Just moved here from Southern California and getting used to living and working in and around Memphis.
I personally think Mayor Goldsworthy herself destroyed any chance at negotiating for local control of those 3 schools with the release of the emails and speeches she gave that clearly upset the SCS board.
Suggesting that Germantown would charge tuition to attend a public school?!? In hindsight, that was just not very smart in my opinion. Even with her backpedaling and proposal to educate the non-Germantown kids through a cooperative agreement with SCS, anything coming out her mouth didn't stick to the wall.
Sad. Germantown might have received something better via negotiating than what they ultimately got had their leadership been careful with their words in discussing an unfinished battle (now finished of course).
This arrangement is going to feel weird for Germantown parents who live in the areas zoned for those schools. Do you abandon them just because the central staff and the superintendent are not part of the municipal school district?
I would hope not. That would be awkward with overcrowding at the other 5 schools. Most of the families that send their kids to each of those 3 schools hold and expect high standards. That isn't going to change just because of SCS administration. Hopefully, something can be worked out regarding eventual new school construction for the non-Germantown children (sharing costs?) so that Germantown can regain control of those schools in the future.
I'm all for stopping additional payments to the lawyers over this issue.
It seems noble to want to help the youngest of our population with pre-K programs so that they succeed and begin the process of stepping out of abject poverty, but I have to say that the enthusiasm that is expressed for the program needs to be tempered down a bit.
People shouldn’t expect reaping the benefits of a pre-K program through thinking in a vacuum. I have heard and read about the predictions that the program will fail in part due to the poorest parents not knowing how or refusing to “play their part” in their children’s lives.
I agree that if parents fail to support their child who is attending a pre-K program, then that son or daughter will still not have a decent ability to learn to read, write and speak at each level. No amount of funding is going to immediately reverse the negative impact of a poor home environment on a child’s intellectual growth.
I think we all have to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that it is not just pre-K attendance that prepares a child for his/her future. There are a whole lot of other factors that have to be properly addressed to in order for us to witness true success stories coming from all parts of the city.
The results of the program may ultimately suggest perhaps that Memphis should have dealt with those other factors (public school management, blight, crime, employment opportunities, higher quality gov’t services, etc.) before blindly throwing money at a worthy cause that is highly complex.
My friend just forwarded me an official Germantown email regarding ongoing negotiations for control of the three Germantown schools. According to the email, Mayor Goldsworthy proposed options to be considered by the Shelby County Board of Education.
I’m quoting from that email:
“First, maintain current student attendance zones and execute 40-year leases to the City of Germantown for all eight existing schools located in Germantown. Goldsworthy restated that this plan is the least disruptive for the children and their families who attend the eight schools located within Germantown. She also added, ‘Germantown recognizes the concerns of the SCBE as to the duration of Germantown's commitment and/or fiscal ability to educate the children in the current attendance zones.’ To assuage that concern, Germantown proposed that attendance zones for students currently zoned to schools in Germantown would be frozen for the term of the agreement. In addition, any recommendation for modification of the attendance zones following collaborative review by the SCBE and Germantown School Board would be subject to mutual assent of both parties.”
“While the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) clearly always felt that the Germantown Municipal School district should include eight schools, lacking encouragement from SCSB and believing that six schools will contribute to greater stability than a five-school system, Mayor Goldsworthy also proposed a second option that would allow the City to obtain Germantown Elementary school as part of the municipal district. Under this proposal, Shelby County Board of Education would retain operational control of Germantown Middle School and Germantown High School. Both Germantown Elementary and Germantown Middle could be operated as grades K-8 schools which would provide continuity and feeder school patterns for the community, parents and students. ‘This is clearly a less than optimal situation; however, students will benefit if we can keep intact a larger portion of the district and reduce the amount of student transfer,’ said Goldsworthy.”
That first option sounds quite attractive to me considering all of the bitterness and wasted money. G-Town has stepped up to the plate and offered to maintain the current attendance zones for 40 years (to go along with the school building leases).
I’m of the mind that the county school board should take the first option and seal that deal, provided that the leases are not expensive.
Most, if not all, of us who have commented on this article will not be alive in 40 years to go to battle again over education funding and property values. Get the deal done and sealed with a touch of compromise so that life can move on and all of the attorneys have to go somewhere else to make money.
I don't know if any of you/y'all read the news regarding the new anti-annexation bill being lined up for the state legislature to consider in January. In a nutshell, the bill would prevent annexation unless the to-be-annexed folks actually vote to join the municipality that wants to annex them.
Now that sounds fine and dandy if you're in the Memphis reserve area. You have an opportunity to avoid Memphis property taxes.
However, that would be terrible for the suburbs and their respective reserve areas. What could end up happening is that the children in those reserve areas could attend a suburban school district without paying the additional sales/property taxes that are designed to support those districts.
Think about it. The most attractive real estate in the county could be unincorporated areas that are in a suburban reserve area and zoned to suburban schools. You get what you want without paying for it.
David Pickler: "It's kind of like my grandmother told me: why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free."
This is all a bit crazy to me.
I'm wondering if it will be possible for Germantown to obtain a concession from SCS that capital improvement funds to be set aside for new schools to be built for the zoned-to-Germantown unincorporated/reserve areas once the population density reaches a specified level.
That way, those 3 Germantown schools won't be indefinitely inundated with non-resident children whose parents do not pay Germantown property taxes and other fees.
I'm just thinking along the lines of a compromise: Non-Germantown folks continue to attend the schools until it gets too crowded; SCS plans ahead to build new schools that will accommodate the population growth; and Germantown eventually regains local control of the 3 “G” schools.
Of course, if you're thinking along the lines of hell, fire and brimstone, you can keep filing lawsuits and/or hope Nashville will allow Germantown to keep control of those schools. Of course, this scenario probably includes the County Commission continuing the lawsuit and giving more taxpayer money to Baker Donelson to pursue the 14th Amendment argument.
I would like cooler heads to prevail…if there are any who hold positions of power here.
All of this talk has created an unanswered question for me. Yes, the suburbs are mostly white with most of the black students living outside of the cities. Prior to the merger, the black students made up almost 40% of the school population.
All that said, what is the magic number for racial proportions that would make folks happy? To me, 40% is pretty good in terms of diversity. If the municipal school districts all took off with current zoning maps, how could you determine those new districts as being re-segregated?
This is coming from the perspective of someone who attended schools back in California that barely had a majority of white students. Nowadays, white students are only a plurality in just a few cities. It's all mixed up and blended to such a high degree.
In my opinion, a few of the folks crying foul about re-segregation need to be mindful of what they can reasonably and realistically achieve with lawsuits, negative politicking, etc.
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By Toby Sells
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