Last year, the DeKalb County School System floated the idea of consolidation, meaning some schools would be closed — most of them in the south end of the county — and some children would be redistricted into unfamiliar schools. Predictably, the proposal was met with opposition from parents and some school board members, so the board put off making a decisions until this year.
Now, with many schools operating under capacity, the district has to maximize how much state funding it receives. No one has calculated exactly how much, but the district loses millions of dollars each year with more than 11,000 empty classroom seats, according to Megan Matteucci at the AJC.
The district began last night holding a series of public comment sessions. (They were rescheduled after the snowstorm last week.) There is also an online public comment survey, which is scheduled to remain open until midnight on Jan. 31.
Here's the public hearing schedule, with all sessions begining at 6:30 p.m.:
Jan. 20: Chamblee High School, 3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Chamblee
Jan. 25: McNair High, 1804 Bouldercrest Road SE, Atlanta
Jan. 26: Bethune Middle, 5200 Covington Highway, Decatur
Jan. 27: Stone Mountain Middle, 4301 Sarr Parkway, Stone Mountain
After these sessions, Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson will deliver her recommendations at 6 p.m. on Feb. 7. There will be two public hearings about her recommendations in early March and a final school board vote is slated for March 7 at 6 p.m.
This redistricting plan is part of 2020 Vision, a four-part process that will create a master plan for the system moving toward 2020.
There are many, many numbers and other education-wonk things below the jump if you wish to learn much more about the situation or see how it may target your neighborhood.
The system’s goals include:
- Target enrollments of 900 for elementary schools, 1,200 for middle schools and 1,600 for high schools.
- Consolidating schools with less than 450 students or 75 percent utilization.
- Redistricting schools with less than 75 percent or more than 110 percent utilization.
- Decommissioning 14 schools.
- Repurposing some schools.
There are two proposed scenarios. The centralized option is more extensive than the decentralized option. The centralized option focuses mainly on magnet programs, moving them to central areas. Avondale Middle would become the new home of Kittredge Elementary, Wadsworth Elementary, Chamblee Middle’s magnet and Chapel Hill Middle’s magnet programs. Avondale High would become the home of Southwest DeKalb High’s magnet program. Avondale Middle and High as they are now would close. Evansdale Elementary’s magnet program would move to Jolly Elementary. In the decentralized option, none of this happens.
The county itself is divided into five separate areas known as super clusters. Each super cluster has its own centralized and decentralized plans:
Super Cluster One (includes Cross Keys, Dunwoody and Chamblee)
Centralized: Dunwoody Elementary becomes a pre-K to 5th grade school. Attendance lines are redrawn for Austin, Chesnut, Dunwoody, Hightower, Kingsley and Vanderlyn Elementary. Chamblee and Kittredge magnet programs move to Avondale Middle as stated above. Kittredge’s current building would become a neighborhood school. The attendance lines for Montgomery and Huntley Hills Elementary would be redrawn. This would enlarge the attendance area for Chamblee Middle and High, although construction of a new Chamblee High building may delay this implementation.
Decentralized: Dunwoody Elementary becomes a pre-K to 5th grade school. Attendance lines are redrawn for Austin, Chesnut, Dunwoody, Hightower, Kingsley and Vanderlyn Elementary.
Super Cluster Two (includes Druid Hills, Lakeside and Tucker)
Centralized: Livsey and Medlock Elementary close. Livsey students are redistricted to Brockett, Midvale and Smoke Rise Elementary. Medlock students are redistricted to Avondale, Laurel Ridge and McLendon Elementary. Druid Hills High, Lakeside High, Shamrock/Druid Hills Middle, Briar Vista Elementary, Fernbank Elementary and Sagamore Hills Elementary are redistricted. Evansdale’s magnet program moves to Jolly Elementary as stated above. Attendance lines are redrawn to relieve crowding at Pleasantdale Elementary.
Decentralized: Medlock closes and its students are redistricted to Avondale, Laurel Ridge and McLendon. Druid Hills High, Lakeside High, Shamrock/Druid Hills Middle, Briar Vista Elementary, Fernbank Elementary and Sagamore Hills Elementary are redistricted. Pleasantdale and Livsey are redistricted so Livsey’s enrollment moves towards 450.
Super Cluster Three (includes Stone Mountain, Stephenson and Redan)
The centralized and decentralized plans for this super cluster are the same:
Attendance lines between Clarkston, Redan and Miller Grove High are changed. Attendance lines between Freedom, Redan and Miller Grove Middle are changed. Rock Chapel Elementary closes and students are redistricted to Pine Ridge and Princeton Elementary using attendance line changes.
Super Cluster Four (includes Martin Luther King, Southwest DeKalb, Miller Grove, Cedar Grove and Lithonia)
Centralized: Southwest DeKalb High’s magnet program moves to Avondale High and Chapel Hill Middle’s magnet program goes to Avondale Middle. Bouie Theme School program moves to Flat Rock Elementary. Attendance lines are redrawn for Browns Mill, Murphey Candler, Fairington and Rainbow Elementary. This could affect Panola Way and Stoneview Elementary. Bob Mathis Elementary closes and students are redistricted to Oak View and Rainbow Elementary.
Decentralized: Bouie program moves to Flat Rock. Attendance lines are redrawn for Browns Mill, Murphey Candler, Fairington and Rainbow. Bob Mathis closes, students redistricted to Oak View and Rainbow.
Super Cluster Five (includes McNair, Columbia, Avondale, Clarkston and Towers)
Centralized: Avondale High is repurposed for Southwest DeKalb’s magnet program. Avondale High students move to Clarkston, Columbia and Towers High. Avondale Middle receives multiple magnet programs and its current students move to Bethune, Columbia and Freedom Middle. Jolly Elementary gets about 150 kids from Evansdale Elementary. Avondale and Midway Elementary are used to change attendance lines for Medlock and McLendon Elementary. Seven schools close: Atherton, Glen Haven, Gresham Park, Sky Haven, Toney, Wadsworth and Peachcrest Elementary. These students are redistricted to Avondale, Rowland, Knollwood, Midway, Snapfinger, Canby Lane, Clifton, Columbia, Flat Shoals and Kelley Lake Elementary.
Decentralized: Repurpose Avondale Middle and High for unspecified future use. Attendance lines are redrawn for Clarkston, Columbia, McNair and Towers High. Avondale and Midway Elementary are used to change attendance lines for Medlock and McLendon Elementary. Six schools close: Atherton, Glen Haven, Gresham Park, Sky Haven, Toney and Peachcrest Elementary. These students are redistricted to Avondale, Rowland, Knollwood, Midway, Snapfinger, Canby Lane, Clifton, Columbia, Flat Shoals and Kelley Lake Elementary.
The possible school closures and under which plan(s) they would close. All are elementary unless otherwise noted:
1. Medlock (both)
2. Livsey (Centralized only)
3. Rock Chapel (both)
4. Bob Mathis (both)
5. Wadsworth (Centralized only)
6. Kittredge (Centralized only)
7. Avondale Middle (both)
8. Avondale High (both)
9. Sky Haven (both)
10. Glen Haven (both)
11. Gresham Park (both)
12. Toney (both)
13. Peachcrest (both)
14. Atherton (both)
Now, 21 elementary schools have an enrollment below 450. The centralized plan would reduce that to zero and the decentralized plan to three.
Now, 27 schools have less than 75 percent utilization. The centralized plan would reduce that to two and the decentralized plan to one.
Now, 19 schools have more than 110 percent utilization. The centralized plan would reduce that to six and the decentralized plan to 11.
Under the centralized plan, more than 16,000 students would be affected. Under the decentralized plan, about 13,000 students would be affected. DeKalb has more than 102,000 students total and 143 schools.
All facts and figures are from the Vision 2020 site.
(Full disclosure: The writer attended DeKalb schools, including Kittredge Magnet, for all of her K-12 years. Her mother, Paula Harger, is a teacher at Shamrock Middle, which recently became Druid Hills Middle.)
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