MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com)--Shelby County Commissioners passed a resolution giving Mayor Mark Luttrell authority to decide the fate of county school buildings in suburbs that want to create their own school district. Half of the commissioners said it was a pointless vote, while others wanted to act quickly before state lawmakers step in. County residents worry they’ll end up paying more, whatever happens.
Bartlett parents told abc24 news they care about two things; having the best education for their kids and if that means creating their own school district, so be it. Others don’t want their taxes to go up.
"Yea it looks like the Memphis City schools agenda and what they're teaching is going down hill as we speak, so I would definitely say Bartlett needs to make its own school district,” said a Bartlett resident Douglas Grokulsky.
"I think if Bartlett wants it, it's just going to raise taxes,” said another Bartlett resident Carol Taylor who is undecided about a separate district.
"It's not in the best interest of the children,” said Bartlett resident Darrel Thompson who is against a special district. “What about the parents that have to feed them clothe them, and when they find out that their taxes are going to increase?”
Residents aren't the only ones at odds when it comes to suburbs creating their own school districts.
“I’m not against municipal districts. I’m against a socialist type of stand point,” said Memphis City School President Martavious Jones.
"I think we all wish we could move faster but it's a very complex situation,” said Mayor Luttrell.
It’s a complex situation because no one knows how much it'll cost if suburbs want to create their own school districts and take over school buildings in their area. A resolution passed Friday afternoon asking Mayor Luttrell to negotiate an agreement between Shelby County and the new unified school board about what to do with existing school buildings.
"I hope Mr. Mayor you’ll acknowledge our concerns of urgency, whether we're right or wrong we got that concern,” said Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey who sponsored the resolution.
“We're trying to tell the mayor what to do when we have no authority to tell him to go and negotiate an agreement. So it's just out of line and to me it is about power and money,” said Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas who voted against the resolution.
Mayor Luttrell said he will negotiate an agreement that won't affect the county's debt or taxes.