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Memphis-Area School Year Starts With Opening of Six Breakaway Districts

Six new school districts opened their doors to students in Shelby County, Tenn. this week, the coda to prolonged legal wrangling by suburban municipalities that sought to split from Shelby County Schools in the wake of its merger with the public schools in Memphis.

The new districts—Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, and Millington—welcomed students on Monday. The new systems unfolded without major bumps, according to the Commercial-Appeal. Over the last few months, the towns raced to hire staff, write school policies, and assemble other infrastructure in time for the opening.  

In addition to the new districts, there is still Shelby County Schools, which includes the city of Memphis, and the Achievement School District—made up of poor-performing schools that have been taken over by the state.

The suburban separation was set in motion beginning in 2011, when, because of financial issues, the Memphis School Board and then later its citizens voted to merge with smaller, suburban Shelby County. The result was the creation of one of the largest school districts in the country.

In 2012, Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation allowing the six suburban communities to form their own municipal school districts. They voted to do so in July 2013.

The Memphis-Shelby County merger, which created a school district of more than 140,000 students, went into effect last school year.    

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