In response to years of declining student enrollment, Shelby County Schools is seeking public comment on a proposal to rezone 19 schools, allowing some students to attend school closer to home, and consolidating Hamilton Elementary into the adjacent middle school.

In the first of two required votes, the school board directed district staff on Tuesday to hold community meetings to gather input on parts of former superintendent Dorsey Hopson’s plan to consolidate aging buildings into fewer new ones.

“I want to emphasize, we are going to listen to the public… It’s a proposal to engage the community and listen,” said interim superintendent Joris Ray. The board has not yet set dates for the meetings.

Shelby County Schools has struggled to fill its aging, costly buildings with students as enrollment has decreased in recent years. The school board’s vote is the first step in Hopson’s massive facilities plan he introduced in December to address those concerns.

The rezonings would impact 3,200 students and be the first major reshuffling of students since six suburbs broke off to create their own school systems in 2014. Combining Hamilton elementary and middle schools would impact an additional 580 students.

Michelle Stuart, the district’s manager of facility planning and property management, presents a the rezoning plan in December.
PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Faith Kebede/Chalkbeat

The changes would boost enrollment at 10 schools as the district prepares to consolidate some of its students into fewer buildings. The Hamilton consolidation would eliminate $3.3 million in scheduled maintenance costs for the 55-year-old elementary school building and boost enrollment at the middle school to 86 percent of its capacity.

District leaders said the impact of rezoning would be gradual and current families do not have to change schools, but they would need to provide their own transportation if they choose to stay at their current school. For new students — rising kindergartners in elementary schools, sixth-graders in middle schools, and ninth-graders in high schools — the rezoning would take effect in August.

To see the neighborhoods impacted by the rezoning proposal, select one of the maps here and click on “open.”

The rezoning of 260 students from White Station High to Melrose High would keep Orange Mound students in their neighborhood. Currently, they are being bussed to White Station — a longtime concern of neighborhood advocates. The change would also boost Melrose’s enrollment to what the district considers acceptable, meaning that students fill at least 60 percent of the building’s capacity.

Here are the schools affected by the proposed rezonings:

  • 148 students from Southwind Elementary to Highland Oaks Elementary
  • 89 students from Highland Oaks Elementary to Southwind Elementary
  • 86 students from Ross Elementary to Oakhaven Elementary
  • 117 students from Sheffield Elementary to Getwell Elementary
  • 41 students from Germantown Elementary to Cordova Elementary
  • 55 students from Kate Bond Middle to Mt. Pisgah Middle
  • 47 students from Germantown Middle to Cordova Middle
  • 199 students from Germantown Middle to Highland Oaks Middle
  • 60 students from Grandview Heights to Douglas K-8
  • 260 students from White Station High to Melrose High
  • 355 students from Germantown High to Southwind High