Williamson County voters will decide early next year whether to raise the local sales tax by half a cent to help fund the school district. The local option rate would go from 2.25 to 2.75 cents if approved.
The Williamson County Commission called for the vote on Monday night, although Commissioner Kathy Danner said she wanted to be clear that the panel was not making a recommendation one way or the other.
"We're letting the people's opinion be heard," she said. "We're letting the people decide if they want a sales tax increase or not. This body is not raising the sales tax."
The commission's decision to hold a referendum was unanimous and Williamson County now has 90 days to organize it, with the vote likely in February.
School officials say they need the additional revenue because they may have to build 17 new schools over the next decade to keep pace with rapid population growth.
The 2.75 cents is the state maximum for local option sales tax. Murfreesboro has already raised its sales tax to the limit. Nashville remains at 2.25 cents but would increase to 2.75 under Mayor Megan Barry's transit proposal.