DeKalb Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study

The Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study is now in its third round of public engagement sessions.

  Chamblee Magnet Program – District Options Developed To Address Capacity Needs
Round 3
Based on feedback from the five Regional Steering Committee meetings, these three options will be combined and/or refined to create recommendations/options to be presented at two public meetings scheduled to take place on

  • Tuesday, August 23rd at Clarkston HS auditorium at 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, August 25th at Cross Keys HS gymnasium at 6:30 pm.

There will also be an online survey to provide feedback on the recommendations/options presented at these meetings available at:
Recommendations from this study will be incorporated into the District’s Building S.P.A.C.E.S (Master Planning) Initiative and the proposed 2017-2022 E-SPLOST project list, which will be discussed in public meetings in Sep-tember 2016.
The Problem

Three Options Developed To Address Capacity Needs

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•  Option 1: New Cluster Approach
Construct a new high school to be paired with Sequoyah MS and a new middle school to be paired with Cross Keys HS. Classroom additions at Lakeside HS and Clarkston HS will also be needed as well as localized attendance line adjustments to balance enrollment.
•  Option 2: Expand Existing Capacity
Construct classroom additions at: Chamblee HS, Chamblee MS, Peachtree MS, Dunwoody HS, Cross Keys HS, Sequoyah MS, Lakeside HS, and Clarkston HS. No new schools would be constructed and localized attendance line adjustments would still be necessary to balance enrollment. This option included two variations:

  1. Chamblee MS and Chamblee HS magnet programs remain in place
  2. Chamblee MS and Chamblee HS magnet programs are relocated to other schools with available capacity. (AKA “Shutdown Chamblee MS/HS Magnet Program and create new HS/MS Magnet Program in Southwest DeKalb cluster Plan)

•  Option 3: Utilize Existing Capacity
This option focused on leveraging district-wide attendance line adjustments to relieve overcrowding. Under this option, the one-to-one middle to high school feeder pattern would be eliminated for all DeKalb middle and high schools and new attendance areas would be established for every middle and high school within the District. This option also includes the conversion of some middle and high schools into another configuration (e.g. middle to high or high to middle) and requires the construction of a new middle school and a classroom addition to Clarkston HS.
The Purpose – Planning and Feasibility Study
To develop long-term plans for addressing capacity needs of the district’s middle schools and high schools utilizing all available options including E-SPLOST funds.

Pros & Cons
Planning and Feasibility Study Options

July 25, 2016 – Committees consisting of steering committee members and two representatives from each of the forty middle and high schools studied and discussed these pros and cons of the four potential options to address current and pending capacity needs.

Cost Estimates
Planning and Feasibility Study Options

July 20, 2016 – Based on 2022 enrollment projections, the Steering Committee discussed these Cost Estimates for the four potential options to address current and pending capacity needs.

DeKalb Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study
July 18, 2016 – The study will identify the challenges and opportunities facing each middle school and high school, determine options to address the needs identified, and prepare regional master plans to implement the options. Here are the problems, the funds and the options.

Chamblee Magnet Program – Is it moving?
July 13, 2016 – Any truth to the rumor of moving the magnet program from Chamblee Middle and Chamblee High? Steering committees discussed the pros and cons of the following four potential options to address current and pending capacity needs.

19 responses to “DeKalb Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study

  1. The best solution is a combination of these options.

  2. I agree, Kirk. But how can that happen? As I understand the meetings, their purpose is to merely present the final recommendation. There is no cost data available for the public to consider before the meeting, and no guarantee that cost data will be presented at the meeting.
    Wise decisions require comparing costs vs. benefits.

  3. Sure would be a lot of fun to go thru district wide redistricting again,as I read option 3 to state. The last Board worked hard to get the feeder plans in place to simplify things. My question is this county has always made these dire enrollment predictions. Have they ever looked to see if the enrollment predictions made 7 years ago have come true? If so, shouldn’t we target those areas specifically? Why go thru this awful process again if they are only going to execute 2/3 of it. Seems to me there was a plan already in progress. What happened to that?

  4. Thanks for keeping us posted on the possible changes to the magnet program location. Your post is actually the first most of my magnet parent friends had heard of it (would have been nice to have some input earlier).
    If the magnets move, would the decision be made this year and implemented the next school year? If the move happens, I am assuming that the CCHS teachers would not follow the kids to whatever new location. To me, the program has always been about the teachers and not the building.
    I thought we were set on HS, but we may have to start looking into private schools. I hear good things about the new Principal at Lakeside, but I think that the problems at Lakeside are going to take some time to fix.

  5. Cindy pietkiewicz

    Thanks Stan! The financial analysis has to be developed and if so to factor I. Cost savings that could come from consolidating overcapacity on the south side in order to right size where the kids love and are going to school. We must add more capacity to cross keys area and moving magnet is nowhere near providing a significant solution compared to the loss of dekalbs very successful magnet which will be highly harmed (and he schools where they reside) by a move. Does not make any sense

  6. Wow! If they move the Magnet programs out of Chamblee, there will be no magnet or other school choice options in Region 1. That doesn’t sound fair to me.

  7. Paula Caldarella

    Wow! If they move the Magnet programs out of Chamblee, there will be no magnet or other school choice options in Region 1.
    You are aware Chamblee is also a charter school, which indeed makes it a “choice” school.

  8. Dekalb Inside Out

    There are schools with attendance zones and schools without. Chamblee Charter High School has an attendance zone and those students do not choose to go there. Co-existing with the charter school is the magnet program where attendance is strictly by choice.
    Many of the schools in Region 1 are (or were) conversion charters like CCHS with attendance zones. They are as much a “choice” school as every other school across the district.
    I think everybody is talking about the choice is the magnet program.

  9. Magnet schools for high achievers
    DeKalb County operates six magnet schools for high achievers:

    • Kittredge Magnet School
    • Wadsworth Magnet School
    • Chamblee Middle School
    • Chapel Hill Middle School
    • Chamblee Charter High School
    • Southwest DeKalb High School

    Magnet schools of the arts

    • DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts
    • DeKalb School of the Arts

    Other magnet schools

    • Clifton Elementary School – math, science and computer education
    • Evansdale Elementary School – math, science and French
    • Columbia Middle School – math, science and technology
    • Arabia Mountain High School – environment, energy and engineering
    • Columbia High School – math, science and technology
  10. Are those involved in these decisions including traffic engineers as part of the process? Adding additional seats to Lakeside HS puts more cars along Briarcliff Rd. which is already extremely congested. It would seem on the face of it that a few larger projects would be easier to manage financially rather than taking on multiple seat additions throughout the district

  11. Stan Jester

    Hello Colleen,
    Traffic is usually in the jurisdiction of the county or the city. The Chief Operating Officer, Josh Williams, said the district will do a traffic study for the new elementary school in Brookhaven. I don’t know how much a part traffic concerns played in developing these options.

  12. Upon first view, option one appears to make the most sense. You will get the most resistance to the lplans involving the most change of current boundaries. If you keep school groups together I imagine that will meet with less resistance. As someone mentioned, pushback from those of us who feel strongly about our children staying at their school will be strong, as it has been in the past. Building new schools also sounds like the best long term solution to the problem. However, why not utilize space that the county already owns to either renovate or tear down and rebuild on? According to the map, would the old Briarcliff High Building and DSA building be utilized for one or more of these new schools? It would certainly make sense.

  13. Stan,
    Listing the magnet schools just makes it clear that moving the Chamblee middle & high programs will put almost all of the magnet programs above the elementary level in the south part of the county. With the exception of DSA, which is more specialized, every other secondary program you list is in south Dekalb.

  14. Also, I echo the comments of LF above. Since moving the magnet program to SW Dekalb didn’t even come up at the last public input meetings, this is starting to feel like something that might be pushed through with little public input or knowledge. Did this idea come from the school board in a separate meeting? From the county?

  15. Mel,
    The board and administration haven’t discussed these options. I can give you a few data points.
    Superintendent Green’s Goals And Self Evaluation include “Devise and deploy an action plan to relieve overcrowded schools in the Region I cluster”. The current Cross Keys redistricting has been met with a lot of resistance. The administration is keenly aware that parents don’t like being moved to another school. Fixing Region 1 will need to come from within Region 1.
    Early in Dr. Green’s tenure, he was very adamant about not moving the magnet program. Frankly he was frustrated and incredulous that I even asked him about the administration’s thoughts on moving the magnet program from Chamblee.
    I do know that many parents in South DeKalb want the Chamblee program moved down South. I submit the possibility that some of these options reflect what the administration is hearing from South DeKalb and not something the administration is trying to push through.
    That being said, I refer to Commissioner Jester’s earlier comment. I would also like to point out the context is from the administration 5 years ago … “The district administration and many board members have been trying to move the magnet for years. When I was on the board, they really thought they could get the votes to move it to Avondale. I opposed that and the proposal was defeated. Many in the administration would like nothing better than to tear away the magnet program at Chamblee.”

  16. Would seem like adding a magnet program in South Dekalb would be the best option. Why can’t the administration replicate popular programs county-wide?
    Great schools become over-crowded for a reason….people want to go there. Focus more on making ALL schools great and you eliminate much of the over-crowding issues.

  17. David, DeKalb Schools has many magnet programs. Aside from the high achievers magnet at Chamblee HS & MS, and Kittredge ES, all the other magnets are in South DeKalb.

  18. A new addition was just completed at Lakeaide High School. Housing construction will send many additional students there. It is by far the largest high school though not the most overcrowded. Redistricting must take place to relieve the overcrowding unless there are plans to open another high school in Region 2. Is sending students across the I-85/I-285 interchange to a new Doraville cluster reasonable? Why not shift students OTP to Tucker, students from Tucker to Stone Mtn, and Stone Mountain to Stephenson and Redan? Or build/create a new high school in the Henderson-Evansdale-Northlake area. With respect to conversation about moving Chamblee’s magnet program to SWD, such a move would send many students back to Lakeside and other high schools which are also overcrowded.
    Has the board actually looked at the feasibility of adding on (again) to Lakeside? It is surrounded by land that is protected by the EPA as part of the Peachtree Creek water system. There is currently a shortage of parking, and there is only access to the property from Briarcliff Rd.

  19. A new HS right in the middle of Region 1 and Region 2 would help alleviate over-crowding at all the high schools in those two regions. The administration hasn’t brought anything to the board yet, they are still conducting their study. They’ll do their 3rd round presentation at the end of this month and gather more community feedback. It won’t come before the board for a few months.