In February of this year, the DeKalb School Board adopted a resolution calling for a referendum on the ballot in May, 2016 to continue the one percent sales tax for educational purposes (E-SPLOST).
The referendum did not have a list of projects but gave defined project categories: Safety, New Facilities, Improvements, Technology, Capital Equipment and Project Expenses. Additionally, $60 million has been earmarked since April for two new elementary schools in the Cross Keys cluster.
Since April, in an attempt to solidify a project list, the school district has had a steering committee, 3 rounds of public input and various surveys.
At the Nov 7 Board meeting, the administration presented their latest Proposed 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List.
It’s 39 pages and wasn’t given to the board or public ahead of the presentation. After going through it, I have numerous questions. COO Josh Williams said they would be collecting questions and comments over the next few weeks.
Leave your questions and comments on this blog and I’ll collate them and get responses from the administration.
Below are the presentation, video and summary of the board questions and answers.
Presentation – Board Q&A Transcript Summary – Video
Jim McMahan – Once the board votes on the project list, can that list be changed?
Josh Williams – Our intent is that this is the project list we use moving forward. Any changes to this current project list should come before the board.
Stan Jester – Clarkston HS is 200+ seats over capacity. But it’s in the middle of 4 or 5 clusters way under capacity. Half of the clarkston population is closer to Towers high school which is way under capacity. Why not redistrict those students to Towers?
Dan Drake – It would have created split feeders.
Stan Jester – Is Indian Creek back on the list for a renovation?
Dan Drake – Yes. Indian Creek is a tear down rebuild to a 1,200 seat elementary school.
Stan Jester – The current condition of Indian Creek is pretty good. We’re talking about tearing down a perfectly good school.
Dan Drake – Indian Creek, we want to add capacity. More than 800 students are within walking distance of the school. We looked at renovations, but thought it was more cost effective to tear it down and build a new school.
Stan Jester – Month after month with stakeholder engagement, as the consultants put it, there was overwhelming support for a new Seuqouyah area high school. After all the stakeholder engagement, everybody wanted a new Doraville cluster. Why didn’t we go in that direction?
Dan Drake – In the third round everybody wanted the Doraville cluster. But the online survey came out in the end for additions to the existing schools
Josh Williams – In the presentation there is an email address for community questions and comments. We’ll take and consolidate those emails.
Stan Jester – Have we talked to people in Doraville like the mayor? Does the mayor want a cluster?
Dr. Green – We talked to the mayor but that topic did not come up. The mayor wanted to know about Cary Reynolds. The mayor didn’t realize at the time that a new elementary school would be brought into the area. We met about a week or so ago.
Stan Jester – At that meeting she didn’t say she wanted a cluster for her area?
Dr. Green – That did not come up.
Dan Drake – There was some discussion about a high school, but not a cluster.
Stan Jester – So she said she wanted a high school and elementary school. They are already have a middle school, that sounds like a cluster.
Dr. Green – The main topic was to advocate for Cary Reynolds.
Stan Jester – Did she say she wanted a high school?
Dr. Green – We talked about Cary Reynolds. Then we looked at the bigger picture and saw that a new elementary school would be placed in that area. The conversation stayed with the renovation knowing they were getting a new elementary school.
Stan Jester – So, no discussion about the high school?
Dr. Green – No.
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