DeKalb's Challenges Ahead for 2016

Nancy Jester outlines DeKalb’s challenges ahead for 2016. Below is an excerpt from the article published in this week’s Crier.

Commissioner Nancy Jester

Jester outlines DeKalb challenges ahead for 2016
By: Nancy Jester

As the New Year approaches, I’d like to share my thoughts about what DeKalb County issues you should watch for in 2016.
The budget for 2016 must be reviewed, finalized, and approved by the Board of Commissioners by March 1st. The proposed budget included no change in the millage rate for unincorporated DeKalb.
For those citizens living in cities, your county rate is lower than the unincorporated areas and is dependent on which services your city receives from the county. The good news is that most cities should see an overall decrease …
I continue to believe that the county is overstaffed and inefficiently managed. So despite some positive news for the incorporated areas of DeKalb, the budget is not aligned with the leaner more efficient service delivery strategy that I favor…
I am particularly concerned with an effort in the General Assembly to increase the taxes of newly formed cities via House Bill 711. The legislation would create a new special tax district for unfunded pension liabilities of DeKalb County…
We’ll need to keep an eye out on the proposal for the e-SPLOST V. The school district has shown a stunning lack of planning capabilities over the last 20 years of e-SPLOST. Trailers and poor conditions have proliferated in some areas while new schools were built where enrollment severely declined. The details of the proposal will determine whether it is worthy of support.
As always, DeKalb is in need of economic development outside of the perimeter area. The county and school district must demonstrate that they are capable partners by improving the business climate and academic achievement levels in DeKalb. These improvements must be coupled with a dedication to rooting out corruption and unethical behavior and practices that have plagued DeKalb for too long. Only when DeKalb is seen as a successful, ethical government and school system will real progress take hold.
Most importantly, I wish you and your families a healthy, safe, and prosperous New Year.
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Public Meetings to Present Redistricting Options to Address Cross Keys Overcrowding
Revised 12/22/2015
DeKalb County School District will be holding three (3) public meetings to present redistricting options to address overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster. The community will have an opportunity to voice their comments on the proposed options at these meetings. The affected schools include Montgomery ES, Huntley Hills ES, Ashford Park ES, Cary Reynolds ES, Dresden ES, Montclair ES, Woodward ES, Briar Vista ES, Fernbank ES, Laurel Ridge ES, McLendon ES, Avondale ES, Chamblee MS, Chamblee HS, Sequoyah MS, Cross Keys HS, Druid Hills MS, Druid Hills HS, Warren Tech, Oakcliff Theme. Final recommendations on redistricting will be presented for approval at the March 2016 Board Meeting.
Meetings will be held:

  1. Thursday, January 14th 2016, 6:00 pm at Sequoyah Middle School – 3456 Aztec Road Doraville, GA 30340
  2. Tuesday, January 19th 2016, 6:00 pm at Druid Hills High School – 1798 Haygood Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
  3. Thursday, February 11th 2016, 6:00 pm at Cross Keys High School – 1626 N. Druid Hills Road NE Atlanta, GA 30319

House Bill 711
House Bill 711 will provide for the retirement of certain pension obligations; to provide for definitions; to provide for the creation of special districts under certain circumstances for a limited period of time; to provide for procedures, conditions, and limitations; to provide for certain taxation in connection with the retirement of such obligations; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

The proposed fifth Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST V) will be a continuation of the one percent sales tax currently paid on the sale of good and services sold in DeKalb County. A joint resolution will be developed between the DeKalb County School District, the Atlanta Public Schools and the City Schools of Decatur for the approval of a project list to be presented to the voters via formal referendum in November May of 2016 [Note: data was recently changed on DCSD website]. If approved by the voters of DeKalb County, E-SPLOST V sales tax collections would commence on July 1, 2017 and sunset on June 30, 2022.

6 responses to “DeKalb's Challenges Ahead for 2016

  1. School Overcrowding – your list of schools on this blog did not include Druid Hills MS & HS. Typo?
    ->>> What is DCS proposing?
    The Cross Keys cluster suddenly includes Briar Vista & Fernbank ES?
    Amazing, things had just calmed down a little, and now there is a rezoning crisis?
    No one in DCS saw this coming? Old outdated buildings, bad parking lots, endless portables?
    Now, it is so widespread that the number of schools considered for rezoning impacts more and more neighborhoods. Why not wait longer, and then we’ll be back to most of the county sitting on cement blocks. DCS, as a metro system, has not renovated, updated and improved most schools in YEARS!
    Stop moving children around. Update and build schools all along and do not wait until they fall down.
    Have we not lost enough high performing students to private school?
    Now, this will stir up another can of worms and folks with options will move.
    Nice work!

  2. Just read on the DCS Notification – Revised 12/22/2015, that numerous other schools are part of the rezoning list. Including Laurel Ridge & Avondale…and others.
    DCS needs to get busy , fix and expand specific schools without rezoning schools that work.
    Lumping in schools with extreme poverty, low test scores and discipline issues will guarantee that people with resources will remove their children and go elsewhere. DCS does not appear to care, never has in 30+ years.
    Wait until the last school has been taken over ny Gov. Deal and are privatized by charter corporate investors?
    You are on your way.

  3. Affected Schools – The list of affected schools comes from this Address Cross Keys Cluster Overcrowding flyer I received this month.
    Briar Vista & Fernbank ES? – I believe the administration’s short term solution is to temporarily alleviate overcrowding by utilizing empty seats.
    Building Project Plan – As you know, the SPLOST IV list of projects was approved by the board in 2011 as well as by the public in a referendum later that year. Nancy expressed the same concerns and voted ‘No’. A majority of the Dunwoody voters voted ‘No’ on the referendum. However, a majority of the Board of Education and DeKalb voters approved the project list. We are locked into those projects until SPLOST V projects start in July 2017.
    I think this is one of the reasons Nancy brought up that we should pay attention to the e-splost project list. I hope you attend at least one of the public meetings mentioned to voice your thoughts.

  4. Stan, pls open the Dekalb County Schools APP and read the 12/22/2015 REVISED announcement re: Redistricting and notice the expanded list of schools. Many are not part of the Cross Keys Cluster, namely the ones I listed earlier.
    Too much confusion, inconsistent information, esp. prior to a holiday break. The attached flyer you posted is also attached to the REVISED notice on the APP – again, different list of schools.

  5. Nancy, I think there is room for compromise on HB 711. Those areas that have incorporated into cities should be responsible for funding pension costs that accrued prior to formal incorporation. Newly formed cities should not be able to walk away from paying for all costs associated with services provided by the County, including pensions, before becoming a city.

  6. If you move out from Central to lower cost industrial areas, be preraped to lose some of your staff as well. A lot of OL take pride working in Central. This is a symbol of status.