DeKalb County School Board votes to close 8 schools, redistrict

12:46 PM, Mar 8, 2011   |    comments
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(AP Photo)

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- The DeKalb County School Board voted Monday night to close eight underpopulated schools in order to save money, and redraw school district lines to accommodate other shifts in population over the years that have filled other schools beyond their capacity.

The vote, at school district headquarters in Stone Mountain, was 7 to 2.

The redistricting plan will take effect after the current school year.

Sarah Copelin-Wood and Donna Edler cast the two, dissenting votes.

The board accepted most, but not all, of the recommendations that Interim School Superintendent Ramona Tyson made last month.

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First of all, the board made no changes to the eight schools that she said should close:

  • Atherton E.S.
  • Glen Haven E.S.
  • Gresham Park E.S.
  • Medlock E.S.
  • Peachcrest E.S.
  • Sky Haven E.S.
  • Avondale M.S.
  • Avondale H.S. (which will be the location for the DeKalb School of the Arts)

But the board did make changes to some of the school district lines that were in Tyson's proposal.

The changes to Tyson's plan were offered by Board Member Donald McChesney.

The board approved eight changes proposed by McChesney, and the following is the list of changes as read by McChesney at the meeting:

1. Maintain the current Flat Rock and Bouie Elementary Schools and their feeder pattern as they exist, while we seek a less disruptive transportation solution.

2. Assign the "Austin 28," as represented on the February 7th Superintendent's recommendation map for elementary schools, to Austin Elementary School.

3. Assign the area, bounded by Womack Road to the south, Vermack Road to the east, Chamblee-Dunwoody Road to the west, and Mt. Vernon Road to the north, to Vanderlyn Elementary School.

4. Assign the Camden Apartments to Chesnut Elementary School.

5. Assign the following streets to Sagamore Elementary School, Henderson Middle School, and Lakeside High School (Sagamore 8): Bruce Road, Summit Glen Lane, Brockon Glen, Mt. Royal Dr., Oak Lane, Timothy Drive.

6. Assign the "Laurel Ridge 70," as represented on the February 7th Superintendent's recommendation map for elementary schools, to Laurel Ridge Elementary School; assign the students that are currently in the Medlock Elementary School attendance area, south of North Decatur Road and west of Wynn Way, to Laurel Ridge Elementary School.

7. The portion north of Memorial Drive within the area labeled "72: Avondale MS to Bethune MS 89: Avondale HS to Towers HS" on the February 7th Superintendent's recommendation Middle and High Schools map shall be assigned to Avondale Elementary, Druid Hills Middle and Druid Hills High Schools.

8. Assign the "Livsey 54," as represented on the February 7th Superintendent's recommendation map for elementary schools, to Livsey Elementary School rather than move them to Midvale Elementary School, as represented on the February 7th Superintendent's recommendation map for elementary schools.

The amended plan adopted by the board will cause 6,000 to 7,000 students to change schools after this school year, rather than the 9,000 who were likely to have to change schools under the original plan proposed by Tyson.

The board expects the school system will save about $12 million a year as a result of closing the schools and from redrawing district lines and from other aspects of the redistricting plan.

There will be no changes to the magnet school program in the 2011-2012 school year.

Many parents in the audience Monday night continued to question the list of closed schools adopted by the board, since they are mostly in south DeKalb County, and other schools in the north part of the county, they said, fit the same criteria for closing, but were not closed.

Board Chair Thomas Bowen told 11Alive News that all the schools that will close are not only underpopulated, but they are in areas that have continued to lose population because of the economy, which means, Bowen said, that those schools would probably continue to lose population.

One of the parents objecting to the plan, Tasha Walker, who is from south DeKalb County, went to the DeKalb County courthouse and filed a request for an injunction Monday afternoon, hoping a judge will schedule a hearing and issue an injunction, blocking implementation of the redistricting plan. 




Later this week, DeKalb County Schools will publish the final school district maps as approved Monday night, on their website:

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