Doraville Mayor on WABE: I would love a high school for Doraville

Last year, Donna Pittman, Doraville Mayor, was interviewed on NPR where they discussed a Doraville Cluster among other things.
“I would love to see a high school in our city” says Mayor Pittman. “It brings a sense of community and our children on that side of Buford Highway go a very long way. It is very hard for them to participate in activities, after school activities because they have no transportation. So, I think it would be fabulous to see a high school in our city.”
You can listen to Mayor Pittman on NPR.
Doraville Deserves a High School

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Doraville deserves a high school because Distance and Transportation Matter. Doraville deserves a high school because “Community” Matters. Doraville deserves a high school because being able to “participate in activities” matters. Doraville deserves a high school because every other city has a high school within their city limits except Doraville.
Doraville and the community within its borders must no longer be ignored. The Doraville community has been carved up and isolated in silos far removed from their close-knit community. They should get what every other city already has and not just a band aid.

38 responses to “Doraville Mayor on WABE: I would love a high school for Doraville

  1. Wow, it appears as Mayor Pittman sold out her constituents. What did Sup. Green and Drake
    Promise her in that recent private meeting?

  2. Ooooor … the Mayor realizes that the current proposal gives her constituents that which they have been advocating for ten years: attending CCHS which is 1.4 miles from Doraville’s Assembly site. Fun to speculate, isn’t it? I would let the Mayor speak for herself and with her own context.

  3. This interview goes all the way back to the TAD and the vague talk about Integral “donating” a HS. Wow.

  4. September of 2015: … I think we need to call Mayor Pittman for an update after 14 months.

  5. Kim, it looks like the Mayor did just speak for herself. Chamblee doesn’t have room for all of the kids from Doraville. Adding 600 seats to Chamblee isn’t a good solution. If traveling 1.4 miles to go to Chamblee is better than the trip to Cross Keys, then logically, traveling less to go to a new high school would be even a bigger win. Then every other community doesn’t have to become the victim of super-sized high schools that don’t fit in their area.
    You have been respected for speaking up for Cross Keys and the elementary schools along the Buford Highway. You have always been consistent in your efforts to point out about the unfair distances of the commute for the kids in Doraville. You pointed out the elongated attendance zone. A Doraville High School fixes both of these problems and is the most realistic project to help plan for future growth. A community high school can do so much to motivate and bind together a community. Doraville deserves that.

  6. Have you sent this to Dr Green yet? It is time for the board to put up or shut up. Bet they just ignore the Doraville cluster and slink away.

  7. Kim, you are very active on blogs these days. Why are you so against a high school in Doraville? Why isn’t that a good idea?

  8. Kim
    Doraville kids go to Dunwoody, not all Chamblee. The mayor’s kid goes to Dunwoody High. The reasons she gave supporting a Doraville high school are just as relevant now as when interview was given. Whomever plans to run for Doraville mayor next needs to keep track of this.

  9. Are the Doraville students going to fit in CCHS? I’m fearful about these additions, they will open at 100% capacity and I think all areas in Region 1 and 2 will continue to grow. Great things are happening, so Doraville will need a high school whether it comes from Splost V or not. The mayor wants to make sure she gets something from this – Doraville area has been neglected as bad as CK high school. She has indicated she is going along with Option B, but did not seem to be backing down from her desire of a high school. Many, many in Region 1 and 2 agree that Doraville needs an area high school. Further, the county needs to really look at the entire county and review all attendance lines for high schools. High school attendance lines should be the absolute primary focus, attempting to get students to the closest high school. The next criteria would then be availability of seats, etc. But high schools are critical. They are the deciding years for career, college, or dropout. A student can take extra years in middle, elementary. They can get behind and repeat any grade K-8. But the minute they set foot on high school soil, it is up to the high school to get that student to graduate in four years. Proximity to high school, for the very reason Mayor Pittman says, is critical because of activities, after school programs like tutoring or test prep, and just being involved in the high school community. Students who are involved in activities tend to stay in school. It’s that simple. We can’t prevent students from dropping out, but we can certainly take steps to help the situation.

  10. hi Anonymous – I’m sure my reply will invite a rehashing by others of the hundreds of disagreements on the question. Nonetheless, you question is fair and seems straight. Oversimplifying it:
    First, I’m not “against Doraville having a high school.” I think it would be lovely if everyone who wanted a HS had one just where and when they want it.
    That out of the way, then:
    1. The proposition from DCSD was to build one new HS in Option A and C and leave CKHS more less as-is. To me, that is unacceptable for a host of reasons but primarily it would “pass over” the CK kids who have been passed over for over a decade. It is my self-appointed job to ensure the BuHi kids no longer get pushed to the bottom of every priority. In “A” and “C,” half the BuHi kids come out ok and the other half not so much. See this young woman from Doraville’s view – it is a very good, sincere summary of this issue: (advance to the 10 minute mark)
    2. I view new HS in Doraville to be asking for longterm problems in at least two dimensions: a) It will be too close to CCHS and the communities in between the two will be in constant frustration (Huntley Hills, Hightower, Cary Reynolds, etc) fighting over who gets to go to which HS less than 1-2 mi from their homes depending on the fashion of the year.
    3. I view the capital maintenance and engineering plan requirements necessary to sustain a 4th HS in our region an unnecessary tax payer burden if the problem can reasonably be addressed with the existing three HS properties.
    I have other concerns but these are the foremost. No there are a few folks who completely disagree with my views. They have told me 5,342,340,311 times I’m wrong and a hateful person because I don’t agree with them. You may hear from some of them here shortly.
    I hope I answered your question well enough for a short essay. The long form is far too much verbiage for this format. The CKF position letter elaborates on the comprehensive set of circumstances we believe support “Option B” type solutions or maintaining the current three HS in Region 1. See:

  11. NotCrawLewis – I would never speak for the Mayor of Doraville or any other Mayor.

  12. Dekalb Inside Out

    Jesus Gokce. Do you make this up as you go? What a bunch of fake arguments. The worst is your feigned concern for 4 high schools in Region 1. DeKalb has 5 regions and 24 high schools right now. Region 1 has only 3 high schools and is WAY UNDERSERVED BY HIGH SCHOOLS!
    P.S. Please stop spamming everybody’s blogs.

  13. No need to get personal, DIO. For those who choose not to ignore it I have a years-long position about larger format HSes and consolidation. Please refer to the below spam for an example:

  14. For a current (as in yesterday) position by Doraville’s mayor…

  15. Kim – you are so political that you can’t see straight. But you’ve ignited a war. I hope you have your big boy pants on, buddy. You’re going to need them.

  16. And, here is an update as of around noon today. I traded e-mails with Mayor Pittman this morning and spoke with her on the telephone. She gave me permission to post her response, and actually asked me to set the record straight regarding where her support lies. Here it is.
    She currently does, always has and will continue to support a Doraville high school/cluster, etc. That has not changed. She supports option B because she and her constituents are afraid that supporting any other option will result in Cary Reynolds losing the currently allotted $5-6 million in the most recently published project list for a renovation to that school. She also mentioned potentially lower test scores as a reason she has heard to keep Doraville kids out of other area schools.
    That’s it, straight from Mayor Pittman….today. This investigative work was done today in response to Georgian Educator’s blog post referenced just above.

  17. JimmyCrackedCorn

    Dear Doraville Residents,
    Your mayor has decided you don’t deserve your own high school. You don’t deserve an opportunity at extra school activities closer to home.
    The end.
    She met privately with school officials and now doesn’t want a doravillehigh school. This doesn’t pass the smell test. Why does she care about what others in region think regarding test scores? She only cares about her home value,thinking it is higher as long as her kids go,to Dunwoody. She has no pride in Doraville students and this proves it.

  18. Dekalb Inside Out

    That’s sad that Doraville feels like they have to sell out to hold onto crumbs. Cary Reynolds should be getting a rebuild. The facility condition reports rank Cary Reynolds at the bottom. Indian Creek is less over crowded and in slightly better shape but is getting a rebuild.
    Doraville’s elementary school was just yanked from them so Indian Creek can get their rebuild.
    Screwing over Doraville … it’s what DeKalb does best.

  19. NoDoravillehigh

    Folks like Mr. Gokce arguing against a Doraville High School are showing their racist tendencies. They specifically are citing race as the reason that they do not want a Doraville High school because, in their mind, there won’t be “enough white kids.” How backwards is that? How insane is that? How about the fact that these kids have been passed over for years and now there is an opportunity to give them a new school and Mr. Gokce, who won’t let a moment go by without telling you about his fight for “his kids” is fighting against giving them a new school. Mr. Gokce also must know that we cannot redistrict based on race. There are parents and lawyers chomping at the bit to go down this path.
    So I guess the question is this – if the new Doraville High was going to have an number of white kids acceptable to Mr. Gokce would he still be against it? Or is he just playing the race card because he knows that his foundation and property value goes up if CKHS gets the new school….the northern BuHi kids get screwed out of their new school.

  20. While I appreciate all opinions regarding our schools, I think this last minute attempt to stop the chosen option B is incredibly disappointing. People had the opportunity to vote, they did, and they chose B. Now of course, people are up in arms due to the prospect of redistricting, the perceived overcrowding of our north side schools, and the SB not following through with what was agreed to. Fact of the matter there will never be enough space in our schools due to constant growth in this area, and apparently the SB cannot account for that future growth when building schools.
    The Cross Keys Cluster of schools is a gerrymandered school zone. You can call it an “elongated school zone” however I prefer to use the term gerrymandered, as that is what it is. If the school zones had been properly divided years ago this may not be the issue it is. That is neither here nor there at this point. The big issue, which I feel confident about, is not as much overcrowding, but property values. I am sure people bought in a certain school zone, and there is the very good chance it may be changing. I understand those concerns, however when you buy somewhere there is no guarantee your home will continue to be in that school zone. It happens all over the USA.
    Although I appreciate some wanting a Doraville HS, I cannot imagine it being actually feasible. Property in this area is at a premium and is the SB going to spend the amount of money it is going to take to buy the land and build a proper HS?? I feel like no is the answer. Or wait, here’s another option, yet another SPOLST tax, or maybe put the school in the warehouse/commercial area that’s available. As parents, that’s where we want our children to go to school right, surrounded by commercial buildings? Also, Doraville runs beyond 285 and 85, will your “keep the neighborhoods together” mentality work there? Or does that ideology only apply to certain areas??
    If eventually needed, I would like to see Chamblee and Doraville come together and create a dual city HS. I think it would be a great alternative to adding another separate HS in this area. The current HS could become a dual area MS. The Chamblee MS could be a 4-6 grade Academy school, or could be a 7-12 Magnet School on the North side and enroll more students. I think it is long past time to begin to think outside of “but this is always how it’s been done in DeKalb County” box. What has been going on in the county isn’t good and it’s definitely time for a much needed change. For those concerned about the education at CK compared to Chamblee, I’m sure there aren’t any big differences outside of the Magnet program and the obvious demographics. Common core, is common core, is common core. However with proper redistricting those demographic differences could be more aligned and balanced. And if they chose to create an IB or a STEM program there perhaps that would help.
    Lastly, I am incredibly disappointed to see a School Board member jumping on the Doraville needs their own HS bandwagon. Your picture says it all. The same as the FB page created. Let’s get proper redistricting done and move on from that point.

  21. Dekalb Inside Out

    Good points. When everybody participated in the survey and provided, it was overwhelmingly for Option A. Then Dunwoody high school and the middle school sent out newsletters everyday saying to blindly vote for Option B. In those last few days it went from 70% for Option A to 51% for Option B.
    Once the GM Plant is built, property is going to get a lot more expensive. Land in Doraville is not going to get any cheaper than it is now.

  22. Kim, I think Dekalb Inside Out is onto something. Doraville is so battered by their experiences the mayor thinks if they don’t ask for a high school, they’ll get an elementary school. Now we see that being yanked from them. The school district isn’t really doing anything for the elementary schools along the Buford Highway if you examine the plans. What about Dresden? What about Woodward? What Montclaire? (I know, not in Doraville but part of the CKHS feeder pattern that you speak for) Brookhaven did successfully get a new elementary school at the Skyland site. Poor Doraville is getting screwed. No improvements in elementary schools and ignored for a high school. Kim, you live in Brookhaven, right?
    As Inside Out pointed out, region 1 is the one with the fewest high schools but it is this area that is growing. Rather than build more high schools they propose to shove megaschools down out throats in the middle of residential, traffic-choked areas. Maybe that’s a lawsuit.
    Kim, you could get more for the kids along the Buford Highway if you were an advocate for a Doraville High School and getting capacity in the elementary schools in a big way too.
    Nobody should be surprised by the school district’s trickery. They do this every single time. Dan Drake deserves an Oscar for his performances.

  23. Poppycock. It was the diligence of me and my peers that got the CK ESes overcrowding on DCSD agenda in the firat place in April of 2015. Trust me, that was the result of many peoples’ efforts over a period of more than a year. You can call me anything you want but if you question my dedication to the Bulldogs at Cary Reynolds you’re making a fool of yourself. I will work with Mayor Pittman to ensure just treatment for Cary Reynolds area kids is delivered in spite of this setback.
    Who brought up the issue of the “missing ES” here on Stan’s blog? Me. Ding ding. Yeah, that’s me the guy who “hates” Doraville kids. My ugly face and loud mouth have been screaming for support for these Doraville kids since 2009. Come by my house on 12/17 for our annual social for them and ask them yourselves.
    You folks – hahaha. I’ve had to help you guys find these schools on a map. Please do not pretend you are committed to these children. Ridiculous. Shameful. But don’t let me interfere with your fantasies – onward Doraville champions! Hahaha …

  24. You don’t need to help me find the schools, Kim. I live in Doraville. You should make the call now to your friends at the school district and tell them that Cary Reynolds better be rebuilt. Tell them to eliminate trailers along the Buford Highway. Tell them to build a new high school in Doraville. Tell them to stop screwing us over.

  25. Proper redistricting for the Lakeside area would solve a lot of the overcrowding at that location as well. Everyone is afraid to move students farthest from the school to another location. The board would rather build a huge expensive addition that will be inadequate by the time it is finished with all the housing construction. Lakeside is the second most over enrolled high school in DeKalb and currently has the most students of any high school in DeKalb. There’s just not enough property to keep adding on and on. The roadways cannot handle the traffic. The Board should be looking for land to build a high school in both Regions 1 & 2. Bigger is not always better for the students.

  26. Anonymous – then we are on the same team. That’s what I’ve been doing and until my hearts stops will continue doing.

  27. JimmyCrqckedCorn

    Stan can you post the letter Kingsley parents wrote to Dr. Green. The letter where they asked him to rezone Dunwoody residents from Hightower to Kingsley. We’ve been told how much Kingsley cares but the truth is they want to keep Hightower in Doraville part of Dunwoody cluster so the Hispanics in Dunwoody don’t get rezoned to Kingsley.

  28. I’m in a meeting right now, but take a look at the post before this one about the project list. In the comments is a list of all the positions submitted to the school district. See if what you are looking for is in there.

  29. This is a bit off topic, but within the last 10 years DCSD provided Activity Buses at Chamblee Charter High School, and probably other schools too, so that students could participate in after school activities. This could be athletic practice, music practice, tutorial, attending club meetings, and sometimes just a supervised study hall.
    It was discontinued when the economy turned bad but now that the District has such a large general fund this could be one way to address Mayor Pittman’s legitimate concern that after-school activities are an important part of high school that are not possible if a student does not have transportation.
    I think it would be very helpful for the District to provide Activity Buses at Cross Keys High School and Chamblee Charter High School until the building and redistricting is completed. DCSD has already redistricted some Cross Keys students who live outside the perimeter to CCHS. Bringing back Activity Buses could be a real help.

  30. Anon, the reason why people are upset about “Option B” is because the school district didn’t actually choose Option B. They chose Option B with no split feeders (which is a huge adjustment) and only last month released the details of how to get it done (which they refused to do when the voting was going on). If I tell you I’m going to fix your headache or not and you choose “please fix it” and then the solution is to chop your head off, you probably wish you had the details before you voted for “fix it”. This is typical DeKalb school system politics all over again. They can’t make a good decision to save their lives and without making one group of people hate another group of people, and they obviously can’t stick to their word, even when it’s written down.

  31. Fact Checker (anonymous)

    So much bickering.
    Stop the madness.

  32. Doraville ready for change

    I would like to know what Stan and Nancy Jester mean by the “Doraville community has been carved up and isolated in silos far removed from their close-knit community.” As a resident of Doraville for many years, this makes no sense to me. Doraville isn’t carved up, it’s shut off. The number 1 way we are shut off is by our schools – we’ve been pushed away rather than incorporated into high schools in the area for years – creating real problems for us. Our parents & kids are ready to be integrated. They should be going to schools right down the street from their homes – one of those being Chamblee High School. No one in Doraville with kids actually in school wants a separate school – we all went for Option B, integration. Might be worth asking Donna Pittman if she has kids in our schools (Cary Reynolds & Sequoyah) before swallowing this tale …..

  33. YesonDoravillehigh

    Wrong! Doraville kids do not want to go to Chamblee and Chamblee High does not have the infrastructure to take on and add 800 kids to their student population. The plans to enlarge Chamblee are inferior and will result in a more negative experience for all students. Provide Doraville with a new high school with services designed specifically for those families (ESL, Trade offerings etc.). That way you give those kids the greatest chance of success.

  34. Yes on Doraville High starts getting at the issue. We have got to start looking at the needs of students. This may not be PC and I’m sure the “guilty white Liberals” will have a field day with it, but I am going to say it anyway: THE KID THAT LIVES OFF BUFORD HIGHWAY HAS VASTLY DIFFERENT NEED THAN THE KID WHO LIVES ON SILVER LAKE. The kids that live off Buford highway demand different resources. Many of hem are illegals or their parents are illegals. Their needs revolve around acculturation and such tasks as learning English. They need to be offered programs for their entire families to adjust to life in the US. If you take these kids and put them into a high school without those resources, they will fail. Why was that article written about CKHS? It’s because they have dedicated resources for these families. And don’t tell me they will get the same resources at a 50% larger Chamblee high. That’s unrealistic thinking and forgetting about the unintended consequences that liberals often do with their idealism. Chamblee will have to maintain a magnet program, a resident program for natives, and then add 800 ESL/immigrant students to the mix? All on a piece of property that isn’t large enough for a 1600 seat school much less a 2490 seat school? Come on! It’s time to get realistic. Give Doraville a new high so it can meet the needs of the people that live in Doraville.

  35. Thank you, “Doraville ready for change,” for being a voice of reason. What you outlined is what I have heard for ten years of firsthand relationship building and advocacy for the families of Doraville. The drive for a Doraville HS as the solution to overcrowding at a grossly outdated and undersized Cross Keys HS is from folks who want to suddenly champion a community that they have shunned or ignored for two decades. It is really rich. Sorry.
    The history of “keeping down Cross Keys” (this includes Doraville) is long and storied. The pressure on the school has finally reached a breaking point and rather than invest the needed resources in Cross Keys the new “Doraville champions” want a fourth HS built. Some may have rational reasons for supporting it and I do not ascribe ill intent to all on this side of the debate but the rest are not going to fool this old battle axe.

  36. I would have expected exactly that kind of response from you Kim Gokce. Close minded and unwilling to even see things from other people’s perspective. Instead you resort to the typical liberal playbook. Calling out anyone that dare disagree with you as a bigot or racist. Well, you sir, are a sham. You do not want a new Doraville High because you only want a new high school for Cross Keys. It will help your property value and it will help your “foundation.” This is the same foundation that you somehow have been president of for many many years with no intention of giving up. This is your own little power play. You see Gokce, people see that you have an ego that makes Trump look like a modest peasant. And you are putting your own selfish self interests on the backs in Doraville kids. You claim to be an advocate for these kids and act all self righteous. But when push comes to shove and it’s a tradeoff between their needs and your selfish interest, you choose the latter.
    Shame on you Kim Gokce! Shame on you!!!

  37. Haveyosayit – I wasn’t responding to you and from the sounds of your rant there’s little point in doing so. But I’m an eternal optimist so here goes …
    Regarding my volunteering and the goals, please go talk to the educators and children at Sequoyah or Cross Keys – no matter what end of BuHi you’ll hear the same. As for my leadership role for the Foundation – thank you for noticing my continued commitment. I’m very proud of it. In fact, I’ve been desperately trying to pawn off my role as President for over 2 years. Can’t seem to get anyone to stand up. Are you available?
    We are always accepting applications for Cross Keys Foundation leaders and you can reach me at 678-361-4200 to discuss how you can help lead. Or, simply join us at our annual meeting. You can find that and our other corporate meetings online and updated all the time at:
    Thank you for your interest in working with me on behalf of the BuHi kids.