By Kontji Anthony,
April 14, 2013

(WMC-TV) – The two and a half year Memphis-Shelby County school merger battle hits a landmark Monday. That is when the Tennessee General Assembly votes whether or not to lift the ban on municipal schools.

“I’m optimistic about it, I’m hopeful,” said the bill’s author Senator Mark Norris of Collierville.

Norris hesitated to claim victory before Monday’s vote to lift the ban on municipal schools in Tennessee.

“There’s some opposition so you can’t be presumptuous about it, but we’ll do the best we can,” he said.

When the Tennessee House and Senate vote on companion bills 4 p.m. Monday, the powerful Republican State Senate Majority Leader Norris will have a Republican super-majority.

The vote impacts every county in the state.

“I think it’s just a reaffirmation of the importance of parental choice, neighborhood schools and options,” said Norris.

Suburban Shelby County parents want this to avert the merger with Memphis schools, nearly two and a half years after the Memphis school board surrendered its charter.

Even if the vote passes, the merger will happen for one year, because the suburbs need time to elect a school board.

Shortly before Norris left for the state capitol, he addressed the suburban property tax increase that will likely follow Monday’s vote.

“At least in this county, it’s a pill that over 80 percent of the citizens in most municipalities were willing to swallow. They had a referendum last year and it had overwhelming support,” he said.

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