School Board Reviews $52.6 Million Capital Ask, Altered Attendance Zones

By Bill Dries

The Shelby County Schools board votes next week on a $52.6 million capital funding ask of the Shelby County Commission designed to get in under the wire before all school funding from the county has to be divided based on average daily attendance including that of the six suburban school districts.

The tentative budget proposed by superintendent Dorsey Hopson Tuesday, March 18, for the current fiscal year that ends June 30 includes $12 million for a new elementary school in southeast Memphis to replace Westhaven Elementary School and consolidate students from that school as well as neighboring Fairley and Raineshaven Elementary Schools into the new school.

The budget also includes $16 million to build additions of 20 classrooms each at Berclair, Wells Station, Chimneyrock and Cordova Elementary Schools.

There is also $9.8 million for a new 20-classroom addition as well as renovations to Germantown High School.

Also on the agenda for the school board’s March 25 meeting is board approval of changes in attendance zones affecting more than 7,000 students many of them in the unincorporated parts of Shelby County that remain part of Shelby County Schools after the demerger in the new school year.

Hopson told school board members Tuesday evening he is changing two of the attendance zones based on reaction from parents at a series of townhall meetings in the affected areas.

The proposal to split students in unincorporated east Shelby County who now attend Bartlett High School to Cordova and Ridgeway High Schools is now a plan to send all of those students to Cordova High School.

And Northaven students who now attend Millington Central High School, instead of being assigned to Bolton High School or Raleigh-Egypt and Craigmont High Schools, would instead attend an expanded Woodstock Middle School that takes in grades 6-10.

Hopson said the transition is an acknowledgement that many of the Northaven 11th and 12th graders will probably seek to continue attending Millington under open enrollment provisions of the Millington Schools system.

The Woodstock expansion would be for the 2014-2015 school year only with Woodstock becoming a 9-12 high school in the 2015-2016 school year and Northaven Elementary School joining E.E. Jeter Elementary in becoming a k-8 school.