The View 38002 April 2015

**************ECRWSS**** PRSRT STD ECRWSS U.S. POSTAGE PAID EDDM RETAIL LOCAL POSTAL CUSTOMER inform. educate. connect. 38002.com Arlington & Lakeland’s Community Newspaper April 2015 theview theview DECISION TIME Lakeland Voters to Decide on School Bond The View 38002’s Special Op/Ed Presents Two Opposing Views on Issue By Terry Louderback Residents of the City of Lakeland have been divided on the question of building a joint middle and high school--and its financing through a $0.55 property tax increase and bond issue--for the past eight months. Sometimes civil, and occasionally heated, discussions have raged on social media and in public meetings on the topics, pitting neighbor against neighbor and leading to a crop of yard signs encouraging residents to “Vote Yes for Lakeland" and “Vote No Bond.” So now it is up to the voters of Lakeland to decide. With 13 days of early voting (March 27April 11) before election day on April 16, voter turnout could see a record high. As part of our mission to inform, educate, and connect our community, we contacted the Lakeland School Board and the Concerned Citizens of Lakeland. We invited each group to submit a 500 word editorial to explain to our r ead ers wh y the y should—or shouldn't— vote in favor of the bond issue. Each essay is presented on page 4 in its entirety. The content was not edited and reflects the opinion of the author, not The View 38002. Background to a Vote After plans for a new school were first revealed in April 2014, the Lakeland School Board approved a $50 million, five year Capital Improvement Plan to build “Lakeland Prep,” a combined middle and high school, on July 7, 2014. On October 14, 2014, a full house was present for the Lakeland B o a r d o f Commissioner’s unanimo us vote to approve a $0.55 special property tax solely for the retirement of school bond debt. Lakeland City Manager Jim Atkinson explained that although the tax increase has been approved by the Board of Commissioners, it is will not yet official. “When the [2015-2016] budget is approved in June,” Atkinson said. “The property tax rate that is set will include the $0.55 increase retroactive to January 1, 2015.” The Board of Commissioners authorized the issuance of up to $50 million in general obligation school bonds at the December 11, 2014 meeting. An attempt by Lakeland Mayor Wyatt Bunker to substitute a resolution calling for a special election on the school bond issue failed when it didn't receive any support from the Commissioners. Bunker then abstained from voting on the bond issuance. Under Tennessee law, a public vote on a proposition for the issuance of general obligation bonds is not necessary, unless 10% of the registered voters of the municipality file a petition in protest of the issuance of bonds within 20 days of the public notice. According to information received from the Shelby County Election Commission, the notice from the initial resolution was published o n De ce mb er 1 6 , 2014. Lakeland had 8,272 as of December 16, 2015, and therefore the petition needed 827 signatures of registered voters residing in Lakeland to be delivered to the City of Lakeland within 20 days, or by January 5, 2015. The petition and signatures were delivered to Lakeland as required and subsequently the City of Lakeland delivered them to the Shelby County Election Commission on January 6, 2015. Continued on page 4 Upcoming April Events (visit www.theview38002.com for full community calendar) 12 A Taste of Arlington, 5:00— 7:00 pm, Food tasting event and Silent Auction. 16 Special Election — City of Lakeland Bond Issue Referendum. See page ___ for voting l oc a ti o ns a n d hours. 25 L a k e l a n d E duca ti on Foundation’s First Annual 5K, 9:00 am. 25th Annual Arlington in April Craft Festival. 10:00 am—4:00 pm, Historic Depot Square. Planning a summer camp or VBS in 38002? Add it to our FREE listing of Summer Activities online and in our May print edition. Go to www.theview38002.com/summer for more information and to submit your activity. Special in-section advertising space is also available, call 901-848-4092 or email ads@theview38002.com. Inside this edition... Local Student Set to Fly in Peter Pan, p. 9