It appears the school district is between a rock and a hard place with DSA and the administration is asking for an additional $5 million to fix it.
DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA) provides the highest quality education possible through academics and the arts. US News & World Report ranked DSA #3 in the state and #102 in the country. Acceptance into DSA includes: cumulative GPA of 80%, no grade lower than 71, audition in two arts disciplines, and interviews with the faculty among numerous other requirements.
DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts (DESA) is a Performing Arts Magnet School. DESA is a Title I school and serves students in grades kindergarten to seventh. Students in grades 2-7 who wish to attend must have a GPA of 3.0 and students in grades 4-7 must go through an audition process. Students in grades K-1 need just apply.
The ESPLOST IV Referendum language legally binds the district to a “Modifications, upgrades, and additions to Avondale Middle School for an Arts School” as well as “Capital Renewal Program to include renovations, modifications, and upgrades to … DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts”
ESPLOST IV Oversight
The 2012-2017 SPLOST IV reports define the projects this way:
- $3.9M for Arts School at Former Avondale MS
- $275K for DeKalb ES of the Arts at Terry Mill
The school district claims that the original intent, as communicated to the voters prior to the November 8, 2011 ESPLOST election, was for the DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts (DESA; grades K-7) and DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA; grades 8-12), to be combined into the Former Avondale Middle Facility in a K-12 configuration. However, that doesn’t seem congruent with the SPLOST referendum language or the SPLOST IV Oversight reports.
It looks like the original intent was for DSA to get $3.9 million to turn the Former Avondale MS into an arts school. DESA was to get $275K for HVAC and electrical work.
Recently DESA moved into Avondale MS. The referendum binds that money to Avondale MS, so the only way for DSA to get SPLOST IV funding is by moving to Avondale MS with DESA. The administration has come up with these two options.
Cost: $8.5 million
- Combine DESA and DSA at the Avondale Middle site with the funding necessary to build a new high school wing.
- The plan would focus on a comprehensive K-12 arts program with spaces for academics and arts at all grade levels with the addition of a 400-500 seat theater.
- If the plan is approved, the design and construction process would begin, with an anticipated move date of Fall 2019.
- DCSD plans to address road access to the site, curriculum needs, staffing, and unique arts programming concerns if the plan is approved.
Cost: $3.9 million (original)
- DESA stays at Avondale Middle and DSA stays at Avondale High.
- DESA receives funding for an auditorium at Avondale Middle, which may be shared by DSA and DESA for large performances.
- DSA is considered for SPLOST V funding for “minor renovation” at Avondale High.