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VOL. 129 | NO. 35 | Thursday, February 20, 2014

SCS Attendance Zone Proposal Affects 7,000 Students

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Schools board members got their first detailed look Wednesday, Feb. 19, at a set of more than two dozen changes in student attendance zones in the 2014-2015 school year that could affect nearly 7,000 students in the school system.

Most of the proposals by schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson are adjustments related to the coming formation of separate school systems in the six suburban towns and cities in Shelby County to open in August when the new school year begins.

With the opening of the suburban school systems, Shelby County Schools becomes schools and student within Memphis as well as unincorporated parts of Shelby County. The changes affect students in unincorporated Shelby County who currently attend schools that will become part of the suburban school systems in August.

Hopson’s plan moves to a set of at least five public hearings before a vote by the school board in late March.

Here is a preliminary look at the recommended changes in attendance zones. Watch this web story Thursday morning for a PDF showing the specific rezoning maps in the presentation school board members got Wednesday evening.

•162 k-5 students, living in an area west of Austin Peay Highway and south of Bolen Huse Road, who now attend Rivercrest Elementary School in Bartlett would be rezoned to a reconfigured Barret’s Chapel Elementary School, which would be expanded to a kindergarten through 8th grade school.

•93 students at Shadowlawn Middle in Arlington who live in the same area would go to Barret’s Chapel k-8.

•395 Bartlett Elementary students east of Austin Peay and south of Old Brownsville Road would attend Dexter Elementary School, a 14-mile bus trip.

•307 Shadowlawn Middle students in the same area would be rezoned to Dexter Middle School

•168 other Rivercrest Elementary students just west of the first group would attend Lucy Elementary School in Millington, one of four schools within the boundaries of a suburban city that Shelby County Schools retains control of with the demerger.

•264 students at Shadowlawn Middle School in roughly the same area would be rezoned to Woodstock Middle School.

•84 Arlington Middle School students living in the rural reserve area in the northeast corner of Shelby County would attend Barret’s Chapel k-8.

•38 students at Sycamore Elementary in Collierville who live east of Forest Hill Irene Road and north of Shelby Drive would attend Southwind Elementary School.

•25 students at Schilling Farms Middle in Collierville, living in the same area, would be rezoned to Germantown Middle School.

•145 students at Bailey Station Elementary in Collierville who live south of Shelby Drive and east of Hacks Cross Road would be rezoned to Highland Oaks Elementary School.

•163 students at Riverdale Elementary in Germantown who live in the newly annexed South Cordova area would attend Cordova Elementary School.

•Another 111 Riverdale Elementary students who live in the southernmost part of Cordova would attend Germantown Elementary School, which is another of the four suburban schools Shelby County Schools will retain in its system with the demerger.

•171 Riverdale Middle School students in the same area would attend Germantown Middle School.

•35 students at E.A. Harrold Elementary in Millington who live in the Shelby Forest area would be rezoned to E.E. Jeter school which would be expanded to a k-8 school with the new school year.

•Within Memphis, 223 Evans Elementary students living in a southeastern corner of the Oakhaven Elementary zone would attend Oakhaven Elementary next school year.

•85 middle school students living in unincorporated northeastern Shelby County now attending Millington Middle School would be rezoned to the expanded Jeter k-8 school.

•9 Collierville Middle School students on the other side of the northeastern boundary for Mt. Pisgah Middle School would be rezoned to Mt. Pisgah Middle School.

•194 Fairview Middle School students west of East Parkway would be rezoned to Hamilton Elementary School and the remaining 233 Fairview students east of East Parkway would be rezoned to Sherwood Middle School as Fairview is converted to an optional school with no attendance zone. The optional school would be open to students who test in to the curriculum of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics – or STEAM. Students who test in and live within a two-mile radius of Fairview would be given a preference.

•198 Millington High School students from the Waverly Plantation area would attend Bolton High School.

•311 Bartlett High School students southeast of Waverly Plantation would attend Bolton as well.

•And 273 Arlington High students near Arlington would also attend Bolton.

•149 Millington Central High School students in Shelby Forest would be rezoned to Craigmont High.

•And another 263 Millington High students from Northaven would attend Raleigh Egypt High School. The move to Raleigh Egypt and Craigmont would be just for the 2014-2015 school year with high school aged students in the zone then becoming part of a new Woodstock High School to debut in the 2015-2016 school year at what is now Woodstock Middle School. Hopson and his staff originally considered sending the students to Trezevant High School but changed the plan just before Tuesday night’s presentation to the board.

•229 high school students in the Dexter area of Cordova would be rezoned to Ridgeway High School.

•And another 202 high school students in the same general area would attend Cordova High School.

•1,435 high school students living in the Memphis annexation reserve bordering Germantown and within Germantown’s borders would be rezoned to Germantown High School.

By annexation reserve area for the three suburban cities with reserve areas left to annex:

•36 students in the Arlington reserve area would be zoned for Barret’s Chapel k-8 and Bolton High school.

•74 students in the Bartlett reserve would be zoned for Barret’s k-8 and Bolton High School.

•165 students in Collierville’s northern reserve area would be zoned for Macon Hall Elementary, Mt. Pisgah Middle and Germantown High School.

•Another 16 students in Collierville’s southern reserve area would be zoned for Highland Oaks Elementary, Germantown Middle and Germantown High School.

Based on the school board’s first discussions, there are certain to be changes in the plan before the board makes its decision in March on a set of boundaries that will figure heavily in whether parents in unincorporated Shelby County choose to stay in the Shelby County Schools system, apply for open enrollment slots in the new suburban school systems with the schools their children currently attend or opt for charter or private schools.

Several school board members urged Hopson to consider opening the new Woodstock High School in August instead of waiting a school year. They feared Shelby County Schools would lose the Shelby Forest and Northaven families in the interim year of attending Raleigh Egypt and Craigmont High Schools. Another option would be to send the affected Millington High School students to Bolton High, although Hopson said there are concerns about overcrowding as well as rivalries among the students from different parts of northern Shelby County.

Still another option would be an interlocal agreement between Shelby County Schools and Millington Schools for those students to attend Millington schools next school year.

Board member Billy Orgel was among those questioning the 14-mile bus trip involved in the Dexter elementary rezoning.

And several board members objected to the Fairview optional school without some kind of attendance zone. Still other board members said the school system should have more “high performance” schools or risk losing those students and their families in the heightened competition with charter and private schools.

In other announcements at the Wednesday school board work session, Hopson said he will announce his final recommendations on school closings for the next school year at the board’s voting meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Hopson proposed a list of 13 schools for possible closure. After two sets of public hearings in the affected areas, Hopson told the board he is considering some scenarios for keeping Alcy Elementary open as well as possibly seeking county funding to build a new elementary school that would replace Raineshaven Elementary and combine two neighboring elementary schools into the new school in the process. The condition of the Raineshaven building was a major factor in the exploration of closing the school.

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