Better Bartlett Schools is now Better Bartlett

Better Bartlett Schools was founded in April 2011 in order to explore the issue of school consolidation and to assist the city government and the community in defending Bartlett from the merger’s harmful impact.

The committee led the referendum in favor of Bartlett municipal schools in August 2012, and again in July 2013. In October 2013, the committee hosted a forum for the first Bartlett school board candidates. In March 2014, the committee transferred control of the “bartlettschools” username on social media networks to the new Bartlett City Schools district, coinciding with a change in its own name and focus.

Now as Better Bartlett, we continue to seek ways to serve the City of Bartlett and its residents. Please join us at, or on Facebook and Twitter at keyword “betterbartlett.”

UPDATE: Looking for Bartlett City Schools? The district is online at, and on Facebook and Twitter at keyword “bartlettschools.”

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That’s a wrap: Judge Mays dismisses case

U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays has granted dismissal of the lawsuit against the formation of municipal schools. Bartlett City Schools is now clear to launch.

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The Launch of Bartlett City Schools

Students and principals present keys to each of Bartlett's schools to the school board to recognize school board appreciation week.

Students and principals present keys to each of Bartlett’s schools to the school board to recognize school board appreciation week.

The Committee for Better Bartlett Schools continues to follow the actions of the Bartlett City School Board as they set up the new school system.

The board has hired a superintendent, David Stephens, former deputy superintendent of Shelby County Schools and principal of Bolton High School.

Superintendent Stephens is working with the school board and the City of Bartlett to prepare and submit a plan to create a LEA for State of Tennessee approval. Once the plan is approved, the district can begin making other hires and continue its work setting up the new school system.

Meanwhile, the board has scheduled their monthly meetings on 4th Thursdays at 7pm at Bartlett City Hall, and they are working on policies and many other issues. Meeting notices and minutes are available at The website isn’t much to look at yet, but the district plans a branding rollout and accompanying website design later this month.

In addition, Supt. Stephens is also working with the superintendent of SCS to hold a “community-wide preregistration” for parents and students in February.

For more information, parents and other interested members of the community are encouraged to attend the monthly school board meetings, or to contact the school board with any questions or comments using the contact information below.

Bartlett City School Board:

David Stephens, Superintendent:

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Meet the Bartlett School Board

Bartlett School Board

Please join us in offering congratulations to our newly (re)elected Bartlett School Board members:

Jeff Norris – Position 1
Erin Berry – Position 2
Shirley Jackson – Position 3
Bryan Woodruff – Position 4
David Cook – Position 5

This is a very talented group of professionals, and we look forward to working with them to build an excellent school system in Bartlett.

We offer them our thanks for the hours they have already committed for the benefit of Bartlett children and families — as activists, as members of the Bartlett Education Advisory Committee, and as candidates — and for the role they will play in the months and years ahead.

Our thanks also to the other candidates who offered themselves up in this election. We appreciate your willingness to serve and hope you will continue to play a role in the success of Bartlett’s school district.

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Bartlett School Board Candidates

The Committee for Better Bartlett Schools invites you to join us for a Bartlett School Board candidate mixer.

Monday, October 21
6:30pm – 8:30pm (come and go)
Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center
(3663 Appling Road)

There are seven school board candidates and each will have an area to set up where you can speak to them. They will also display their campaign materials, signs, etc.

Candidates for Bartlett School Board – November 7, 2013

Bartlett School Board Election - Nov. 7Position 1 – (2013-2016)
Jeff Norris

Position 2 – (2013-2014)
Erin Elliott Berry
Alison Shores

Position 3 – (2013-2016)
Shirley Jackson

Position 4 – (2013-2014)
Bryan Woodruff

Position 5 – (2013-2016)
David Cook
Sharon Farley

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Next steps for the Bartlett school system

group1300The referendum approving a Bartlett school system has passed.

Once the results of the referendum are certified by the Shelby County Election Commission, a date will be set for the school board special election.

Meanwhile, a group of education experts, school board candidates and other volunteers are working together on the city’s education advisory committee. The committee’s task is to produce a set of plans for the new school system that are as complete and comprehensive as possible. This will allow the elected school board members to begin from a running start, with a workable budget and a set of policies to govern the school district.

The school board’s first task will be to hire a superintendent, and he or she will perform all of the other hires and execute the plans adopted by the school board.

We encourage Bartlett citizens to remain active and alert throughout this process. Better Bartlett Schools will continue to share information and advocate on behalf of the residents of Bartlett.

See also:
WITH ELECTION RESULTS: Suburbs choose municipal schools (The Bartlett Express)
What’s Next for Shelby County Municipal School Districts (ABC 24)
Municipalities weigh next moves for school districts (Daily News)

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Bright day ahead for Bartlett: Yes vote passes 90% mark

heartsignWe did it, Bartlett! Many thanks to all our volunteers and supporters. Congrats also to the other munis and the citizen groups who fought for their kids and communities. We also want to thank our elected officials who made this vote possible. Today we celebrate. Tomorrow, back to work making a school system that will provide excellent education, draw families to our city, and attract business. Great job, everyone!

News roundup:

Referendum results:

City of Bartlett Ordinance 13-06
13 of 13 Precincts Reporting (100%)
YES 7033 (91.37%)
NO 664 (8.63%)


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Bartlett citizens prepare to vote YES! again

Yard sign pick-up dayThe yard signs are back up all around the city, and Bartlett is ready to vote again to start a municipal school district.

The referendum is set for Tuesday, July 16, and creating a Bartlett school system is the only item on the ballot.

Early voting in Bartlett begins Saturday, July 6, and continues on Monday, July 8 through Thursday, July 11, at Bethel Church, 5586 Stage Road.

On election day, voting will take place at the regular election day precinct locations.

Visit the Shelby County Election Commission website,, for details.

Last year Bartlett voters approved a 1/2 cent local option sales tax increase to fund the new school system. That vote was not cancelled by the court, so the funding stream is already in place. This time voters will only be voting (again) on whether to approve the creation of a new school system.

The ballot question reads as follows:

City of Bartlett
Ordinance 13-06
Shall the City of Bartlett create a municipal school system that shall meet the standards of adequacy established by applicable State law and regulation, which standards include raising and spending each year the required amount of local funds for the operation of the municipal school system that, for calculation purposes only, would at least be equal to the amount that would be raised through a fifteen cents ($.15) tax levy on each One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) of taxable property for each year if all such taxes were collected?


For more information about the referendum and what it means for Bartlett, see our roundup of voting links and resources from last year. Continue reading

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Packed house for Bartlett schools rally


Supporters of Bartlett schools packed the auditorium at Bethel Church on Friday night to collect yard signs and hear from an all-star lineup of speakers.

Stressing the importance of voting YES! for Bartlett schools on July 16, the rally was kicked off by Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Jr., followed by Rep. Ron Lollar, former Bartlett school board member-elect Erin Berry, Shelby County School Board member David Reaves, Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald, and Derek Venckus of Better Bartlett Schools.

Several members of the media were present, representing the Bartlett Express, the Memphis Daily News, the Commercial Appeal, WREG News Channel 3, WHBQ Fox 13, and ABC 24 Local Memphis News.

Two video reports are below: Continue reading

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Rally for Bartlett schools Friday, June 21

Get Out the Vote Rally Friday, June 21, 6 p.m. Bethel Church, 5586 Stage Road

Get Out the Vote Rally
Friday, June 21, 6 p.m.
Bethel Church, 5586 Stage Road

Please join us and rally for Bartlett schools on Friday, June 21 at 6 p.m.

The get-out-the-vote rally will be held at Bethel Church, where early voting will take place next month. That’s at 5586 Stage Road in Bartlett.

Come pick up a yard sign and hear from an all-star lineup of speakers:

  • Keith McDonald – Mayor of Bartlett
  • Ron Lollar – Tennessee State Representative
  • David Reaves – Shelby County School Board Member
  • Erin Berry – former Bartlett School Board member-elect
  • And other special guests!

We’ll get the latest news on the Bartlett school movement and the July 16 referendum, and hear what’s ahead for children and educators in our city.

Bring your family and friends, and help us celebrate the future of Bartlett schools!

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