Tuesday evening the Shelby County Schools administration recommended that the buildings housing Germantown Elementary, Germantown Middle, and Germantown High School not be given to Germantown Municipal Schools.
Lucy Elementary near Millington is another building the SCS Board of Education could retain control over.
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Legally, SCS said it has to plan to educate children that are in Memphis and Memphis Reserve areas. More than 60 percent of students in Germantown Middle and high school are students who live in the Memphis Reserve area. The district would keep Germantown Elementary because of the feeder pattern.
So the administration is telling the school board, we need those buildings.
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This comes as a shock to Germantown leaders. Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy said they had every intention of educating those kids outside of Germantown that attend schools in her city.
"We certainly would have been hopeful there would have been an opportunity for us to have some conversation about this," Mayor Goldsworthy said. "But what we're seeing tonight is this is the direction we're going and Monday we're going to take a vote on it."
Mayor Goldsworthy was stunned by the news that district has no plans to hand over Germantown elementary, middle and high schools. Those schools are more than half of the children who live in the Memphis reserve area, so legally, the county school district said it has to plan on education those kids.
Mayor Goldsworthy said Germantown planned on educating all of those kids and wants to keep those buildings. But the district said it needs those buildings. So Germantown students that go to those schools would have to decide to remain in the Shelby County Schools system, or be bused to other schools like Houston or Dogwood.
"By them keeping those three schools south of Poplar, it displaces, by our numbers, 1,300 out of 4,500 students," the mayor said. "How is that not displacing students?"
Mayor Goldsworthy said she would not say if Germantown would file suit to try and get those buildings for Germantown municipal schools.
SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson has requested the board to start voting on aspects of this plan at Tuesday's board meeting.
Board member David Reeves, who represents part of the suburbs, said it's unfortunate that the countywide school district may have to keep some Germantown schools, but it's either that or build new schools.
"We don't have any capacity in the southeastern part of the county," Reeves said. "The only way to remedy that would be to build a school to take care of those kids in the county. The county commission is not interested in building new schools. So at this point its really the only option."
Shelby County Schools also recommended not handing over Lucy Elementary near Millington and all of the 14 schools that are located in unincorporated Shelby County, which includes Bolton High School.
The administration was not able to determine exactly how many students would be affected by all the rezoning, but the farther you are from the Memphis border, the less likely you are to see rezoning.
Another matter to consider is whether to lease or sell the buildings to the municipal school districts. Superintendent Hopson said it will be up to the board to decide if the suburbs will have to lease or buy the buildings. The recommendation is that the suburbs lease the buildings for $1 a year, plus pay for any maintenance and improvements.
"We don't necessarily need ownership of them," said Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman. "We just need use of them, so as long as we're in the school business, those students should remain in the schools that they're in."
Mayor Wissman added it was actually the suburbs who came up with the leasing idea.