools - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Germantown steps closer to muni schools

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With little time to waste, Germantown political leaders held a meeting Monday to set the date for a public hearing and then a referendum to establish municipal schools.

In April, Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill allowing the suburbs to start their own school districts instead of joining the unified district.

Germantown wants to open municipal schools by August 2014, so it has go through the motions. The city expects to hold a public hearing May 23 and will let voters decide if they want to pursue this course with a referendum on July 16.

Eighty-percent of the voters in  Germantown who went to the polls in 2012 came out in support of the municipal schools. They said yes to an increase of a half-cent in the local sales tax to pay for them.

That local political mandate, overturned by a federal judge who ruled the law to establish municipal schools in Shelby County, was unconstitutional.

A new version of that law was passed in Nashville and signed by the governor. Germantown leaders want to check the pulse of the public and get school issue on track.

"I am really excited. I am ready to get going with it," said Alderman Rocky Janda. "I have four grandsons that live here in Germantown, and they are 5 and under. I want it to be the best school system we can have and I want to move forward with it as fast as possible."

Though the meeting last 10 minutes, there some concern about the issue of too many taxes at once for voters to digest. Germantown will have to raise property taxes to fend off a possible deficit and maintain services. The property tax increase does not pay for the schools.

The money will come from half-cent sales tax already approved by voters.

Combined, the two taxes - although paying for separate interests - does mean it will get more expensive for people calling Germantown home.

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