From the article
The bulk of Germantown's proposed 23-cent property tax increase is rooted in a need to address growth in education — either by building a new K-5 campus or securing three namesake schools under control of Shelby County Schools.
Of Germantown's additional 23 cents on the property tax rate, 10 cents is destined for purchase of a school site on Forest Hill-Irene, along with construction and furnishing the campus. An additional 3 cents is to improve Forest Hill-Irene south of Poplar Pike to Winchester, a segment of which passes alongside the proposed school site.
That 13 cents will cover the $33.5 million bond issue for those projects. Officials have put the price of a new K-5 school at $27 million. The other 10 cents in the hike is to "keep the five-year model," Lawton said.
The term "bulk" and the lumping of the school construction and road widening costs together in the article certainly seems to suggest that the road work is due to the new school.
Indeed, the City website more directly links the improvements to Forest Hill-Irene to the school site:
GMSD Growth - The need for a new elementary school and road improvements necessitated by the location of the school, combined with a significant reduction in state shared revenues from the Hall income tax requires the consideration of a property tax adjustment. The new K-5 elementary school including land, site work, construction and equipment has a budget of $27 million. The necessary safety improvements to Forest Hill Irene Road leading to the new school have a budget of $6.5 million. Collectively, this will result in a bond issue of $33.5 million and an increase in debt service payments of approximately $2 million annually.
Yet this Commercial Appeal article shows that the improvements to Forest Hill-Irene were being considered prior to the selection of the new school site.
Dean Massey emailed Tim Gwatney and asked how the school site selection had changed the budget for improvements to Forest Hill-Irene. Here is the exchange on this particular subject:
Conclusion: For whatever reason, the City website, which claims that the road improvements are necessitated by the school location, is incorrectly characterizing the reason for the road improvements. The city engineer confirms that these improvements are necessary with or without the new school.