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Monday, March 19, 2012

APS rezoning: Coan plan no longer part of the plan

Last weekend, I attended a rally to save Coan Middle School in Edgewood. At least I'm pretty sure that's what it was. The messaging, as PR people like to say, was a little scattershot. Every time a speaker addressed the 200-or-so parents and kids in front of the school, he or she would begin a chant as soon as a decent phrase escaped the lips. These included, but were not limited to, the following: "Invest in Coan," "Davis listen," "keep Coan open," "strong schools, strong community," "it's not fair," "Say no to Davis," "our neighborhood, our school," "this is our school," and "invest in the future." I'd say the parents (about two-thirds of whom had kids still too young to attend Coan) were completists.

Whatever you call them, though, you can call them vocal, and APS heard at least part of their message. Over the weekend, broke the news that the plan to make Coan a 6th-grade academy to ease Inman Middle School overcrowding was "off the table." APS officials said this was in response to the anger heard from the Inman and Coan community. So that's good for Edgewood, Kirkwood, and East Lake — the Coan feeder neighborhoods — right?

Sure, except that the plan to close Coan, which operates far short of capacity, is still very much on the table. (The APS rezoning plan, released March 4, calls for 13 school closings; it's designed to shore up under-attended schools and ease overcrowding at others.) As I noted in my story a few weeks back, the major frustration here is that everyone is forced to read Superintendent Davis's tea leaves if they want to guess what will ultimately be decided at the Atlanta School Board vote early next month. In the meantime, Coan parents work on their next rallying cry.

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