MSCS Lawn Enhancements

Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) is continuing its ongoing reforms to enhance building and grounds conditions for students, faculty, and families. As part of a series of improvements, MSCS outsourced lawn care this school year to local businesses with the capacity to help beautify its 160+ District-managed schools. 

“Reform starts in your own front yard,” said Supt. Toni Williams. “While District leaders continue to advocate for much needed, new, state-of-the-art facilities for our students, we must also be good stewards of our current buildings and lawns. This year, I made a commitment to improve our building maintenance and lawn care because I know the importance of making the best first impression possible when families and neighbors step onto our campuses.” 

Faculty and the community have cheered the changes. See this highlight video to hear directly from our school leaders. 

Fox Meadows Elementary School principal Tameka Allen said the lawn improvements show that Superintendent Williams heard the complaints of school leaders. “The grounds crew that has been contracted is doing a phenomenal job. The school is so much more appealing with the lawn being well kept,” said Allen. 

Under the changes, school lawns are now cut on a two-week cycle instead of a three-week cycle. Also, lawns are treated with herbicides more frequently. 

“Since the lawn care has started to be outsourced, we’ve seen more attention to detail,” said White Station High School principal Carrye Holland. “It just looks neater, cleaner, more presentable.”

Outsourcing lawn care also has eased the workload for the District's dedicated building engineers who previously were tasked with lawn care and building maintenance for two to three schools each. 

The majority of items in the first lot of surplus equipment formerly used by MSCS building engineers were sold at or above the initial purchase price in a spring auction marketed to small business owners. This auction netted $668,711, and MSCS is negotiating the sale of the remaining 80 mowers. Money made at the auction combined with the bulk sales put the District on track to recoup or exceed the $1.4 million value of the surplus lawn equipment.

As part of our continued reforms this school year, we also piloted an app that allowed school leaders to make and track maintenance requests in real time. This allowed us to slash through a huge backlog of maintenance orders. Plans are underway to hire more HVAC technicians and building engineers, and to hire one plant manager for each school for quicker response.

MSCS looks forward to seeing more transformational improvements brought about by new lawn maintenance plans.  

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