Austin Elementary – Secondary Schools Study Position

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.”

From: Austin Elementary School Council
Subject: Final AESC Position E-SPLOST V

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.
Proximity Matters
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

29 responses to “Austin Elementary – Secondary Schools Study Position

  1. Bill Armstrong

    And it’s just a coincidence that Hightower Elementary happens to be in Doraville & would move out of the Dunwoody Cluster. Huh.

  2. Dekalb Inside Out

    Half the schools in Dunwoody’s cluster are Title I. What’s your point?

  3. I would like to thank the Austin Elementary School Council for taking the time to review all the data and take a position on this issue.

  4. I do think it is worthwhile to get input from the Elementary school councils. They are coming up to speed on the options presented and will be the students using the facilities as they are built out over the next 5 years.

  5. So Austin and Montgomery and Sagamore and Chamblee are now on record as being against Option B. Let’s get VDerlyn on board. It’s starting to feel like a movement.

  6. Bill – maybe Huntley Hills can go to the new Doraville High!

  7. Lol Stan…you “thank” school councils that agree with your position but condemn those school councils that have a different view than you.

  8. Dekalb Inside Out

    I’m not sure if Vanderlyn or Dunwoody Elementary have school councils that do or say anything. Talking to people on the council, the principals practically run their meetings.

  9. I thanked Cross Keys, Huntley Hills and the efforts in general school councils and foundations have put forth over the last few months.
    I’ve made it clear I think that adding 750 seats to Lakeside High School and redistricting Sagamore, Oak Grove or Hawthorne to the Brookhaven cluster is a bad idea. I think it is also a bad idea to add 600+ seats to Dunwoody High School and Chamblee Charter High School.

  10. Paula – I read your “blog.” Most of what you say is completely untrue and/or 1 sided. Talk about being closed minded.

  11. What a great letter from Austin Elementary! Having smaller schools in the community is a wonderful idea that will lead to sustainable, safe, and environmental communities. This is how DeKalb was originally built before half of its high schools were converted into middle schools.
    The problem is that Bill Armstrong and friends are solely focused on demographic goals. However, his club will not achieve their projected demographic targets if they add 30 minutes to each school commute by locating mega schools between communities separated by major highways. This will merely encourage people to either move or enroll their children into private schools with smaller commute times.
    I was torn between enrolling my child in either St. Pius or Lakeside. I chose Lakeside because it was two minutes away from our house and because all my daughter’s neighborhood friends were going to Lakeside. But if my child’s public school was either Brookhaven or Braircliff with a 30 minute+ commute time at 5:30, I would have chosen St. Pius in a heartbeat since it takes about 20 minutes in rush hour and has multiple routes.
    I will not tolerate a school with lower ratings if it has a longer commute time and if it completely lacks a real neighborhood feel. These demographic goals might be more easily achieved in suburbs located farther away from Atlanta’s center with less educational choices. But it won’t work here. It is a shame that this is happening all over the US with the same fast/secret/corrupt procedure.
    This corruption club is merely screwing up communities and wasting everyone’s time and money. They are forcing thousands of high school kids to sit on a bus for an hour more each day and feel like strangers in giant schools with 2000+ kids from all over the place.
    The only positive thing that can happen is if parents ditch the public school system altogether and find private schools that treat their students as individuals rather than some target racial or socioeconomic demographic. If we aren’t racist, then let’s take race out of it and focus on building better, safer, happier, and more sustainable communities.

  12. This is a joke right? Austin gets their new school and now they voice their opinion? Why were they so quiet the weeks leading up to this? They didn’t have an opinion a month ago but they do now? Hey’ we got what we wanted, now we can write a letter. Are we really that freaking dumb????

  13. I’m not following you David. Austin was put on the E-SPLOST IV list for a rebuild 5 years ago.
    Dr. Green asked for middle and high school councils to speak up. We haven’t heard from many elementary school councils. I hope all school councils understand by state law they may provide advice and recommendations to the school principal, the board of education, and superintendent on any matter related to student achievement and school improvement.
    I hope to hear from more elementary school councils on this matter.

  14. FormerVandyMom

    At least the Austin council has a voice. I can’t believe Vanderlyn is so quiet. It’s their streets that are most affected by 600 new seats. DHS will clog the roads as new homes built in Doraville and Perimeter area. The best idea is to shrink the attendance zone. And DES parents who fought so hard when DES was built, where’d they all go? Remaining silent on the huge expansion at DHS and PCMS means you agree to the downfall. So disappointed in school councils at Vanderlyn and DES

  15. DeKalb need more diversity not less. Dr Green needs to spread out the white privelage children across the county. We need these stay at home moms to run our PTAs, to volunteer, to donate to our schools. They get all these tax breaks and homesteads so we can’t get money for our children. It’s not fair that Dunwoody schools are so white. Change the lines or make them bus like we did. No school in DeKalb should have more than 25% white based on our numbers.

  16. Gogreen, your impression of our neighborhoods is flawed to the extreme. We are not ‘privileged’. We work very hard. Most moms take full time or part time jobs and arrange for their children to do after school activities. They carpool and drive hours a day for their children. We volunteer and show up to Board meetings and PTA meetings and volunteer for our kids and care about our kids so that we give them the best. I am confused by your comments. You are implying that the minority populations do not care. Is that why you need to spread us out and tap our energies? This type of crazy comment drives a wedge in our community. You hate our hard work, care, and dedication and call it privilege. You secretly want to ruin our communities and the things we have made special. You want to see all our kids bused to large institutions that treat them as nameless faceless cattle merely tagged as a particular race and class. We work hard for things that are nice. We will not drive hours a day and volunteer for hours for an institution that isn’t part of our community and that isn’t nice. You cannot push us down. We will move or enroll in a better school. We should not be hated because we want our children’s school to be better and to be a part of the community.

  17. There are schools that teachers want to teach at and school where teachers are trying to escape. Many parents work very hard to make sure our children go to schools where teachers want to be. The parents are as much to blame as the administration for schools where teachers don’t want to be. School councils are frequently that stick.

  18. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them”
    — Frederick Douglass (August 3, 1857)

  19. The Austin plan is a good one. I would hope that the elementary points of view are given as much emphasis as the high schools position papers. After all, their current students will be most impacted by this. To that end, I want to remind people of the very complete and well thought position of the Montgomery School Council, basically a Modified A plan that looks at this on more of a long term, vs. a bandaid perspective.

  20. Finally, people from the Dunwoody cluster are speaking some sense. I was flabbergasted when I read the DHS and PCMS position papers. They were clearly the result of people getting into a room and not wanting to tell anyone they might be redistricted out of the cluster, so “just build bigger.” I, as one Dunwoody parent, believe the needs of our community as a whole are not best served by massive additions to PCMS and DHS. And I also believe that a Doraville cluster is going to be needed, if not now then in the future. And land isn’t getting any cheaper or more available.

  21. Dear GoGreen,
    A very wise person once told me that you have to be careful about being a judge of people. Any person who owns a home can apply for homestead exemption. All home owners can claim the interest from a mortgage on their income taxes. All neighborhoods should lobby and fignt for their schools. In 2016 children should not have to be bussed to a school to “make it good.” It is our duty as parents to push for excellence in every school.

  22. Bill Armstrong

    I’ve got a club? cool. One point I think can be drawn from the ES council position papers in Chamblee & Dunwoody is there is no full consensus between them & they are often contrary to the HS papers. This can be a window into the HS councils – you get a good read on which ES crowd runs them.

  23. Scott Gillispie

    Also, the only two elementary schools in the city of Chamblee (HH & Dresden – as opposed to the Chamblee cluster) both support the recommended plan.
    The main flaw I see in the logic (in addition to the fact that I don’t see the available land for a new HS site) is that it’s not at all clear that we will inevitably need an additional high school. We’re built out up here – we’re not seeing farms become subdivisions; particularly along Buford Highway, we’ve got apartment complexes being torn out for redevelopment, not just single family homes. That doesn’t seem like inevitable population growth to me. Have you looked at the statistics for Arabia Mountain HS? Do we really want a second half-full HS in the county? The conservative strategy is to expand the existing sites.
    Nice to see more papers copying the ‘…matters’ form that we defined for the HH document back in August. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  24. Gogreen – not sure if your post is meant to be serious or tongue in cheek, but that attitude is quite evident in how DeKalb County and some of these community organizers are acting. It’s like they want to “spread the whiteness” around like peanut butter on a piece of bread. It seems to me that the Austin and Montgomery communities have figured it out and aren’t going to take it lying down.

  25. Well written letter that makes very important points! While the MS and HS opinions are relevant, it is the ES students who will bear the brunt of these decisions, I am glad to see the ES population start to speak up for themselves.
    Gogreen, diversity is a wonderful thing. However, white kids are not Lego blocks you pick up and move around to make someone feel better about a school. Do you advocate ES children being bused up and down DeKalb County to create some sort of racial mix that is palatable? This is about using taxpayer dollars to build facilities where they are needed. I for one do not want my elected officials spending their time socially engineering our schools. I would much rather have that energy and those dollars put into creating amazing educational programs throughout the County.

  26. Scott – maybe they don’t do a good job teaching math at Huntley Hills…or at least parents don’t understand it. There is an excess of students. There are two ways to go about that. The inferior Option B that disrupts the lives of EVERY SINGLE STUDENT IN a new DORAVILLE high. Plenty of bodies. Just depends on how you want to move them around. It’s a concept called division, friend.

  27. Dissecting Craziness

    We all know that social engineers are drawing our school regions so they have a perfect 30% white 70% brown mix. Busing whitee is now pro-diversity while busing brownie is racist. Somehow all whites are getting what they deserve because a few brown people chose to bus their kids to white schools in the past. And somehow whites deserve this because they are ‘privileged’ and don’t work.
    If white moms complain that this misguided school siting plan adds an hour of driving to their schedule each day, then the emotional knee jerk response is – ‘good – now you white stay at home moms see how it is in the real world’. The assumption being that white moms are jobless and they just sit in their mansions watching soap operas all day while brown people wait on them. The cross keys teachers can’t wait to teach our kids that their parents are racist if they voted for Trump and that we can’t ever complain about illegal immigration as that’s also racist (Google Rebekah Cohen Morris Cross Keys English teacher).
    How is it that people who think in this delusional distorted way seem to be the only ones allowed to say how region lines are drawn? How is it that we are the racist ones if we criticize their stupid plans which will cause massive gridlocked, wasted time in traffic, and unnecessary gasoline usage? Every time we suggest a plan with smaller neighborhood schools, we get this retort that we only want it because it excludes the brown people. Isn’t this crazy?
    Every time a low income apartment complex is converted into a complex with luxury town homes, our schools will have to be redistricted to reach a perfect percentage mix of white/brown and white kids will have to be bused even further.
    Honestly the perfect plan would be to convert all the middle schools back into high schools like they once were. Then every neighborhood would have their high school. This stupid busing stuff was only possible in days where cities weren’t so overcrowded anyways. But somehow people absolutely obsessed with race are in charge, and they’re seriously ruining things for the rest of us. They just don’t give a damn about whether our communities are healthy or functional like they once were.

  28. Post of the day above!

    Post of the day! Saying what many of us feel. Fight for us Stan.

  29. So “go green,” you are saying you don’t trust DeKalb to teach your children? This must be the case of why would it matter who is at what school? Shouldn’t the county have a rigorous curriculum and the best teachers no matter what school and who attends? Seems to me your “beef” is with the system not the snotty white people. Maybe you are wasting your energy fighting the wrong fight!!!