Germantown considers starting own school district

(WMC-TV) - Like other Memphis suburbs looking to escape the new unified school district, Germantown spent more than $70,000 on a study and it revealed exactly what many wanted to hear.

Former Shelby County Schools Superintendent Jim Mitchell presented his firm's findings to Germantown's mayor and board of aldermen.

Given his past, some may question if the study was completely unbiased.

"You're not questioning my ethics are you," he asked in response. "Absolutely impartial."

Southern Educational Strategies found that Germantown meets the legal, operational and fiscal thresholds to establish its own independent school district.

That's something Dennis Sparks and his wife wanted to hear.

"As parents, you have more control over your school board - over the administration of your school district," Sparks said.

A new Germantown district would include more than 8,100 students and require more than $60 million annually to operate.

"August of 2013 is kind of the moment, officially, at which time we can create our district," said Sharon Goldsworthy, Germantown mayor.

That means a possible referendum on whether to start a municipal district this coming May, followed by a local school board election in November. If all that happens, a superintendent could be hired next January.

However, determining how to pay for a municipal district is another question. Officials said that property and or sales tax increases are among the options that may be considered.

The study states that Germantown can claim all of the school buildings within its boundaries without having to pay Shelby County Schools. That's the same thing Bartlett and Collierville were told.

There will be public hearings in those cities later this week.

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