Collierville schools charging tuition for transfer students

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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Parents who live outside the Collierville school district but want to send their children to school there may be able to transfer — at a cost.

A number of parents are upset over a controversial move made by Collierville schools.

Staring next year, families who live outside of the city will have to pay tuition.

The Collierville school board recently approved a $400 tuition fee for students who live in Shelby County outside the Collierville district. For those who live outside Shelby County, it's $4,000.

It's the only school district in Shelby County that requires a tuition fee for in-county transfers.

Some say it's too much but others have no problem with it. They say it's fair since out of town families don't pay Collierville property taxes, which help fund the schools. Families outside the county don't pay county property taxes either, which also fund the schools.

Russ Smith says charging tuition just makes sense.

"The local taxes pay for the school. So, if a child from outside the district wants to attend school there, they need to pay something," he says.

Other school districts in Tennessee do the same thing.

"I've always lived in rural areas growing up and people who wanted to attend a district that they weren't paying taxes in always had to pay tuition," Smith says.

Frank Paladino calls $400 a bargain.

"This is state of the art schools. Top teachers. People care. Parents, we're involved. So, I think it's a good deal for anybody who comes in," he says.

It's important to note, households in the county won't pay more than $1,000 a year, no matter how many kids are enrolled. Smith says all outside families should be fairly assessed.

"I think they should pay something. I think it should be needs based. If there is people who can't afford it, I would give them a break," he says.

Tuition will be due in late July.

Three schools — Schilling Farms, Sycamore Elementary and the new middle school (currently (Schilling Farms Middle) — are open to transfers for the 2018-19 school year. Three others are open to transfers only if a sibling attends and three others are closed.

Open enrollment for Collierville schools runs from Jan. 16-Feb. 16. Details are online here.

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