Former Lakeland Mayor Says City Can’t Afford Its Own School District
(Lakeland, TN) In the usually quiet Memphis suburb of Lakeland, one issue that’s beginning to make a loud noise is whether the city can afford to form its own school district.
Dale Jones, A Lakeland homeowner, said, “It is a big issue and although the ones without kids at home it’s not as big, but I can feel their pain.”
Some anti-Lakeland school district or Vote No signs are firmly rooted in front of a few homes.
The man behind the push is former mayor Jim Bomprezzi. He says he’s studied the research and projected costs and he says Lakeland can’t afford it.
Bomprezzi said, “Lakeland is about to bite off something they really can’t chew and that’s not good and that means property values will drop and desirability to live in Lakeland will drop.”
But current mayor Scott Carmichael disagrees. He says Lakeland can’t afford not to form its own school district.
Carmichael said, “Do they want a school that’s run by the citizens of the Lakeland or do they wants schools run by a unified school system with the majority of the people coming from the City of Memphis?”
Carmichael says it’s about Lakeland controlling its own destiny. He said, “It’s a real determination, self-determination of what do we want to be as city and how do we want to care for our citizens, our children and our children’s education in here.”
But Bomprezzi contends Lakeland’s 13,000 residents would have to spend at least $60 million to build and maintain a middle school and high school, and hire and pay teachers, administrators and a superintendent.
He also says Lakeland would have one of the highest property tax rates of any municipality in West Tennessee.
Bomprezzi says right now Lakeland and all of Shelby County need to consider better options for everyone involved.
Bomprezzi said, “Let’s do what’s in the best interest of all of the children of Shelby County and let’s try to get a school system we can all live with comfortably and it won’t be so costly”
Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington have approved ordinances for municipal school referendums for next month, But the Shelby County Commission has filed a motion in Federal Court to derail the suburban votes.