The Williamson County Commission Budget Committee has approved plans to expand Page and Brentwood middle and high schools to keep students from being rezoned to other parts of the county.
The committee voted 5-0 on Monday to approve the plan, which will go before the full commission next Monday, May 8, according to the Williamson Herald.
Funds from a builders education impact fee that went into effect March 1 would be used toward debt service for the projects. The committee approved $4.9 million for the first phase of the Page expansion and $17.2 million for the Brentwood project, the Williamson Herald said. The total cost of the three phases of the Page expansion would be about $43 million.
Parents have pressed for more funding, even starting a movement called Fund Our Schools, which has created a Facebook page and launched a petition drive.
In Brentwood, there has been talk of pulling out of Williamson County Schools and forming a city school system to ensure Brentwood students stay in Brentwood schools. Candidates running in Tuesday’s city commission race addressed the topic at a debate last month, saying such a move now would be premature but might be something to consider in the future.
Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said a long-term solution to managing school growth will likely involve raising taxes, according to the Williamson Herald. Possibilities include raising the wheel tax, sales tax or property tax as well as adjusting the highway tax upon approval by the state legislature.
The county’s net debt is about $520 million.
Williamson County receives less money from the state per pupil because of the amount it is able to generate in property taxes, Anderson said. But the county is growing so fast, it’s hard for the school system to keep up, he said.