Lakeland And Arlington To Partner For Schools

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(Arlington, TN) Shelby County's suburbs have spent millions of tax dollars to create their own school districts, but now two of the suburbs claim they want to come together to make schools work.

Arlington and Lakeland are in an agreement and planning out the partnership as they prepare to elect school boards.

By state law Arlington and Lakeland must each have their own school district, but both towns are coming together to share many other things like school buildings and a superintendent.

“It’s kind of a marriage made in Heaven right now I would say. We have so much in common with the schools and the neighboring community it just makes sense,” said Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman.

Wissman and Lakeland Mayor Elect Wyatt Bunker held a meeting Friday morning to plan out the partnership.

Before any of the plans are official each town’s school boards will have to approve it.

They will be elected in November.

“We can start working to get our policies together and our plan to put a lot of that in motion so when they take office December 1st we can implement a lot of those plans,” said Wissman.

Under this plan students who live in the towns will keep going to each other’s schools.  It will be paid for by the half cent sales tax passed last year.

“We need them for the capital improvements and they need us for the students and the money. In Tennessee the money follows the child,” said Mayor Elect Bunker.

Bunker says the two districts also hope to share a superintendent, and they really want former Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken.

“It’s cost saving. And both school systems need the other,” said Bunker.

Bunker and Wissman say overtime there shouldn’t be any tension between the two because the superintendent will report to each board individually.

Right now the suburbs don’t know which services they will share with Shelby County, and they won’t know until the pending lawsuit to stop municipal schools is settled.

Right now the suburbs and the county commission are negotiating a settlement to end the law suit costing tax payers millions, and if approved it’s expected to be made public anytime now.