Some municipal school districts celebrate growth, some SCS schools fear closure

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Germantown Municipal School District celebrated the groundbreaking of its new addition to Riverdale School on Thursday.

Students, parents, and community leaders celebrated the groundbreaking the same day the Shelby County School district held meetings with a couple schools slated for possible closure.

"You are so fortunate to have a school building in a time where some schools are struggling, even closing. You guys are building a new building," one Riverdale parent told the crowd in Germantown.

The addition will provide space for middle school students, and will do away with the aging portable classrooms at Riverdale.

"You know they have that expression from Field of Dreams, 'if you build it, they will come.' That's what we're expecting too," said Germantown Municipal Schools Superintendent Jason Manuel.

"The decisions that are made, you know where to go, you know who to talk to. Things get done very quickly," said Riverdale PTSA President Amy Jenkins, regarding the Germantown district.

Collierville Schools is breaking ground on a new high school building next week.

It is another sign that municipal districts are continuing to grow.

SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson has addressed declining enrollment in the district, speaking at budget meetings about how there are 27,000 more seats than students.

U.S. Census data suggests a population shift that might favor municipal school districts.

In Collierville High School's zip code, the population rose by 12,649 people between 2000 and 2010.

In Riverdale's zip code, the population went up by 1,024 people.

Contrast that with the Shelby County Schools currently in the closure process.

Northside High School's zip code lost 4,411 people, and Carver High School's zip code lost 5,807.

SCS met with parents at those schools on Thursday to talk about the next steps.

Reggie Worles attended the meeting at Northside.

"I think it's terrible. I think they could have made this school maybe for middle and high school, and bring up the enrollment. I think there are other ways they could have did it rather than just saying close it down," Worles said.

It is not a done deal for the Carver, Northside, and Messick Adult High School, which are all in the closure process.

Board members will have their final vote at the end of this month.

Conversely, Germantown Municipal Schools expects the new addition at Riverdale to open before the 2017-2018 school year.