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Shelby County Schools looking ahead at enrollment figures, teacher retention and rezoning

Shelby County School Board meets for January business meeting.
Shelby County School Board meets for January business meeting.
Tajuana Cheshier/ Chalkbeat TN

Shelby County Schools’ superintendent Dorsey Hopson told board members Tuesday he and his administration are working to get a handle on how many teachers, students and buildings the district will have in the 2014-15 academic year.

On Wednesday, the district will send out emails to all staff at the 33 schools affected by the municipality split to ask them if they plan to continue work for Shelby County Schools or if they are planning to work for one of municipal school districts.

Hopson said Sheila Redick, who was recently hired by SCS from The New Teacher Project to recruit new teachers to Shelby County Schools, is in charge of the survey.

Hopson also wants to know from parents if they intend to keep their children in the district.

In the past week, Shelby County School parents have spoken against school closures while others have been willing to camp out in frigid temperatures to apply for an optional school.

“We want to get a handle on what student enrollment will be,” Hopson said during Tuesday night’s meeting. Hopson told the board that he’s met with leaders of the municipal school districts and discussed whether they intend to offer open enrollment.

Hopson said the district will reach out to parents asking what school option they’re considering.

He’s also going to begin one-on-one conversations with board members about ways to redraw the district’s school boundary lines. Those lines will determine which schools students attend this fall.

Hopson said it’s his goal for the plan to cause families the least amount of disruption.

A full rezoning recommendation could come up for discussion during a special called meeting or during February’s work session.

In order to pass a rezoning plan, the board will have to change its current policy to allow for a new rezoning plan. The current policy states the board would not rezone for several years.

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