Unincorporated areas forced to merge?

(WMC-TV)  As the six Shelby County municipalities prepare for referendums to break away from the Memphis City Schools merger, Transition Planning Commissioner Dr. Barbara Prescott says schools in unincorporated areas of the county do not figure into the municipalities' plans.

"There are a lot of schools in Unincorporated Shelby County that would not fit the municipal model," said Prescott.

The TPC is designing a plan to educate all the children of Shelby County, but it's flexible.

"Analysis that we're doing is called incremental analysis so we know how much something would cost per student.  So it would be fairly easy to scale back," stated Prescott.

The Memphis City Schools system expects 102,390 students to enroll in 2013.  The TPC calculates 48,738 students live in the six Shelby County municipalities, and another 17,995 students in unincorporated areas.

Prescott said she still expects the merged system to educate at least 8,000 unincorporated students, even if the municipalities break away.

"We would probably - at any estimate - have 110,000 up to maybe 120,000 students," said Prescott.

Prescott also believes those students living in unincorporated areas who go to county schools in the suburbs might not do so for long.

"The plans of the municipalities at this time would be to serve children that are in their schools that are in unincorporated areas. As they (municipalities) grow, that might not be possible for them," stated Prescott.

The TPC will release its final analysis in June, which could give a clearer picture of what reality may be.

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