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Board approves schools agreement with county

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By Bill ShortFlag City Logo

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved an agreement this week that the city negotiated with Shelby County regarding the local school buildings.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Mike Caruthers and seconded by Alderman Thomas McGhee.
Under the agreement, the city will pay the county school board $2,762,628 over a 12-year period, which amounts to $230,219 a year.
City Attorney Charles Perkins has said the money will come from the Basic Education Program funds that the Millington School Board will receive each year from the state. The first payment will be due in November 2014.
Perkins said the money will be used to pay health insurance and retirement benefits for the county school system’s retired employees.
“It’s basically the premiums on life insurance from the time they retire until they die,” he noted. “And it’s the premiums on health insurance from the time they retire until Medicare kicks in.”
The county school board will deed four schools to the Millington school system – Millington Central High, Millington Middle, E. A. Harrold Elementary and Millington Elementary.
Lucy Elementary will be retained by the county school system, because a majority of the students enrolled there live outside the city limits.
Perkins has said the buildings must be used for “educational purposes” for a 25-year period. He has also noted that Millington’s school district lines will be the boundaries of the city and its annexation area.
The agreement was approved by the county school board on Nov. 26, the county commission on the afternoon of Dec. 2 and the Millington School Board at its first meeting that night.
On Monday night, Mayor Terry Jones asked the school board members to come to the table in the Board Chamber and individually sign the agreement. Then, he signed it on behalf of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Perkins said he must submit all the documents to be signed by the county school board, county mayor and county commission chairman.
He noted that a petition will subsequently be presented to U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays requesting that he approve the agreement and dismiss the anti-discrimination lawsuit that was filed against the county’s six suburban municipalities.
Jones said District 99 State Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett, and District 32 State Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, “did a lot of hard work” in the Tennessee General Assembly so Millington would have an opportunity to create its own school system.
Lollar, who attended the meeting, recalled that he served on the first school board elected in Shelby County in 1998.
“We started on a long road, and we fought a lot of wars up to where we are tonight,” he said. “So, nobody could be any more pleased than I am to see this group and to support it.”
But he told the mayor, aldermen and school board members that, if they do not work together for the children of Millington, they will not be successful.
Perkins said Lollar has done “an outstanding job in putting this deal together” in the state House of Representatives.
“We probably wouldn’t have been able to do this without him,” he acknowledged, “and I want to publicly thank him for all of his help.”
The city attorney said the school board members have an opportunity to “start something new” that not many people will ever have in their lifetime.
“So, this is something you probably won’t see again,” he concluded. “And it gives you all an opportunity to do something spectacular in the city of Millington.”

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