Control over ‘3G’ schools raises questions for students and parents

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Families of thousands of students in Memphis-Shelby County Schools say they are confused and frustrated by the future of their children’s education.

“In my eyes, I feel this school needs to be kept together,” said Peyton Scott, the student body president of Germantown High School.

“Now, we’re having to play defense instead of being on the offense,” said Alisha Wilson, parent of a tenth grader. “So, our kids are the only ones that are losing out.”

More than 150 students, parents and teachers crowded the Bert Ferguson Community Center on Monday evening with questions about what the future may hold.

“I would like us to stay together as a family,” said Calvin Nicholson, a freshman at the school.

This past spring, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law a bill that prevents a school district from operating within the geographical boundaries of another district. It would give Germantown Municipal School District ownership of the ‘3G’ namesake schools: Germantown High School, Germantown Middle School and Germantown Elementary School. However, students who currently go to those schools still would be allowed to attend until they ‘grade out.’

Both districts must come to an agreement by next year on how to work with the new law.

“Our parents want to stay together,” said Cathryn Stout, an MSCS spokeswoman. “Our families and students want to stay together. Our teams – our athletic teams want to stay together.”

MSCS staffers told parents there are three options:

  • Pursue every available option to maintain ownership of the schools
  • Find the funds for new schools
  • Bussing students to other schools

The mayor of Germantown has advocated for a 13 to 15-year transitional period “to not disturb, change or interfere with the successful conclusion of the educational journey” of students.

However, students told FOX13 that they would like to remain in the same school under the same leadership.

“I do feel we would lose our core value (and) our originality if we just move districts,” said Trinity Jenkins. “It’s not the same.”