Breaking News
More () »

Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Shelby County School Buildings Crumbling Without $90 Million Investment

Roofs leak. Paint peels. There are no gymnasiums. The schools are overcrowded. Just a few examples of life for students and teachers in Shelby County Schoo...
Shelby County School Buildings Crumbling Without $90 Million Dollar Investment

Officials with the Shelby County School System will tell you some of their buildings are in pretty rough shape.

It’s deferred maintenance. What does it mean?

Let’s look at the highways and all of those cars.
Some people put off fixing little things until the problem gets a little worse, a little worse, and suddenly your car is a hazardous waste area.
That’s deferred maintenance.

“Our deferred maintenance,” says Shelby County School Board Chairman Shante Avant, “is about $500-million.”

That’s a lot of cheese and Shante knows it.
They knew they couldn’t go to Shelby County Commissioners and say we want all that money this year.
Instead it’s how about $90 million?

“We have so many buildings in need of support,” Avant says. “We have two schools that need to be built, and they’re 21st century schools, things our kids deserve. And then we have schools that need gymnasiums. Very basic things, but it means a lot to the kids in our communities and parents in our communities.”

It puts Shelby County Commissioners in a bind.
They deal with the very real possibility of having to raise property taxes.

“I’ll agree there’s a ton of poverty in Shelby County,” Commissioner Terry Roland says, “… and the majority of those people in poverty, property taxes hurt them more than the rich people.”

Putting repairs off because of no money has led to the current situation.
It is not good says Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.

“These buildings have been neglected for a long time,” he says. “When you have a roof that is 10 years past its life cycle, you get water on the floor, and the floor starts to buckle, and the paint starts to come off the walls. That’s the reality of many of our schools. It’s just a matter of resources.”