The Memphis-Shelby County (Tenn.) district wants county commissioners to approve $10 million in funding for a new high school in the Frayser neighborhood of Memphis that would combine Trezevant High School with MLK College Preparatory High School, a charter school in the state turnaround district.
Chalkbeat Tennessee reports that the proposed school combination in Frayser has been stuck on the drawing board for years, unable to secure the necessary funding.
The latest proposal hints at how the Memphis district hopes to revive the project while dealing with the unraveling of the state-run Achievement School District, which has largely failed in its mission to reform the state’s poorest-performing schools, mostly in Memphis, under the leadership of charter operators.
The future of many of those schools and their buildings remains in limbo as charter contracts near expiration and schools transition out of the Achievement School District.
Shelby County commissioners will vote later this spring on the district’s budget and its capital funding request.
School officials, including interim Superintendent Toni Williams, have told board members that the infrastructure plan will aim to optimize the use of school buildings and address a deferred maintenance bill that has grown to hundreds of millions of dollars.
In addition to the $10 million for the Frayser project, the district is asking the Shelby County Commission to provide funds for $56 million in deferred maintenance projects next year.
County commissioners didn’t indicate whether they would support fully funding the capital request.
Funding a new Frayser high school would focus investments on students who have languished academically in the Achievement School District and eliminate millions of dollars in maintenance needs at Trezevant High.
The price tag on the project has increased to a projected $103 million, which the district hopes to pay for with installments from the county over the next four years.