On Wednesday, March 28th, the House Education sub-committee will consider House Bill 3234. This bill lifts the moratorium on municipal school districts state wide. This is good law. Any municipality that is large enough to meet state minimums (2,000 school age children) should have the right to decide whether or not they wish to operate a school district. Passing this bill would do two things for Germantown: 1) It would make the recent Attorney General opinion irrelevant. If the prohibition is lifted now, the AG doesn’t have to split hairs on whether or not passing a referendum “establishes” a school district. 2) It would eliminate any other potential timing disputes, such as State Board of Education approval. This is HUGE.
There are 2 Memphis legislators and 1 suburban legislator on this sub-committee. Although education should not be a Republican vs Democrat issue, this bill is sponsored by Mark Norris and will be passed (or not) by the 8 republicans on this committee. We can absolutely count on support from Ron Lollar of Bartlett. We need 6 of the other 7 Republicans to vote yes. We need to give these 7 a reason to vote yes. Hearing from you, even though you don’t live in Knoxville or Chattanooga, may be the push that puts this legislator in the Yes column. Please email AND call all 7 of these State Representatives and ask for a yes vote. At a minimum, 600 emails will get their attention.
It’s important that your request be in your own words. Tell him or her why you think this is good law. Some ideas you might draw from are included at the end of this message.
1) Address the Representative by name
2) Reference the bill – HB 3234
3) Ask for a yes vote
4) Do 1-3 in the first sentence
5) Say why
6) Be brief
Ideas for “WHY”
Smaller is Better– Four decades of research shows that smaller school districts deliver higher levels of student achievement at lower cost. The “ideal” school district size is usually judged to be between 4,000 and 20,000 students. (www.smallerschools.org, www.mygermantownschools.com) Speaker Naifeh is wrong. Forcing large, inefficient, ineffective school districts is the wrong answer for Tennessee and will keep us near the bottom of national rankings in education. Communities should be ENCOURAGED to take ownership of their schools.
Local Control – The government that works best is the government closest to the people it serves.
Municipal Services – Every city deserves the right to choose what services to provide. 27 TN cities currently provide school services (plus 10 city based SSDs). There is no reason to prohibit any city from operating a school district of reasonable size. HOW can you support the idea that some cities should be allowed to operate a school district but other cities must be prohibited from doing so?
Republican Majority– Republicans enjoy a 1 seat majority in the House. 5 of the 51 Republicans come from Shelby County. High quality education options are important to keeping Republicans in those seats.
Other – There are many other reasons that HB 3234 is good law. Just remember, “Because I want you to” may not convince a Knoxville representative to listen to a Germantown resident. Focus on why this policy is good for everyone rather than why it is good for you.
Representatives to Contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org (615) 741-6879
email@example.com (615) 741-7476
firstname.lastname@example.org (615) 741-2180
email@example.com (615) 741-1350
firstname.lastname@example.org (615) 741-1721
email@example.com (615) 741-7084
firstname.lastname@example.org (615) 741-3893
email@example.com 800-449-8366 x15981
If you have friends or relatives in other parts of the state, you may be able to persuade them to contact their representative and request a yes vote. Here are the areas served by each of our target legislators:
Hensley – Lawrence and Lewis county
Carr – Rutherford County
Harry Brooks – Knox County
KevinBrooks- Bradley County
Dunn – Knox County
Maggart – Hendersonville / Sumner County
Montgomery – Sevierville / Sevier County
Start typing. Get on the phone. Let’s get a municipal school district sooner rather than later.