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Better Bartlett Schools

Greater Bartlett Neighborhood Council brief on April 17 meeting:


Thanks to Paola High for this summary of a very busy meeting.

Another Home Run for the Greater Bartlett Council.  If you were not at the April 17 meeting, you missed a great opportunity to become informed about the current status of the Municipal School System.  The room was packed with concerned citizens who heard Mayor Keith McDonald and Commissioner Terry Roland discuss the FACT from FICTION with regard to the municipal school system efforts and the potential tax increases.  City Attorney, Edward McKinney, Jr. also provided meaningful information to help us understand the process.  We are very grateful that Mayor McDonald returned from Nashville specifically to address the GBC, because he is so passionate about getting a Municipal School System in Bartlett for our precious children.  He respresents the 54,600 citizens in the 10th largest city in Tennessee.  Mayor McDonald returned to Nashville the next day to continue his testimony regarding the various Bills and Referendums being voted on by the Tennessee Legislature.  This may just be the MOST important timeframe in Bartlett's history with respect to the education of our children and the accompanying tax structure to support this endeavor. 

Commissioner Terry Roland provided the following information with respect to the School Consolidation issues.

1.  School Buildings - There are 44 school buildings that were "transferred" to Memphis City Schools that show as being in a "Trust to the Shelby County School Board."  The same standard should be used if the municipality gets their own school system.

2. Teacher Pay - When the consolidation of MCS and SCS occurs, the teachers in SCS (by state law) will have their pay increased to the salary standards set by MCS.

3.  The City of Memphis - Each year, the City of Memphis pays a Maintenance of Effort of approximately $68 Million to MCS.  When the merger happens, that will no longer be paid by the City of Memphis.  For the residents of Shelby County, this means approximately a 10% increase in your County property taxes. 

4.  Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) - "for retirees health insurance, not Pension"

Unfunded OPEB accrued liability obligations:

Shelby County Government....$232,326,000

Shelby County Schools ........$334,015,237

Memphis City Schools .........$1,169,082,486 - that's over one Billion Dollars folks!

There are three ways to pay for these amounts:  1) increase taxes, 2) cut benefits or 3) do nothing and pay as you go.

5.  Based on the discussion as it relates to Single Source Funding (a Unified School System), it will generate a 26% tax increase at the very minimal for all Shelby County residents, according to Commissioner Roland.

Commissioner Roland closed by stating, uniquivicolly, the City of Memphis residents' property taxes WILL most definitely increase, as will all the municipalities.

GBC's President Pete Martin stated wisely that our political leaders can only communicate to us the facts about any particular issue, but it is the Citizens who have the power to VOTE and make them become law.  In America, this is an awesome responsibility which we should not take lightly. We are also fortunate to have the Better Bartlett Schools Council to help us get out the vote.  They need each of us to support and provide our assistance.  There will be more information communicated about their fund raising efforts, so stay tuned!

TPC In Unanimous Support for

Two-Year Freeze of Attendance Zones

The Transition Planning Commission – the group charged

with creating a plan for the new merged county-wide school district – April 12, The group

expressed unanimous support for a two-year freeze on attendance zones in the new

merged district. It was a part of a larger set of recommendations that has not been

voted on that would allow students to continue to secure the various transfers that

presently are allowed in both districts.

The formal vote on the full set of proposals will come in a couple of weeks, but the

Commission seemed clear in its commitment to reassuring parents that redrawing

attendance districts is not its intent. The TPC has embraced maintaining stability as

well as providing quality choices for all students as two of its guiding principles.

"This addresses the often expressed desire of parents in both districts that their

children would be able to stay in their schools," said TPC Chair Barbara Prescott. "The

Commission clearly wanted to make it known that wholesale student reassignment is

in no way on our agenda."

All of the TPC's work to date can be found on the Commission's website at

Created by state law to develop a comprehensive transition plan to guide the

consolidation of the Shelby County School (SCS) system with the Memphis City School

(MCS) system, the TPC is conducting interviews, a comprehensive listening tour, and

extensive research and is developing a plan for a strong new unified system that works

for all the students, families and communities.


Neighborhood Leaders,

We would like to perform a quick, unscientific poll to assist the Better Bartlett Schools Committee in their decision making process.  Please pass the following question electronically to as many neighbors as possible and collect their responses through Sunday. Tabulate the number of "Support", Do Not Support", "Undecided" answers you receive. 

Pass the numbers of each category to Tony Sebbio at by Tuesday, January 31st.  Also, if you could include in the number of how many people were polled, e.g. I sent out 30 email and got the following response:  7 support , 4 do not support, 10 undecided.  Thank you for your assistance.   Pete Martin President Greater Bartlett Council of Neighborhoods   "Bartlett may pursue establishing its own municipal school district.  Based on what you have read in the papers or heard discussed, do you support the idea of Bartlett establishing its own municipal school district? " 

 A:  I support the idea

B:  I do not support the idea

C:  Undecided at this time  

 Tony & Sharon Sebbio 3632 J Alan Dr. Bartlett, TN 38135 PH: 386-6032* 5555 Tylertown Avenue * Bartlett, Tennessee 38134 * Phone: (901) 606-3836 Fax: (901) 248-0681 Email

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