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Thousands of Memphis families opt out of sharing contact info with charter schools

After a month of urging parents to leave their contact information out of a list that may be shared with state-run charter schools, Shelby County Schools says 7,700 families have heeded their call.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson updated school board members Tuesday night on the number of families who have opted out of sharing their information.

Now board members are left with a choice in the battle over student enrollment: hand over the rest of the names, or face a lawsuit from the state.

In August, the board passed a resolution to stand by Nashville’s school district in defiance of a state order to share student information with charter schools. The Nashville district has since been sued by the state for defying its order, and state officials have been waiting to learn if the Memphis district will stick with its early position.

Sunday marked the deadline set by Hopson for parents to opt out of having their students’ names, addresses and phone numbers shared with charters. Leaders with Green Dot Public Schools say they need the information for marketing purposes to make parents aware of their options.

Memphis district robo call tells parents to opt out of data sharing: “We do not want to lose any students to charter schools”

Rodney Moore, the district’s top lawyer, describes the lawsuit against Nashville as “pending litigation” against the Memphis school district. He invited board members to talk with him privately if they have questions.

Board chairwoman Shante Avant said she’ll convene a private session to discuss the legal matter further. A vote could come as early as Oct. 31.

Stephanie Love said her vote will depend on Green Dot’s intent. She favors sharing the information “if this is about choice (and) making sure parents are knowledgeable of all the options.”

“If it’s not making sure all parents know all of their options, I’m not going to support turning anything over,” she said.