Superintendent Hopson announces plan to build 10 new schools

Plan also will consolidate/reconfigure 28 existing schools

Superintendent Hopson announces plan to build 10 new schools

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Outgoing Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson is recommending that the district “reconfigure and consolidate” 28 and build 10 new schools.

That recommendation was made during Tuesday evening's school board meeting.

Hopson is recommending putting students back into schools closer to home.

Students at 22 schools would be rezoned. Germantown High School would send 355 students to Southwind High School.

It's just one small part of the plan to right size this district.

“I think this could be a game-changer for our community,” Hopson said.

Under this plan, 15,000 students would be affected.

It also includes a proposal to make new additions to five schools.

“Having sat in this school for six years I strongly urge our whole community, we’ve got to do something because if we don’t you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting now,” Hopson said.

In the final days of Hopson's tenure, he laid out his recommendation on how to shrink the footprint of SCS and make it more efficient, focusing on low enrollment, low performing schools with aging buildings.

For example, there was a recommendation to close Wooddale, Sheffield and Oakhaven High Schools and put those students in a brand-new school in Parkway Village.

“Of course, we want our students in a state-of-the-art school, but we also want to make sure the social and emotional needs are met,” said school board member Stephanie Love. “We want to make sure our community needs are being met and most importantly academic needs are being met.”

Hopson said he'll go before the county commission Tuesday with a recommendation for more funding – about $700 million over 10-12 years to carry out this plan.

Love said money shouldn't be an issue.

“We have to look at the whole picture,” Love said. “We have schools where the roof is leaking. We have schools where the temperature outside is the same as it is on the inside. That's not fair to our students.”

Hopson said opting to close certain schools also means savings for the district to the tune of $102 million dollars in deferred maintenance costs.

At this point, it’s still just a recommendation, and there’s still more details to be hammered out.

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