Six Shelby County municipalities overwhelmingly voted in support of establishing their own school systems.
But will they have the money to fund them?
Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman says his town does. Wissman says the school systems will be funded in two ways.
First of all, each municipality, including Arlington, will receive the federal and state funding that follows each student; he says Shelby County funds approximately $8,900 per pupil.
The second way is through the local funding from the half-cent sales tax increase. According to Millington Mayor Terry Jones, state law requires that each municipality fund their own school system with the same amount of money that would be raised with a 15-cent property tax.
Local leaders react to suburban schools vote
6 Shelby Co. suburbs vote to create muni school districts: http://bit.ly/1dDuuvH
Jones says Millington well surpassed that requirement with the half-cent sales tax: Millington's local portion required for their municipal school system is $240,000 and they collected roughly $1.4 million.
Wissman says Arlington's local portion requirement is $560,000, which he says they've reached with the $605,000 they have from the half-cent sales tax.
"We don't have as much commercial out here as some of the other municipalities do, so that's where they get a lot of their additional sales tax from. So as the town grows and corporate business comes in the more that money will increase," says Wissman.
The six municipalities collected more than a million dollars through the half-cent sales tax increase, but spent much of it on legal fees relating to the municipal schools court battle with the Shelby County Commission.
Bartlett collected $2.5 million through the half-cent sales tax increase; they've spent $700,000 of that in legal fees, consultants. They're expecting to raise another $300,000 as they collect the rest for the 2013 Fiscal Year.
Collierville collected $2.9 million and Millington collected $1.4 million, again, much of that being used for legal fees and consultants.
Germantown collected $1.38 million from the half-cent sales tax; they have $191,000 left after paying legal fees.
Wissman says Arlington used a lot of their funding from the sales tax increase for legal fees and consultants as well. He adds they recently hired former Shelby County Superintendent John Aitken as a consultant for their municipal school system, as have other municipalities.
Arlington's mayor says he and Lakeland's government are discussing sharing services, such as a superintendent, because the two towns are so close and because many Lakeland children attend Arlington schools.
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