Early voting for municipal schools begins - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Early voting for municipal schools begins

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

This time of the year about the only "reruns" you can usually find are on TV.

But, for voters in Shelby County's six suburban communities, July signals the beginning of a second opportunity to form their own school districts.

As baseball philosopher Yogi Berra once said..."it's like deja vu all over again."

Outside the bustling voting precinct that is the New Bethel Church in Germantown, the operative word was "yes." Presented with a second chance to cast their referendum ballots in favor of forming their own municipal school districts, hundreds turned out to politically let their voices be heard on the first day of early voting for residents in Germantown, Bartlett and Collierville. Hoping to be among the "earliest of the early birds," when the polls opened at 10 am, was a determined Jackie Flaum.

"The place was jammed," Jackie said. "You walked in the front door and you had to walk almost to the back. Not quite, but almost to the back, of that big long building…I think people are just saying even if only one person votes, we're good to go.

It's been almost a year since fervent voters in the six municipalities first came to the polls in staggering numbers to pass school referendums. This was the scene in July 2012 when our cameras captured enthusiastic people in Arlington and Germantown at packed polling precincts. Only to have federal judge Samuel Hardy Mays declare the process and results null and void. But, now with a special election back on the calendar and slated for July 16th, financed by the half cent sales tax each municipality also passed last year, the "deja vu" aspects of the situation are obviously of little concern.

Ken Hoover, the founder of My Germantown Schools was very happy with the turnout. "We're thrilled. We're thrilled with the voter turnout today. We're thrilled with the attendance at our rally. Our goal was to send a message that Germantown remains deeply committed to our school and I think we've absolutely succeeded today."

Early Voting Times and Locations

So, reminiscent of the movie "Ground Hog Day", Hoover will join four others who were elected last November to compose a new Germantown Schools Board, in running again for the same seats this November. Yes, legally, that never happened either. But, in this "brave new world" of Shelby County education, everything from here on in counts....including the reality of a merged system for one year beginning next month.

Hoover says, that reality aside, parents in his community are still committed to what's best for the children. "PTA membership is up. PTA commitment is up. We all understand that we've taken some blows. We've lost about 45 school based personnel out of the suburban schools. But, we know we have to step up and make this a good year for our children."

Early voting continues through July 11th, 2013 at selected locations.

Election Day is July 16th.

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