The Shelby County (Tenn.) district could close more than two dozen schools could close over the next 10 years under a consolidation plan that also calls for more than $700 million in capital investments.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that the proposal, as presented to the school board by Superintendent Dorsey Hopson, would close 28 schools, build 10 new ones and put additions on five more schools.
It would eliminate about $102 million in deferred maintenance costs—about 20 percent of the list of projects throughout the district.
Part of the plan is already underway. The district is merging four schools on the closure list into new buildings for Goodlett and Alcy elementary schools. That leaves 24 more schools to close and eight more new ones to build.
Schools on the list to close include Dunbar Elementary, Bolton High and Trezevant High, although there's no timetable yet for when that would happen.
The more efficient new buildings would save the district about $15 million to $25 million a year, according to the district.
The long-term plan addresses both the need to downsize and replace facilities and fixes attendance boundary issues resulting when Shelby County and Memphis City school systems merged five years ago.
The district has identified more than $500 million in deferred maintenance projects, and its underutilized schools have 17,000 open seats.
A report released last year showed the district spends an extra $8.8 million just in operational costs — not including maintenance — every year because of the number of small, inefficient schools.