6 Memphis suburbs approve school districts

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Voters in six Memphis suburbs have decided to start public school districts in the municipalities where they live.

Residents of Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington overwhelmingly approved separate school systems in the second vote on the issue in less than a year. A federal judge invalidated the first vote.

The suburbs want to avoid a massive merger between the struggling Memphis City Schools system and the more successful Shelby County Schools system. Suburban leaders fear that education quality will suffer in the huge merged system. Critics say the predominantly white suburbs want to avoid merging with the majority-black Memphis district on racial grounds.

Experts say the merger represents one of the largest school consolidations in decades.

The merger is to take effect in August.

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