Shelby County, MSCS and Germantown reach agreement on 3G’s and funding new high school in Cordova

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 1:47 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After years of debate, an agreement on the future of the so-called 3G schools and one new high school for the Cordova area is closer to reality.

You could call it an 11th Hour deal.

A state law takes effect Jan. 1, requiring all stakeholders involved to make a deal or automatically have Germantown Elementary, Middle and High School transferred from Memphis-Shelby County Schools back to the Germantown Municipal School District.

Shelby County, Memphis-Shelby County Schools, the city of Germantown and Germantown Municipal School District have reached an agreement to build a new high school in the Cordova area on Nov. 29, according to a press release from Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris’ office.

Germantown Middle and Elementary schools will become property of the City of Germantown at the end of the agreement term.

MSCS will build a new $100 million high school.

The agreement was presented during an executive session with the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on Monday.

“There’s been many stakeholders over the last couple weeks to come to a solution,” Chief of Staff for Memphis Shelby County Schools Patrice Thomas told county commissioners at a Nov. 29 committee meeting.

“It just goes to show the power of collaboration,” said Shelby County Commission Chairman Mickell Lowery. “The power of sitting down and having everyone at the table and making sure we do what’s best for our students.”

More than half of that money will come from Shelby County Government, exactly $72.5 million over two years.

The City of Germantown will transfer $5 million in cash and help MSCS sell Germantown High School, which would fill the remaining $22.5 million funding gap to construct a new high school.

It’ll be the first new high school MSCS has built in a decade. Commissioner Lowrey says it’ll come without a tax increase.

“Now obviously I speak as one person, it takes seven votes but we can get this done without having a tax increase,” said Commissioner Lowrey.

Former MSCS school board member turned Shelby County Commission Vice Chairwoman Miska Clay Bibbs says the agreement spans nine years with an understanding that the multi-year transition won’t take that long.

She believes the agreement is a happy medium for all involved.

“The opportunity to be able to have two brand new 21st-century school buildings in my former district which also happens to be my county commission district as well, it’s important that we broaden this conversation because our kids deserve the best when it comes to facilities,” said Commissioner Miska Clay Bibbs.

It’s not clear when this transition will take place or where Germantown High, Middle and Elementary school students will go once the agreement is finished.

The agreement isn’t official just yet.

Shelby County Commission, Memphis Shelby County School board, the City of Germantown, and Germantown Municipal Schools all have to vote to next week for final approval.

Shelby County Commission will vote on the agreement in a special meeting on Dec. 14.

Memphis-Shelby County School and Germantown Municipal School boards will vote in a special called meeting on Dec. 15.

The City of Germantown Board of Alderman will vote on the agreement on Dec. 12.

Lucy Elementary in Millington is also impacted by state law but the district has not announced if it has reached an agreement to transfer it back to Millington Municipal Schools yet.

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