By Graham Sweeney
Many citizens have already participated in the referendum on municipal schools through early voting and others are preparing to cast their vote on Aug. 2.
This is a significant day and one that I have been working toward for many months. This day is important to me because one of my top priorities has been to insure that Collierville citizens will have the opportunity to vote on the future of education in Collierville.
The next key date for us is Sept. 4, when U. S. District Judge Samuel Mays conducts a non-jury trial to determine whether statutes allowing referendums on municipal schools this year are constitutional. Our legal team has been working day and night preparing for this trial.
We believe we have a solid case and will present compelling evidence, however, we are approaching the trial with “cautious optimism.”
The judge has indicated that he might issue a ruling in the referendum trial near the end of September.
During June and July, a number of citizens have been expressing an interest in running for the new municipal school district and pulling petitions. The deadline for pulling a petition for the new municipal school board is Aug. 16. This new school board will shoulder an important role related to the future of the schools in Collierville.
Initially, they will have the responsibility of hiring a superintendent who will then begin the process of hiring teachers and administrative staff. Elections for the new school board will be held on Nov. 6.
On July 10, the Collierville Education Foundation sponsored a public forum, which the Town hosted at the Harrell Theatre.
The citizens attending the forum had the benefit of hearing presentations from an outstanding panel of experts and were able to ask a variety of questions ranging from funding to special education programs.
To me this forum was another example of one of the benefits of living in a small town where citizens have access to their elected officials and citizen input is valued.
I can assure you that the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen recognize that a quality education is something that every parent wants for their child. We also understand that the schools are the very heart of this community and that the students deserve to have the best educational experience we can possibly provide.
Throughout this entire process, I have consistently said that we are fully committed to working towards the best possible outcome for Collierville. As we continue to move forward in our efforts, I am fully aware that there will be challenges to overcome. We have a great team of experts assisting and advising us and we will be prepared to address all issues as they arise.
I appreciate all the encouragement and support I receive daily from Collierville citizens. One of the great things about being Mayor of Collierville is having the opportunity to serve such wonderful people like those who live and work in our community.