By Richard Locker,
May 15, 2012

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law today the lesser of two bills lawmakers approved regarding the establishment of new municipal school districts in the Memphis suburbs.

Senate Bill 2908 by Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, lifts the ban on the creation of new municipal school districts in the section of Tennessee law governing municipal governments, effective with the transfer of administration of Memphis City Schools to the Shelby County board of education in August 2013. That’s the same time the ban will be lifted under the provisions of last year’s “Norris-Todd Act,” or Public Chapter 1, but that measure lifted the ban in the section of Tennessee law governing education, not the section on municipal governments.

Norris told the Senate last month when the bill passed that SB 2908 “doesn’t change any deadlines or accelerate anything,” but rather cross-references and clarifies the lifting of the ban in a separate section of Tennessee Code overlooked last year.

The governor last week signed into law the more important of this year’s two bills on the issue: House Bill 1105. That measure allows suburban cities in Shelby County to hold referendums this year on whether to establish their own school systems, and then hold school board elections in preparation to start new school systems for the 2013-14 school year when the ban is lifted.

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