Redirecting Federal Dollars from Poor Districts and Giving to Wealthier Ones – REALLY?

As you know, a few years ago Memphis City Schools underwent major surgery as several suburban districts seceded from the large urban district to establish their own school systems. Now called Shelby County Schools, the district is still rather large post-secession and overwhelmingly comprised of schools filled with children from distressed circumstances.

No urban district is immune to problems, but the large secession makes Shelby County unique. The surrounding middle/upper-class communities made it clear they no longer wanted to be associated with the urban district and now it seems they are being rewarded. According to the Commercial Appeal, five surrounding school districts have discovered they are the beneficiaries of healthy monetary gifts from the federal government.

So the largely poor district loses federal $5 million in Title I funding—money meant for schools with a majority of low-income students—and meanwhile, the districts with significantly less impoverished students get the cash. Maybe I’m oversimplifying the scenario a touch, but the outcome doesn’t change. Large urban poor school district loses millions of dollars to wealthier school districts.

Incidentally, this leads me to Nashville, which is expected to lose $4 million in funding for schools with low-income students. This is a huge concern. As our city gets more prosperous, our school district becomes increasingly impoverished and these funds are given based on the income levels of residents in the district. The crazy thing is that people can’t afford housing here. It’s well-documented! We have a ridiculous amount of people moving around, month-to-month, trying to find affordable housing. No way we should be losing federal funding. I need a little help understanding this one.

Check out the Commercial Appeal article about Shelby County Schools in its entirety.

If you’re interested in how Nashville’s growth -”prosperity”- is happening at the speed of light and leaving scores of families in the dust (literally on the streets), check out the pieces below. Few articles, if any, talk about the negative impact on schools.

Nashville’s Prosperity Rests on Backs of Unhoused, Over-Jailed, and Undereducated

The Costs of Growth and Change (Series)

New Data: Nashville Region Still Growing By 100 People A Day

Cost of Living Rising in Nashville, Study Says


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