This post is written by Jimmie Covington, veteran Memphis reporter with lengthy experience covering governmental, school, and demographic issues. He is a contributing writer with The Best Times, a monthly news magazine for active people 50 and older.  

By Jimmie Covington

The average daily attendance ratio declined just over one-half of a percent in Shelby County Schools this year and rose a similar amount in the municipal school districts combined, according to figures filed this spring with county Trustee David Lenoir.

The new county to municipal ratio is 78.62-21.38 compared to 79.16-20.84 last year.

Although small, the change means that about $2 million in county government school funding will shift from the county school system to five of the six municipal districts combined, according to calculations.

In addition, additional thousands will shift among the school systems from the one-half share of the countywide local option sales tax that must go to schools under state law.  The ratios also have an impact on the division of state funding among the school districts.

Also, the ratios will be used in dividing the school capital funds the county approves for the coming year.  The Millington school district was the only suburban district with a drop this year. Although it was minor, it will keep the Millington schools from getting an increase from the total.

Since the numbers are weighted figures, they are higher than the actual attendance figures in the school districts. The weighting is based on the grades the students are in and on such things as whether a child needs special education services because of physical or mental conditions.

Estimates are made at the start of each fiscal year on how to divide the county and sales tax funding.  The county trustee then makes adjustments in the spring of each year after the official figures come in.

County government’s appropriation for schools for the current year is $391.3 million.

The countywide total average daily attendance this year is 177,752 compared to 178,355 last year.

The breakdown in numbers by school districts this year is (with last year’s numbers in parentheses):

Shelby County Schools – 139,755 (141,184)

Arlington – 6,271 (6,031)

Bartlett, – 10,392 (10,088)

Collierville – 9,800 (9,569)

Germantown – 7,257 (7,156)

Lakeland – 1,055 (1,004)

Millington – 3,222 (3,323)

Here are last year’s average daily attendance percentages compared to this year:

School districts                                 2015                                    2016

Shelby County                                  79.16                                   78.62

Arlington                                           3.38                                     3.53

Bartlett                                              5.66                                     5.85

Collierville                                         5.37                                     5.51

Germantown                                    4.01                                     4.08

Lakeland                                            0.56                                     0.60

Millington                                          1.86                                     1.81

Source: County Trustee David Lenoir’s Office