VOL. 132 | NO. 88 | Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Germantown Offers SCS $25 Million for 'Three Gs' Schools
By Bill Dries
Germantown city and school system leaders made Shelby County Schools an offer Tuesday, May 2, of $25 million for Germantown Elementary, Middle and High Schools – the school known as the “three Gs” that remained part of SCS in the 2014 demerger of public education in Shelby County.
Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo, City administrator Patrick Lawton, Germantown Municipal School District superintendent Jason Manuel and Germantown school board chairwoman Linda Fisher made the offer during ongoing talks Tuesday with SCS officials about cooperation between the two systems.
In 18 months of the talks, there have also been several other proposals by the Germantown side of the table including a $5 million offer for two of the three schools.
The written proposal advanced Tuesday is not a take it or leave it proposal.
“If Shelby County Schools is not prepared to sell all three schools at this time, we will entertain a counter-proposal for the purchase of each school individually,” the proposal reads.
The closing would be on or before Sept. 1, which would also be the due date for a transition plan for SCS students currently enrolled at the schools.
The Germantown proposal lays out a phased-in move of the three schools from SCS to the Germantown Municipal Schools District. The elementary school would be first in 2019, followed by the middle school in 2021 and the high school in 2023.
The agreement would have to be approved by both school boards and the proposal sets a deadline for SCS approval of May 22. The school board’s next business meeting is May 30 but a special meeting could be called.
"A vote by the entire Shelby County Schools Board would be required in order for an offer to be considered for the purchase any District-owned property," a Tuesday evening statement from Shelby County Schools said. "We expect the Board to discuss the matter further and advise on next steps at an upcoming public meeting."
SCS leaders opted to keep the three schools when the set of six suburban school districts were being negotiated prior to the 2014-2015 school year that saw the start of the municipal school districts. Each of the suburban school systems negotiated with SCS for the buildings.
SCS officials kept the three Gs to deal with overcrowding at schools in southeast Memphis and Shelby County.
Meanwhile, the Germantown school system grew to the point that Manuel pursued a dual track strategy of continuing to pursue the purchase of at least Germantown Elementary School and moving ahead with plans to build a new elementary school to open in August 2019.
The Germantown school board approved a contract last month to buy 38 acres of land at Forest Hill-Irene Road and Poplar Pike for a new elementary school for 750 children.
After the school board approved the real estate contract, Manuel said the drop-dead date for walking away from that deal in favor of the three Gs in some combination as an alternative was mid-May.