County Commission Approves School Settlements

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(Memphis) Lakeland and Arlington schools are one step closer to a reality as the Shelby County Commission overwhelmingly approved the settlements to drop the lawsuits.

As Bartlett, Collierville and now Millington fall in line with very similar settlements, the commission is sending a clear message about the future of schools.

In the approved settlements, Lakeland and Arlington get to keep all school buildings in their city limits and must pay Shelby county schools a fee to cover SCS employee costs like retirement.

Lakeland must pay $670,000 And Arlington has to shell out $3.9 million.

That's based on size.

"After three and a half years of dealing with this, it is way way past time," said Commissioner Heidi Shafer.

Friday, county commissioners approved that plan, calling it fair.

"This sets up kind of a domino affect for the other agreements to start going because it's our understanding that most of the other agreements are boilerplate language of this one," said Shafer.

The only person who voted against settling was Commissioner Henri Brooks.

She didn't like the idea of giving up the right to sue again over the equal protection.

"Now that we are into a settlement and it's be dismissed with prejudice it would take another lawsuit and I couldn't ask tax payers to do that when we had the opportunity to take care of everything," said Brooks.

Commissioners did make a change to the settlement.

They added a provision that requires the suburbs to honor bonds taken out yo build the schools.

This keeps the bonds tax exempt.

The settlements just have one more step before the suit is officially dropped.

Arlington's school board and Lakeland's aldermen and school boards must approve the plans when they are sworn into office December 2nd.

That same day, county commissioners have called a special meeting to approve the other suburbs settlements.