Study offers glimpse at possible impact of school consolidation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Study offers glimpse at possible impact of school consolidation

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A study led by Rhodes College professor Marcus Pohlmann, Ph.D. offers a unique glimpse of the possible impacts of merging Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

The July 2001 study, "School Consolidation: State of Tennessee," looks at the impact of school mergers in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville.

Educational disruption appeared to happen outside the classroom in Chattanooga and Knoxville, but the Nashville transition was smooth.

When it came to test scores, Chattanooga's test scores caused lower averages in both school systems, but test scores improved in the other mergers.

As far as flight is concerned, private school enrollment increased in all three scenarios.

And when it came to race, the Chattanooga merger left less whites, and more blacks in public schools.

Little change in the Knoxville scenario, and Nashville's desegregation problems continued.

According to the study, in all three situations, teachers' jobs, tenure, pension, and benefits were protected and their salaries increased.

Enrollment increased in the Chattanooga and Knoxville mergers, and decreased in the Nashville consolidation.

School unification in Chattanooga and Nashville yielded more state and federal dollars, but the Knoxville merger brought in less money.

Costs increased in all three scenarios, but the study indicates the higher layout would have happened with or without consolidation.

And then there are taxes. The study shows taxes dropped for Chattanooga residents, but increased in the county. The Knoxville increases were not all related to school consolidation. Meanwhile, Nashville and Davidson County taxes increased as a direct result of school consolidation.

Click here to read the study (Microsoft Word Required):


Test Scores

Chattanooga: Down
Knoxville: Steadily improving
Nashville: Modest improvements

Educational Disruption

Chattanooga – Transportation
Knoxville - Minor transportation, and program adjustments Nashville – Smooth (two-years)

Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville
Increase in private school enrollment

Chattanooga - Less whites, more blacks
Knoxville - Little change
Nashville - Desegregation problems continue

Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville
Jobs, tenure, pension, and benefits protected.  Teacher salary increase.

Student Enrollment
Chattanooga - Increased
Knoxville – Increased
Nashville - Decreased

State and Federal Funding

Chattanooga – More money
Knoxville – Less money
Nashville – More money

Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville
Increased (with or without consolidation)


Chattanooga – City down, county up.
Knoxville - Increased - not all merger related.
Nashville – Increased

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