School Building Bill Dead in Nashville

On January 26, 2012, in News 2012, by Mark Norris

Lauren Lee,
January 26, 2012

Memphis, Tn – Mark Norris confirmed to Fox13 that he will not sponsor a bill intoduced Tuesday by fellow Republican Curry Todd to give school buildings to the suburbs. Norris did say that he reserves the right to sponsor similar bills in the future.
The deadline for the senate bill to be filed was Thursday. When it was not filed, the bill sponsored by Representative Curry Todd died.
Norris told Fox 13 he wants to let the local efforts on consolidation have more time and he says representative Curry Todd does not plan to push the bill that was filed Tuesday.
The bill would have allowed for school buildings within city limits to be transferred to that city when creating Municipal School Districts. The buildings would be free of charge and the debt would stay with the county.
The municipalities are ready to create their own districts so they can separate from the consolidated Memphis and Shelby county schools.
Buildings would be a big financial barrier if they had to pay, and some Memphians have said they should have to be bought, but this bill would have cleared the way for that.

But, for every house bill there needs to be a senate bill to go through the process. Senator Mark Norris was expected to sponsor the companion bill, but there was pushback to the state getting involved in a local issue and not just from memphians.
“The governor has serious concerns about this legislation because he believes the transition commission should have time to do its work,” said David Smith, Spokesman for Governor Bill Haslam.
Shelby County Mayor and republican, Mark Luttrell agrees, “I’d like to see these questions about the merger of our two systems into one be decided at the local level.”

Now that the bill is dead, the power is back in the hands of the Unified School Board. That board decides what happens to its buildings.

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