Municipal Schools Getting More Expensive Because of Legal Fees

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(Bartlett, TN) Most people thought the fight over municipal schools would be contentious, but many people are surprised by how much it costs.

Suburban tax payers are facing the possibility of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees if approved by aldermen.

“It's more complicated and more expensive than I would have anticipated. But the time of it, I knew it was going to be a long process,” said teacher and parent Sharon Fryman.

She believes Bartlett should create their own schools.

Her mayor, Keith McDonald, is now asking for an additional $250,000 to fight for those municipal schools in court.

“I know it's necessary. I'm not happy that's how my tax dollars are being spent, but they’re this far into it. They've already approved the vote so they kind of have to see it through,” said Fryman.

McDonald says he believes the $250,000 will get the city through the rest of the hearings.

Bartlett has already spent over $100,000.

“This kind of trial, with the constitutionality and the race piece of it, would usually be a year or two in federal court, and it's getting compressed down into three months,” said Mayor McDonald.

He says the speed of the federal hearing drives up the costs and they aren't able to spread out payments.

Monday, Collierville capped legal fees at $200,000, doubling what they already set aside.

All suburbs are chipping in different amounts to pay for attorneys based on their size.

The municipalities and the Shelby County Commission will be back in court September 20th for the continuation of the constitutionality hearing.