Round 3 – Secondary School Facility Planning And Feasibility Study

Round 3 Public Meetings
•  Tues, Aug 23 @ 6:30pm in the auditorium at Clarkston HS
•  Thurs, Aug 25 @ 6:30pm in the gymnasium at Cross Keys HS


Stan Jester
DeKalb County
Board Of Education

Note: After Thursday’s Round 3 presentation, the district will be collecting more input. In accordance with state law, School Councils shall provide advice and recommendations to the board of education and superintendent. The biggest voice, as described in the School Council Fact Sheet, will come from a complete cluster or region of school councils that come together with one resolution.

I encourage everybody to reach out and discuss these options with your school council. I encourage the school councils to come together and agree on and each pass congruent resolutions with their advice and recommendations on these options.

Superintendent Stephen Green

Dr. Stephen Green
Superintendent, DeKalb County School District

“We believe that our school councils are very important to the decision-making process within the District. So much so, we are asking for our school councils from the middle and high schools within each cluster to come together and develop a joint letter (with signatures of the school council chairs) to the Chief Operations Officer detailing their viewpoints on the three options or another option they may proposed by September 16th. In the event a school council has not been established for the 2016-2017 school year, the PTA will be encouraged to develop a letter in response to the proposed options.

The District will be sending out communication to the middle and high school clusters by the end of the week requesting this formal input. In that communication, we will also be encouraging one or more clusters to come together and develop a multi-cluster response, if possible. The collaborative formal response from multiple school clusters will provide invaluable insight and will greatly enhance our stakeholder engagement process.”

 
 
Meeting Documents
.pdf link icon  
Options Handout
.pdf link icon  PowerPoint Presentation (Aug 23 and 25, 2016)
.pdf link icon  Online Survey on Three Options (Aug 23 – Sep 16)
.pdf link icon  Option B: Assumed Middle School to High School Feeder Configuration
.pdf link icon  Option C: Magnet Student Move Assumptions

What is the Secondary School Facility Planning & Feasibility Study?
A study based on public input on how to address overcrowding in middle and high schools. The scope of the study was later expanded to include renovation and capacity recommendations for middle and high school facilities in all regions. Recommendations from this study will be incorporated into the Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Master Planning Initiative for the development of the 2017-2022 E-SPLOST V project list.

SUMMARY of Round 3 Proposed Options

Option A Re-cluster existing Cross Keys Cluster (Add New Sequoyah Area Cluster)
• New Sequoyah Area High School (at future site) + New Cross Keys Area Middle School at Briarcliff site
• Additions at five existing secondary schools
• Total New/Additions: 4,200 HS + 2,300 MS = 6,500 seats
• No split feeders (maintains 1-to-1 MS-to-HS alignment)
• Dependent on significant land acquisition for new high school
Option B Re-cluster existing Cross Keys Cluster (Using 18 existing clusters and split feeders)
• New Cross Keys High School at Briarcliff site
• Additions at five existing secondary schools + conversion of HS to MS
• Total New/Additions: 3,450 HS + 1,500 MS = 4,950 seats
• Split feeders in Regions 1, 2, & 3
Option C Re-cluster existing Cross Keys Cluster (Add New Sequoyah Area Cluster)
+ Relocate Chamblee Magnets

• New Sequoyah Area High School + New Cross Keys Area Middle School at Briarcliff site
• Relocate magnet programs to school(s) with available capacity
• Additions at five existing secondary schools
• Total New/Additions: 3,800 HS + 2,050 MS = 5,850 seats
• No split feeders (maintains 1-to-1 MS-to-HS alignment)
• Dependent on significant land acquisition for new high school

IMPACT of Round 3 Proposed Options

NEW/REPLACEMENT SCHOOLS ADDITIONS TO EXISTING
SCHOOLS
Split Feeders Cost
Option A New 2,400-seat high school in Sequoyah area
 
New 1,400-seat middle school for Cross Keys at Briarcliff site
1. 600-seat Cross Keys HS
2. 500-seat Sequoyah MS
3. 400-seat Lakeside HS
4. 800-seat Clarkston HS
5. 400-seat Freedom MS
None $247 Million (includes land)
Option B New 2,500-seat Cross Keys HS at Briarcliff site (Convert current CKHS to 1,500-seat middle school) 1. 600-seat Chamblee HS
2. 600-seat Dunwoody HS
3. 750-seat Lakeside HS
4. 300-seat Clarkston HS
5. 200-seat at former CKHS
Multiple schools in Regions 1, 2, & 3 $163 Million
Option C New 2,000-seat high school in Sequoyah area
 
1,400-seat middle school for Cross Keys at Briarcliff site
1. 600-seat Cross Keys HS
2. 250-seat Sequoyah MS
3. 400-seat Lakeside HS
4. 800-seat Clarkston HS
5. 400-seat Freedom MS
None $224 Million
(includes land)

Timeline
Aug 23 – Sep 16, 2016:
Online Survey on three Options
• Request for Cluster-level joint formal school council response

Sep 27, 2016
• Present the Secondary School Study final recommendation at the Building SPACES Presentation

Oct 4 – 17, 2016
Five public hearings in October to discuss the E-SPLOST V project draft list.
The draft list, compiled through the Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Initiative, will be publicly presented Sept. 27.

Each public hearing will be at 7 p.m. at the following locations:
• Oct. 4, 2016 at Tucker High School (Region 2)
• Oct. 11, 2016 at Miller Grove High School (Region 4)
• Oct. 13, 2016 at Chamblee High School (Region 1)
• Oct. 17, 2016 at Columbia High School (Region 5)
• Oct. 18, 2016 at Stone Mountain High School (Region 3)

Oct 4 – 24, 2016
• Online Survey on draft E-SPLOST project list

Nov 7, 2016
• Board COW discussion on E-SPLOST project list

Dec 5, 2016
• Formal Board approval of E-SPLOST project list


Chamblee Magnet Moving? It’s Still On The Table
August 10, 2016 – Is the option to move the Chamblee Magnet Program still on the table? Superintendent Green refutes any communications saying it’s off the table.

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.

32 responses to “Round 3 – Secondary School Facility Planning And Feasibility Study

  1. For some reason, reading about all of these ‘community input meetings’ makes my stomach roll. It just brings back bad memories of thousands of hours of wasted time for parents and members of the community. In the past, DeKalb schools have hosted several other of these community initiatives: The Charrettes, The Blue Ribbon Task Force, The Citizens Advisory Committee, and The Regional Planning Committee. I would have a bit more faith in the current administration’s promise to include community input in their decision-making, but several former key players – Ramona Tyson at the top of that list – are still heavy-handed insiders who do as they please, disregarding any and all community input – because they can!

    I pray this one goes better – but my cynicism has historical support. I used to fall for every empty promise from every new superintendent hired by our boards (even Michael Thurmond – the one secretly hired behind the scenes with ZERO community input by Marshall Orson and crew.) Then one day I realized that it’s all smoke and mirrors. If you care to read my old post as to my enlightenment, click here >> http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/07/folks-weve-been-played.html

  2. One more thing that has me rolling >> adding MORE seats to Lakeside? The capacity at this school already surpasses all others in the county (over 2,000) – and the place is the most landlocked, difficult to access property in the system. Really? Plans are to add 400 or 700 more seats? Where? In paddle boats in the creek out back? The Formerly Great Lakeside has been so badly decimated by system ‘leaders’ over the last 20 years, that it didn’t even make the list of the top 100 high schools in the state!! Didn’t even make the list!!

    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2016/08/6686/

  3. I live 2 blocks from Lakeside and agree with Cere. Are they planning to add a second story?

    Also, this magnet move student chart makes no sense at all.

  4. Lakeside was at #102, pretty close to top 100.

  5. I also have no idea what the magnet move chart means. Are they trying to guess how many students would go back to their home school? How can they do this when they haven’t even specified where it could move and what the program would look like (self-contained or with resident)?

    All-in-all, the information out there is too vague and missing vital details for people to cast a true vote. What about a map showing all of the middle school and high school population moves? There are numbers in a table that had to come from somewhere – which kids were they assuming would be moved? How can they even estimate this when 2 of the options have a new school being built in an undetermined location that would wholly determine the ripple effect redistricting?

    Magnet relocation and split feeders are the top concerns. Why isn’t there more data on a direct comparison of with and without split feeders like there is magnet?

    Does split feeder trickle down to elementary schools? If 400 kids are being moved from Henderson MS to Sequoyah, what impact is that on corresponding elementary schools?

    People are complaining about the high cost of two of the options, but what did people expect when redistricting and full-scale acknowledgement of population shifts hasn’t been done in DeKalb for at least 20 years? When you let your home go without repair for 20 years, you’re going to pay a pretty penny to get it back into shape if you do it all at once.

    Too many unanswered questions and no forum to actually ask them and get them answered.

  6. It’s a bit of the chicken and the egg. We are trying to give out as much information as possible so we can make decisions on the SPLOST V project list. But, we need more specifics in these options before we can decide which one is best. Unfortunately, the specifics are contingent upon the SPLOST V list and wherever we can find land to build the new schools.

    So, in order to get a SPLOST V project list, some assumptions were made. The magnet list assumes, I would argue inaccurately, that 50% of the students will follow the relocation.

    No forum? The FactChecker staffers will try not to take that personally. Also … these are all good questions to ask at the meeting at Cross Keys this evening.

    Here are the estimated student moves for option 1. It’s impossible to say exactly where they will come from until we know where all the schools will be located.

  7. Thanks, Stan. First, of course we appreciate this forum :-), but you shouldn’t be the sole question answerer (unless you want to be). I don’t think 12 hours would be enough time at CKHS tonight to answer all of the questions, so I’m saying there’s no good forum to present questions and have them answered by the consulting company and/or board and those helping to guide the consulting company – like an online Q&A where they receive questions and post answers.

    Second, if the chicken and egg analogy is true, then this entire initiative should be presented as chicken and egg instead of looking like it’s 3 options and that’s it. It doesn’t seem like there is going to be a lot of wiggle room simply b/c of the timeline. You can’t come up with entirely new proposals and present those by September 16. So maybe presenting this as “here’s what we know for sure” and “here’s what will need to be decided later” would be better?

    Third, on the moves chart, yes, I see the numbers, but there are multiple elementary schools that feed into those MS that show moves. Does the elementary school assignment shift to the destination MS? For example, if I am at Henderson MS and I’m one of the 400 moved to Sequoyah, does that mean I am changing to an elementary school that feeds into Sequoyah? Where did that 400 number come from? Someone had to look at a map and estimate, so THAT is the information people want to know – are they in that 400 (best guess). Or was 400 a broad estimate not based on a map? OR if another options is chosen where 150 kids would go from Henderson MS to Druid Hills MS, which part of the map is that and which elementary schools might be shifted to Druid Hills MS feeders?

    What is the 10,000 foot view of the timeline? Is this going to take 5 years? 10 years? Which parts would be done first and approximately when?

    Like I said in my email to you, you are doing the work of the past 5 administrations. They let this “house” go for too many years without repairs, and you’ve got the build-up of 20 years of neglect on your plate. It will be expensive and painful, but, in the long run, it should be good. But given the significance and wide reaching impact, it should be done right, so we aren’t being critical as much as we are trying to be thorough and get it right.

    Thanks, Stan!!

  8. Thanks for all the helpful information and the opportunity to share questions and concerns. I agree with Cere and Mel that the idea of adding on to Lakeside HS is foolish. There is no more land there to build on, unless they remove sports fields or parking spaces, which are already woefully insufficient. It is terrifying to be in a stairwell at Lakeside during class change – it is jam-packed! Even if they could manage to add capacity by adding another floor and thus not taking up land, it is still not feasible — the bus lanes and cafeteria are already bursting at the seams, and traffic is a nightmare due to the existing population. Also, is DeKalb County Schools just abandoning its “Vision” from several years ago, where their expert consultants advised that high schools should have a 2,000 student population (which Lakeside already has)?
    I do wonder about the accuracy of the school population projections used in these proposals. Do these numbers take into account all of the high-density housing that is currently being built and what is expected to be built in the next few years? For example, there is a new complex going up behind Northlake Festival right now, and the Assembly developers have stated their intentions of building at least 4,000 housing units there. I’ve seen complexes underway in Chamblee and the Toco Hills area. Today the new owners of Northlake Mall said that they are planning to develop the parking lot areas and include housing there as well. I understand the value of development for tax purposes and revitalization of the County, but the developers should have to pay truly significant impact fees to the school district to go toward the building of the additional schools necessitated by the increased population they are bringing in. Yes, these complexes pay property taxes that help pay for the schooling of the children living there, but that money doesn’t come close to the level of funds needed for purchasing land and constructing additional buildings.

  9. My room was full of Chamblee resident and Cross Keys resident parents, and we all agreed. Overall, no one liked the fact that they were being asked to choose an option when there are so many details left to be figured out, details that could be good or bad for their children and neighborhoods.

    Which leads me to the group’s actual consensus since no one really loved any of the options. Our Option D was to rebuild Cross Keys HS. Build it up and make it as big and incredible as it needs to be to keep the community together. Keeping everyone together took precedence over everything else. Neither Cross Keys nor Chamblee parents wanted to drive across I-85 to the Briarcliff site. They suggested a new CKHS on the existing site, large enough to accommodate all of the feeders to it, and maybe using Briarcliff site to relieve Lakeside area on that side of I-85.

    The other consensus point was that everyone is in favor of a BUILDING philosophy and that A actually wasn’t enough because it ends up with some schools at 99% after building and redistricting. People do not want to go through all of this and be at 100% capacity – what about 2023 and 2024?

    So, takeaway:
    1) Cross Keys people didn’t actually want to come to Chamblee. They want their own community in a new, big building on the existing site.
    2) Chamblee residents want to keep the magnet at CCHS because of the teachers, parents, AP courses, national ranking.
    3) People in CKHS and CCHS do not want to drive over to Briarcliff.

  10. AT, I think you brought up some great points from some of those who will be affected the most (Chamblee and Cross Keys). It is true for our Lakeside community as well, we do not want to cross over 85 to the West to go to a new high school in Doraville. I like your idea of rebuilding Cross Keys and using Briarcliff as overflow for Lakeside. Perhaps they can refinish Briarcliff right away and house CK kids temporarily, while they rebuild CKH and then turn it over to Lakeside/Druid Hills overflow once the new CKH is built. This makes a lot of sense because the largest growth is in Brookhaven, Toco Hills, Briarcliff/Clairmont, Northlake area right now. If you look at the density map, you can see that the area that a new high school is being proposed (Sequoyah Middle/Doraville) is very commercial and does not have a lot of students within walking distance. Here is the map:http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/planning/2016/pl/Students_Res_North.pdf

  11. Tim DeBardelaben

    I honestly think all these options are bad. First I believe you will not have enough money to do all the work that needs to be done. Stan, let me ask you a question. Three years ago myself and many others started asking that Briarcliff be reused. I know this was before you were elected to the Board I was told personally by 4 board members that the school system did not need the class room space. Here we are 3 years later and Druid Hills, Lakeside and Cross Keys are overcrowded. Who is responsible for long term planning? I know with what I have experienced first hand, I question the way the Board is acting. If they move Cross Keys to Briarcliff site will Marshall Orson get to name the new middle school? Personally say Briarcliff site is Briarcliff and Cross Keys site is Cross Keys. It seems to me DCSD has no concern for history. What are the plans for the current John Lewis E.S. Building when it moves to Skyland location? Seems to me that location should be in the equation somewhere. Briarcliff should be reopened as High school with it’s own cluster. This would be the fastest and most cost effective solution. By adding as a high school in addition to Cross Keys, would you really schools to hold 2500 students. Plus by reopening Briarcliff you would have room to expand if DCSD loses Druid Hills to APS through annexation.

  12. $500 million was a conservative estimate. In my humble opinion, having enough money has never been the problem.

    There is a planning department at the school district. Dan Drake is the Director.
    http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/planning/

    I’ll refer you to the process of naming the new Brookhaven elementary school at Skyland Park in Jim McMahan’s district for precedent on board policy and who names what.

    My understanding is that the John Lewis school that just opened (the old ISC building) isn’t suitable for a long term elementary school and is currently being used as a stop gap measure.

    I hope you will avail yourself of the online survey with your suggestions.

  13. Tim DeBardelaben

    Stan, what good does it do to refer to school policy for renaming schools. Since the current Board chose to ignore written policy when it named John Lewis E.S. As you know Jim McMahon was not included in the committee that named the future school in his district. If John Lewis is not suitable as Elementary school , why is it being used as one? What makes it different than all the other Elementary Schools in the area? It was built at same time as Briar Vista, Sagamore Hills, Oak Grove, Briarlake, Hawthorn, Dresden, Woodward and many other Elementary Schools. Also built at same time period as Cross Keys. Lakeside is only six or seven years newer. Are there plans to replace all these schools also? Think DCSD should work with what you have rather than trying to build Taj Mahals all over the county. Most people I have talked to want community based schools. They want their to be close by. I also talked to Dan Drake three years ago and was also told by him that the classroom space at Briarcliff was not needed. How in two years did it go from not needed to grossly overcrowded?

  14. For better or worse, even “community schools” in central and north DeKalb are going to need to be very large schools. We are past the point of Mayberry-ish neighborhood schools. The communities within Doraville, Brookhaven, Chamblee are all becoming more dense, and the old schools built for a smaller population are busting at the seams. To keep people within their community, the schools need to be torn down and built up (so many of the existing schools are only one story) or new ones have to be wedged in and zone lines redrawn.

    Think about it like this, our school system is like a home that has been neglected for 20 years in terms of maintenance. If you repaired anything in your house after letting it go for 20 years, you would be laying out a ton of dough. Now is the time to fix it. You wouldn’t skimp on your roof, gutters, and foundation after neglecting them, or, rather, you shouldn’t. The growth in central and north DeKalb is phenomenal and expected to be even more given the mixed use developments slated for Brookhaven, Doraville, and even Tucker/Northlake.

    We cannot band-aid the problem only to come back in 7 years needing to add onto brand new buildings or tear down fairly new additions b/c they didn’t get the job done. In fact, if you look at the forecasted occupancy once any of these plans are enacted, by 2022, they are full again. If anything the plan needs to be more ambitious.

    The only schools with capacity are too far south to rezone people. If you tried to take advantage of the space in the south, you would have people driving 10 miles each way to school, and that would drive up transportation costs having to haul everyone that far. The fact is that mistakes were made years ago on where the growth would occur. Now we are having to not only fix that mistake but play “catch up”. These mistakes are not the fault of (most of) the people trying to fix it now, so I am cautiously optimistic in giving them time to come up with good plans.

  15. Will Marshall Orson get to name the new middle school? – I think you answered your own question. No telling what the process will be or what policies will be followed.

    The current John Lewis ES (old ISC building) – It’s better to put students in that building than a parking lot with trailers and port-a-potties. I’m not sure what the deficiency is, but I believe the property isn’t big enough for a long term, fully functional elementary school.

    The Drake – You would have to ask Mr. Drake why the gross change in 2 years.

  16. AT, I think the idea of re-building Cross Keys High School on the existing site with a larger capacity is an idea that needs serious attention. I suggested it during Rounds 1 and 2 of this process but nothing became of it.

    DCSD owns the Cross Keys land, a 26.39 acre plot right in the area where the growth is. I don’t know where DCSD could find a similar plot of land that it can afford.

    Chamblee Charter High School was completely torn down and re-built while school continued as usual. It took one whole and 2 halves of a school year, but why wouldn’t this work at Cross Keys?

    Options A and C just adds seats at Cross Keys, leaving that facility in its 60’s condition. Why not replace Cross Keys with a bigger and newer school and eliminate the need for renovation?

  17. Here’s the problem with tearing down and rebuilding Cross Keys HS. If you look at the data tab on the Building SPACES page (http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/building-spaces/), according to the Facilities Condition Assessment, CKHS may need a few things but it’s in relatively good shape. You’re asking to tear down a relatively good building just because you would like a bigger one in its place. That’s a very low Return On Investment.

  18. Is it more or less expensive than acquiring new property and building new on it? This is essentially what they did with Fernbank ES – they tore down a building that was not the lowest scoring (and even had an addition that was only 10 years old) in order to enlarge it so it could receive kids from surrounding schools that were over capacity.

  19. Tim DeBardelaben

    If you tear down and rebuild Cross Keys, where do those students go for 2)3 years? I heard somebody the other night to rehab Briarcliff would be a band aid solution. Sometimes all you need is a band aid to stop the bleeding. Major surgery is not always necessary. If you establish Briarcliff cluster the feeder schools could be Briar Vista (DHHS Cluster) Montclair ( CKHS Cluster) Sagamore Hills (LHS cluster) If you kept John Lewis bldg active as Elementary school it could help relieve the overcrowding at Montclair, Sagamire Hills and Oak Grove. So you can go for $80,000,000.00 plus to solve a problem or solve the problem for less than 35 million and give yourself options for further down the road.

  20. Why are you pondering ways to simply provide ‘more of the same’? It seems like the perfect opportunity to finally build a vocational/technical campus that is worthy of the commute. Why not use the enormous space at Briarcliff to build a high tech learning facility to train students from all over the county for real jobs – jobs that pay well and can lead to a productive life – especially for kids not planning on attending college right out of high school. Then expand Cross Keys right where it sits. There is something like 56 acres on that land. Cross Keys has the space to hold far more students than Lakeside – especially if you build it like it’s a small college campus. You could put the magnet program here and make Chamblee just a traditional high school. Or mix it up – Cross Keys is the vo-tech, Chamblee is the magnet and “New High School” at Briarcliff is built to handle 2,000+ students. Cross Keys is very accessible via Marta so kids from all over could ride to the Brookhaven station and walk to school. Briarcliff and Chamblee are also very accessible properties via Marta trains and buses. Think outside the box – try something inventive and appropriate for the 21st century!

    For a really great example of a very successful vocational high school from my hometown of Ohio. There is a waiting list to get in! http://www.pentacareercenter.org/

  21. Tim, Chamblee Charter High School continued during a 4 semesters-plus-summers complete demolition and rebuild project. They set up a lovely trailer park to keep the school in session. I’m sure they could do something similar at Cross Keys.

    But Stan points out that Cross Keys is actually in good condition. Who knew that a school built in 1958 would score 90.92 on the Facility Condition Assessment?

  22. I know I question those assessment scores anyway. Go into any of the schools your kids attend and see if the score for older schools even remotely reflects reality.

    The question is would it be cheaper to rebuild Cross Keys onsite or to buy another piece of property, do the site prep, and build the building? Cross Keys is the focus of this entire initiative. It seems like we should make it right for them and then look at what else can be done and where. Parents have really balked at crossing to Briarcliff, so maybe that site just needs to be sold and the money used for another idea.

  23. Tim DeBardelaben

    The problem that DCSD has is not just the overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster, but also Lakeside and Druid Hills H.S.’s . Briarcliff offers relief to all three. Also with Emory wanting to be annexed into the City of Atlanta, what happens if DCSD loses Druid Hills H.S. To Atlanta Public Schools. That could be a real possibility if Druid Hills decides to be annexed also. Right now there are about 200 condos either being built or in planning stage in Briarcliff’s old area. They’re also around 80 new homes planned in same area. Plus Executive Park is planning on 500 apartments. Where are these children going? When Briarcliff closed there were 3 or 4 private schools in the area, now there are over 12. Briarcliff was about 50% Jewish. Now there are 6 private Jewish schools serving that area. DCSD abandoned the community surrounding it. So please realize DCSD has a much larger problem than just Cross Keys.

  24. I see no reason to fix up the old Briarcliff HS. If we are going to need a school in this area, we should have a new school built. There are state-of-the-art buildings in South DeKalb. We are being offered updates and rebuilds on old buildings that don’t meet current instructional needs and practices. Not to mention undersized cafeterias, restrooms, old plumbing and air conditioning that doesn’t work. Then, there is the problem of building security. It might be cheaper to update an old building , but a new building will be cheaper to maintain and require fewer updates.

  25. Tim DeBardelaben

    The reasons for rehabbing and remodeling Briarcliff are many. First and foremost would be money. You can bring Briarcliff up to today’s standards for less than $30 million. That would be about $50 million that could be spent elsewhere. Plus you can begin work immediately. The other thing you would get is alumni that woul support the school. Move Cross Keys there or turn it into a middle school and you lose the financial support that the alumni would give. By making it into a new Cross Keys High school. You will have people from Cross Keys complaining about crossing the expressway and if you try and redistrict people from Lakeside and Druid Hills you are going to get one heck of a fight. If you reuse Briarcliff you get a proud history that can be passed along. I won’t name the Judges and Politicians who went to Briarcliff but it has been quite a few. What I will tell you is that area was one of the top producing areas of Dekalb. Briarcliff High School closed in 1987 but it still ranks #7 in State Championships. So yes it would be nice if everybody could get a brand new shiny building, but if you do the rehab right you get new electrical, plumbing a/c and all the niceties of a new building. You just don’t tear down what is still good. Besides if you look at Dekalb School of the arts they are one of the top performing schools in Dekalb. Same way with Kitteedge Magnet School is a top performer. Then you have McNair High school in a gorgeous building that is one of the lower performing schools. I would rather more improvements be made all across the county with ESPLOST money and stop say I want something new because they got something new. New does not necessarily mean better. Great example of an old building that was rehabbed and remodeled is the Georgian Terrace Hotel. Briarcliff could be done to the same standard.

  26. Mr Jester,

    At some point the school system will drop the students that have not enrolled this current school year. Is it possible after that date to post the up to date enrollment of all schools and centers in DeKalb. I see no reason why this should be hidden information. We sometimes only think about ourselves. If we can all see the numbers for every school, it would help us make an informed decision.
    Also there are still many teaching jobs that are open. It seems like the school system should be in the process of updating their information for the purpose of staffing vacanies at various schools.

    Thank you

  27. For QBE state funding, the school district must report to the state a “point in time snapshot” of the scheduled instructional services provided to students on FTE Count Day. FTE Count Day in the Fall is October 1. The school district has published Enrollment, Capacity and utilization data for every October at
    http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/planning/ & click on Enrollment tab.

  28. I appreciate your willingness to keep us informed.
    Thank you

  29. Doraville Resident

    Hi Stan,
    I’m a resident of your district. Why have we overlooked or moved on from addressing the facility conditions at Cary Reynolds? Cary Reynolds (even after redistricting) still has 20+ trailers and I see nothing (even though I spoke with Mr. Drake personally on the phone about the severe need of a new Cary Reynolds facility) to address both the continued over-capacity conditions and also the poor condition of that 55 year old facility. As a tax-payer, I’m really disturbed that yet again Middle and High Schools are getting a large portion of the E-SPLOST dollars and the elementary facilities little to none. Do you have any insight into why Cary Reynolds is not being discussed as a rebuild as a larger facility? The space is certainly there! Thanks for the opportunity to ask my question!

  30. The scope of the Secondary Schools Facilities Feasibility Study is strictly middle and high schools. It has already been decided that overcrowding in the elementary schools in the Cross Keys Cluster and surrounding areas will be addressed with the addition of two new elementary schools including the one at Skyland Park.

    I talked to Joshua Williams (COO) and Dan Drake (Director of Planning and SPLOST Programming) earlier this evening about renovations. Dan Drake said the Facilities Condition Asssessment (FCA) and the Facility Educational Adequacy Assessment (FEAA) will be the major drivers for renovations.

    If you go to the DeKalb SPACES website (and click on the Data tab)
    http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/building-spaces/

    You’ll notice that out of roughly 150 buildings Cary Reynolds has the 13th worst FCA score and 4th worst FEAA score. If FCA and FEAA scores are driving renovations, then Cary Reynolds is at the top of the list.

  31. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question. I appreciate your thoroughness in providing The additional information. I also appreciate the fact that you really do look out for us in this district.

  32. Tim DeBardelaben

    I question many things about the planning process. Honestly think the Administration has already made up their mind up. First how can anybody say what they want when you have no clue on redistricting. Also question their numbers. Last July during Michael Thurmond’s presentation on Cross Keys Cluster overcrowding Joshua Williams said Cross Keys capacity is 1231. Then on October 6 Capacity report the capacity says capacity is 1215. Now they are saying capacity is 1306. Same way with Sequoyah M.S. 1243-1266-1235. To me that is confusing. As well as the fact they do not give you individual cost per project in the options. We get just enough info to feel like our opinions count. Plus they have not talked about the overcrowding in Lithonia and Stone Mountain area.