Austin Elementary School Council, among numerous other elementary school councils, did not originally come out with a position on how to alleviate overcrowding in North DeKalb.
They have recently come out with this position saying, “we believe that children should attend schools within their own municipalities and priority should be placed on creating a new cluster in the City of Doraville.”
On behalf of the Austin Elementary School Council, we would like to thank you in advance for allowing us the opportunity to provide our input regarding the proposed E-SPLOST V Project List. We hope that you will give as much weight to our feedback as you would other Councils.For the reasons set forth herein, we believe that children should attend schools within their own municipalities and priority should be placed on creating a new cluster in the City of Doraville. Below you will find what we believe should be guiding principles in your decision-making regarding the approval of the E-SPLOST V Project List as well as allocations of the E-SPLOST V funds.
Successful schools are created when a sense of community leads each student to have a feeling of belonging, purpose, and accountability. Students must have easy access to wrap-around services that allow them to participate in academic, athletic, and social activities after school to keep them connected; parents must be able to work together to strengthen the school environment; teachers must feel supported by the community in order to best serve students. This neighborhood engagement can only be achieved through close proximity to school facilities.
We believe that children should attend schools within their own municipalities. As the City of Doraville is experiencing and will continue to experience tremendous growth, we ask that the DeKalb County School District prioritize the creation of a much-needed Doraville Cluster.
Size and Environment Matter
As stated on the Georgia Department of Education website, “A good well-developed site… is a basic physical tool for a quality education. Current school programs include many activities that must be carried on outside the walls of the educational facility. Well-planned and properly developed outdoor areas are essential to support outdoor activities, provide vehicle circulation, adequate and convenient parking and also be conducive to the safety of children. Therefore, the site should contribute positively to the health, safety and social aspects of a child’s life at school.”
Unless supported by the surrounding environment and structures, a large school does not have the ability to preserve the integrity of educational best practices and community cohesiveness. Mega-schools on property that is deemed to be grossly inadequate in size, do not have the ability to truly give students the quality education or the feeling of belonging desired by all families.
We believe that the physical and capacity addition to Dunwoody High School, an already large school of 1800 students, on a land-locked property which has been deemed inadequate in acreage by the Feasibility Study, must be re-evaluated.
Long-Term Planning Matters
Entities such as the DeKalb County School District and municipalities such as Dunwoody and Doraville, must work together to plan for the foreseeable future. This includes long-term planning for schools where disruption in school operations are kept to a minimum, giving children and families a continuity of service for as long as possible. Students benefit from the bonds they form when they move through elementary, middle, and high school together.
As shown in the City of Doraville’s Comprehensive Plan for 2017-2037, with projected growth in the City of large family households, there is a “need for increasing space in schools due to high percentage of young children.” Through the City’s public engagement process, schools have been deemed a high priority in the City’s overall Comprehensive Plan.
We believe that the City of Doraville and DeKalb County School District should prioritize the inevitable creation of a City of Doraville school cluster over the creation of mega-schools on land-locked properties.
We truly applaud the District in their efforts to create transparency through public engagement. We hope that in the spirit of this mission, the DeKalb County School District and the DeKalb County Board of Education will consider delaying this vote to approve the current E-SPLOST V Project List so that all stakeholder opinions can be factored into these appropriations.
Thank you again for allowing us the opportunity to provide our input regarding the proposed E-SPLOST V Project List. We are committed to supporting the DeKalb County School District and our community in all efforts to provide an excellent education and experience to all of the students in DeKalb.
Austin Elementary School Council