Strategic Planning, Implementation, and Collaboration will fix Shelby County School Funding Problems

No fluff.. Just the facts..

Shelby County Schools have two models. One has large schools, packed with kids,, One has mostly small schools running less than 50%. One has a lower cost per pupil as a result and runs at a positive cash flow. One has a high cost per pupil and runs at a negative cash flow. The fixed overhead at most schools are the same and make it hard to scale. This is the sustainability factor.

On the revenue side, we see the loss of money to ASD, Charter ,and Municipal Schools. And due to the inability to scale our system, it always makes budget time difficult.

In other words, infrastructure is killing our system. Buildings, their condition, their location, their capacity directly link to our bottom line.

So what is the solution?

It is time to fight the battles that need to be fought and not the battles that make politicians feel good. We need a 5-10 year strategy to plan for substantial building attrition for our district. That would mean closing and consolidating schools. That will mean strategically building large schools in town to drive the cost per pupil down.  Too much of the cost per pupil is going to overhead from inefficiency.

This solution will be incredibly painful but necessary for future sustainability.

Buildings

While many fight and use buildings to political advantage, they actually are an albatross around the neck of the district. Case in point, the original SCS(pre-merger) had a 5 year CIP (capital improvement plan) that saw the district investing more than 160 million in capital for SCS. This included funding for a new high school, roofs, expansion for Millington. The release of all of the buildings from SCS to municipal districts has been and will save the district 80-100 million dollars over the next 3-4 years. These costs will be borne by the municipal districts. I use that example to prove a point. Buildings cost us money. The more unusable ones we can get rid of, the better..

Collaboration

The biggest risk in our county to our tax rate and children is this issue. It makes sense that we bring the best and brightest from across the county to help fix the issue. That may mean participating in committees or pledging some future ADA capital. This entire endeavor directly impacts the future county tax rate. I think goodwill would go a long way in helping all of us get what we want, There has not been much of that lately. But I believe that exists on our school board..  So much we can do together.

We can fix this problem..

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