2008 study explores impact of school consolidation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

2008 study explores impact of school consolidation

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The idea to surrender the Memphis City Schools charter did not originate with the school board.  Instead, it came from a study that was released in 2008.

Though the study was released two years ago, the tipping point hit two months ago, during a meeting with both school systems, local leaders, and state lawmakers. That's when findings in this study propelled the Memphis Schools Board into action.

Follow this link to read the study, released by the University of Memphis, titled "Impact of a Special School District on Memphis and Shelby County."

The Memphis City and Shelby County Schools boards commissioned the joint study, after county schools made known their intentions to become a special school district to prevent school consolidation.

As you can see in the school board resolution to put the school charter surrender up for referendum, commissioners based their action on the study's findings.

So what in these 43 pages had the Memphis school board so concerned?    

For one, the study found that the cost for county schools to become a special school district would put both school systems in the red in the short-term. Memphis City Schools would have to absorb up to 10 additional schools.

Annual costs would increase up to 100 million dollars, and force Memphis taxes to increase up to $3.19.

Costs for county schools would decrease up to $94.1 million.

But, the study says a population shift could follow. with Memphis residents moving to the county to join the special school district.  And, Shelby County taxes could increase up to $1.49.

The study goes on to say that Memphis families frozen inside Shelby County Schools boundaries would have to pay three separate taxes: city, county and county schools.

The study also says loss of the tax base and retail activity in Memphis would hurt future business for the entire region, since Memphis is the Mid-South's central city.

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