Monday, December 9, 2013

Germantown Said Ready to Settle with SCS

Resolution accepting Hopson proposal keeping 3 schools in county system to be voted on Monday night by Germantown Board of Aldermen.

UPDATE: Germantown Board votes 4-0 to approve agreement.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Germantown High School
  • Germantown High School
The Flyer has learned that the Germantown Board of Aldermen, which is scheduled to meet Monday night at City Hall in Germantown, will be presented with a resolution of acceptance of the future school arrangements proposed by Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson last month and accepted by the SCS board.

The Board of Aldermen is said to be ready to endorse the resolution and thereby to subscribe to the school plan set forth by Hopson.

Since Hopson first made public his proposals, five of the six Shelby County incorporated suburbs which plan to create independent school districts have accepted them, and subsequently the Shelby County Commission has voted to drop its long-standing lawsuits against all five — Collierville, Bartlett, Arlington, Lakeland, and Millington.

Only Germantown had thus far held back — out of an unwillingness to accept the aspect of Hopson’s plan which calls for keeping three Germantown-based schools — Germantown High School, Germantown Middle School, and Germantown Elementary School — within the jurisdiction of SCS.

Hopson’s reasoning was that a majority of the students in those schools actually reside in the unincorporated areas of the county rather than the Germantown city limits.

After he made his proposals and the SCS board adopted them, there had been a good deal of back-and-forth between Germantown officials and the board and Hopson, and various alternatives were discussed and discarded — one calling for the new Germantown municipal school system to maintain jurisdiction over Germantown Elementary School, which arguably has a majority of students from within Germantown.

David Pickler, an SCS board member representing Germantown, acknowledged Monday that he had been told by SCS attorney Valerie Speakman that the Germantown Board of Aldermen had indeed accepted the original Hopson proposal.

Pickler, who had strongly advocated that all eight school properties within Germantown’s municipal schools be assigned to the city’s municipal system-to-be, expressed disappointment and said he intended to ask “a lot of questions” Tuesday night when the SCS board meets again and would presumably be in a position to accept the Board of Aldermen’s action.

He said he had been apprised of a move toward acceptance of trhe SCS terms by the newly elected Germantown School Board but had believed there was resistance on the part of Germantown city officials.

Evidently that resistance is now at an end. The terms apparently accepted by Germantown would be identiical to those already accepted by the other five incorporated suburbs, which would convey school properties to the suburb — five in the case of Germantown — as part of a larger arrangement. The suburb would pay a sum, at a rate of roughly ten cents to the dollar of the schools’ value, that would be regarded not as direct payment for school properties but as a contribution to the costs of post-retirement benefits incurred by SCS.

Germantown’s payments — to be made in installments, as is the case with the other suburbs, over a 12-year period -- would amount to several million dollars but not a double-digit amount.

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