Memphis-Shelby County Schools
germantown high

Shelby County, Tenn., commission approves plan to resolve conflict over school buildings in Germantown

Dec. 15, 2022
Three schools in Germantown have remained part of the Memphis-Shelby County district even after the city of Germantown withdrew from the district and formed its own school system.

The Shelby County, Tenn., Commission has approved a plan that would resolve a decade-old dispute over control of three public schools in Germantown.

Chalkbeat Tennessee reports that the plan, if approved by other involved parties, would result in the Memphis-Shelby County district giving up ownership of Germantown High, Germantown Middle and Germantown Elementary. The Germantown Municipal School District would acquire the middle and elementary schools, and the high school would be sold.

The deal also would provide funding for the county district to replace Germantown High with a new campus in the Cordova neighborhood.

The dispute over control of the Germantown buildings goes back to 2013, when the Germantown, a suburb of Memphis, withdrew from the Shelby County school district and formed its own municipal school system. Despite the creation of the new school system, the three Germantown school campuses remained part of the county district.

The proposed settlement calls for the city of Germantown to help the Shelby County district sell the Germantown High School building; the sale proceeds, along with $77.5 million the county would provide, would enable the Shelby County district to build a $100 million high school in the Cordova community, just north of Germantown. It would be the first high school built in the Shelby County district in a decade.

The agreement also calls for Germantown to pay the Shelby County district $5 million for Germantown Elementary and Germantown Middle schools.

The proposed agreement would allow the Memphis-Shelby County district to continue operating the three Germantown campuses for nine more years to prevent displacement of students now enrolled at the schools and allow time to build a new high school.

If an agreement isn’t finalized by next month, the county would run afoul of a new state law that bars county districts from controlling schools that are within the boundaries of a municipal district.

Memphis-Shelby County interim School Superintendent Toni Williams told the commission that without an agreement, 800 students now attending Germantown High would have to return to their home neighborhood schools and 1,000 more would have to find another school.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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