Update: Multiple Schools Now Requesting Defer on E-SPLOST Vote

Dunwood, Chamblee, and Lakeside cluster school councils have now sent letters requesting a deferral on the E-SPLOST V project list.

July 2016
Conceptual plans were created for adding more classrooms to Chamblee Charter HS, Dunwoody HS, Lakeside HS and Peachtree Charter MS.
School councils were asked if they would like 1) classroom additions and renovations or 2) have the student population reduced via a new Doraville cluster.
Many school councils, like Dunwoody HS, requested the renovations and the 600 seat classroom addition saying they are “really embarrassed by some of the facilities at DHS”.
During the time DeKalb was asking parents and school councils to weigh in on how e-SPLOST should be spent, they released specific dollar amounts that each school would receive for its addition and renovation. After parents and school councils gave their opinion, the administration reduced the budgets by as much as 35% for additions and renovations at Lakeside HS, Chamblee HS, Dunwoody HS and Peachtree Charter MS.
The administration released the conceptual plans that were created in July for the additions/renovations. None of the plans include substantial improvements in common space.

Dunwoody, Chamblee and Lakeside cluster school councils ask for a delay on the vote for Category II of the E-SPLOST Project List until the actual projects are better defined to avoid any confusion and misunderstandings about what the building renovations and additions entail.
If these common spaces are not addressed, in the case of Dunwoody High School, the community will end up with 600 more seats but little in the way of common space improvements for the students they already have, let alone the additional seats. The same thing appears to be true for Chamblee and Lakeside. The bottom line: more seats and less common space per student. That is not acceptable.
Request for 60 Day Deferral Vote on SPLOST V Funding 
From: Dunwoody High School Council
Date: December 2, 2016

DeKalb County School Board and Leadership,
This letter requests that the BOE defer a final vote on SPLOST V funding for a period of 60 days. Despite being an overcrowded school in need of relief as soon as possible, we feel it is critically important to ensure that SPLOST money addresses critical and long-standing needs at DHS, and the information provided to date is not sufficient to ensure this will happen. This is what we would like to see accomplished in a deferral period:
1. Further information on the exclusion of gym capacity in our addition as well as a reconsideration of this exclusion.
2. Further clarification on specific items that will be included within an addition at DHS. We would like to work out specific classroom types that will be included in our addition.
DHS’s last major SPLOST project, while very beneficial to the school, did leave off an Arts wing that many had thought was to be part of the project, despite the project being completed under budget. We would like to avoid this type of confusion this time.
3. We would like to go over all proposed addition square footages and associated calculations that went into those. As it relates to GA DOE state criteria for common spaces, we see it as prudent to incorporate a safety factor to allow for the continued growth that is likely to happen throughout DCSD beyond 2022 to avoid the types of challenges overcrowded schools like DHS currently face. The current information does not provide any specifics on the approach to get to the expansions included within the plan.
Dunwoody High School Council

E-SPLOST Project List Vote Deferrals and Position Updates

22 responses to “Update: Multiple Schools Now Requesting Defer on E-SPLOST Vote

  1. I may have missed it, but which are actual school councils besides Dunwoody HS asking for an extension? Specifically, which Chamblee and/or Lakeside School councils support this?

  2. Hey Omar, As you can imagine I’m getting a lot of email traffic from parents across the county to defer the vote. So, digging out the requests to defer from the school councils is a bit challenging. I’ll update the blog with a list of position updates. Various other school councils have notified me they are requesting deferrals but have not submitted the request yet.

  3. Stan, thank you for laying out the progression/evolution of this. Some who are in favor of Option B are trying to characterize this as an “all of a sudden” “very vocal” change by “a few”. When you take a step back and look at how the information was shared with the community in bits and pieces it is clear why thousands are now opposed to moving forward with Category 2 as-is.

  4. Yes according to Georgia Educator, there are just a “few very loud folks” fighting to defer the vote. But I see 3 out of the 4 high schools impacted wanting to defer. The only one who wants a quick vote is the one getting the shiny new high school. So it seems to me like the Option B folks are the loud vocal minority.

  5. Well said, Run Amok. That will be a good thing to tell all other BOE members. Just as they wouldn’t like for the voices of Region 4 and 5 stakeholders to be ignored if the situation was reversed, asking for their support to delay the vote because 3 of the 4 affected high schools support the delay, ought to be something they can gladly support.
    Go ahead with the Region 3 additions at Clarkston HS and Freedom MS, and proceed with the other types of E-SPLOST projects. But too much is at stake to approve a plan that 3 of the 4 schools believe will result in inferior facilities that cannot support any growth.

  6. The Georgia educator woman is part of the group screaming for plan B’s forced diversity at all costs. Even if it means an hour more of daily traffic to go to a mega school across town. Ask yourself, do they have forced diversity in Israel? China? India? Latin America? They may have some natural diversity in their countries, but only in America do we submit to forced diversity in every school. Only the US re-draws natural neighborhood lines so ‘privileged’ people can go to school with illegal immigrants. Though Europe is soon to follow. If you drew plans solely based on geographic and educational needs and put high schools on the map in places that don’t have them, plan A would make a lot more sense. But we are not allowed to take race out of the equation . The problem is that demographics move and flux constantly, but high schools can’t be pushed around as easily. Permanent inconveniences and unmet needs will be created for 2016 demographic ratios. Who is behind this forced diversity push? Which club works for this group and coordinates this diversity agenda so it quietly happens in multiple states simultaneously despite neighborhood protests? It’s highly annoying. If you voice your concerns, you are called a selfish racist and are told that there’s all these other quiet, underprivileged regions with unmet needs. Yet if you complain that all the surveys were done before your affected community knew about it, then you’re accused of not staying informed, concerned, or vocal.

  7. Where in Lakeside High School’s position paper does it ask for a delayed vote? How many of the feeder schools in the Lakeside Cluster are asking for a delay? Only Sagamore ES?

  8. I can’t imagine Oak Grove or Hawthorne are too excited about the idea of leaving the Lakeside cluster and going to the Brookhaven cluster.

  9. John, you’re not crazy. LHS’ paper doesn’t say that. There are many in Valhalla with valid and serious concerns. But like CCHS and DHS there is a clear divide in opinion on active support for the options as laid out and for the current recommendation. All thinking persons have reasonable questions and concerns about the projects. There’s nothing wrong with good-faith dissent and debate.

  10. Roberta Baizer

    Regarding building consensus with the other board members:
    Each Dekalb resident votes for exactly one school board member and it is to those constituents the board member is understandably most beholden to and whose interests are their primary concern. As citizens our sphere of influence is relatively limited. Since the beginning of his term, Stan should have been focused building relationships with his fellow board members in order to better represent the constituents whom he represents. I do not believe he has done this in any meaningful capacity.

  11. The Lakeside cluster did not have consensus about delaying the vote. At least 3 elementary schools had reps who were in support of a delay (Oak Grove, Sagamore and Briarlake and there may have been others) so it is fair to say some in the cluster do not want to rush a vote.

  12. Add Montgomery ES to the list of schools requesting to defer the vote…

    We feel the deferment of this vote is critical for a number of reasons, including:
    • At the time of the initial Secondary School Study Stakeholder Surveys and community input sessions, detailed and concrete information regarding new school locations, assumed student moves, and additions were not provided to the public. DCSD has just released more specific information including site renderings for additions. Additional stakeholder feedback based on this new information is needed.
    • Elementary school councils, PTAs, and Foundation Boards were not strongly represented in the initial stages of the Stakeholder Feedback. Elementary Schools were not invited to participate in the steering committee for the Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study. This is the group that will utilize the new facilities in 5-7 years and their voice is essential to the integrity and effectiveness of this process.
    • Very limited information has been presented on the finalized site location for the proposed new 2,500 seat Cross Keys HS. Prior to approval, an exact site should be identified and renderings should be presented.
    • Lakeside HS, Dunwoody HS, and Chamblee HS are projected to be at 100% capacity by the time the proposed additions at these schools are complete. We would like for the board and stakeholders to further consider this solution and determine the most efficient use of these tax dollars.

  13. I attend one of the early planning meetings where the current options A, B and C were presented for the first time. I thought at that time and still think that those options, the only ones presented, would not alleviate the existing overcrowding problems, without the potential to create many other unfavorable consequences such as increased traffic and inadequate common spaces. When I asked the meeting facilitator what if I did not support any of the options, she said that the way the meeting was designed, we were just asked to put a sticker on one of the three choices on the board even if we did not like any of them. So the district even then did not seem open to options other than what it had put together.
    I also recently attended the November On the Scene with Dr. Green. He said that the district was continuing to take into account the public’s input as it evolved since the current list was initially presented but that his plan was to present that plan in it’s current state to the board for approval on December 5 even though most of the attendees that night were in opposition to the current plan.
    I have followed this issue closely since my initial attendance at that planning meeting and the feedback has continued to move away from support of option B . While there are some supporters, many, many stakeholders that are in regions 1 and 2 have publicly stated their opposition to plan B. Most if not all school councils of the clusters affected have publicly and in writing stated their opposition to the current option. They also have very good, specific ideas on how to alleviate their overcrowding issues that are not being included in option B. They are not just saying “I don’t like this”. They have other solutions on how to address the problems that should be taken into account as the very ones affected.
    Please think about that. If the very schools that will benefit from additions are saying please slow down and take into account these other things that will suffer if the current plan is enacted, how can you ignore that?
    If the district truly takes into account the feedback of those that will be affected by this very important decision as Dr. Green has stated, it will delay voting on this issue and modify the plan to include ideas from the affected schools. There is too much money and impact on the students to not get this right for the long term.

  14. Dear HS,
    I think you have a very strong argument, especially the last 2 paragraphs, that should appeal to ALL BOE members.
    I urge folks to send emails to ALL BOE members, requesting their support for a delay. A delay won’t happen if only Stan supports it.
    But I think all BOE members would be reluctant to support a plan that is opposed by so many who will be affected by it. If the situation was reversed, wouldn’t they want other BOE members to listen to affected stakeholders rather than just approving Dr. Green’s plan? Leadership is hard. But taking a bit more time to make a plan that is better for the long term is the mark of a good leader.
    I would also suggest emphasizing that other E-SPLOST-V projects should proceed, including the Clarkston HS and Freedom MS additions and even the Brookhaven HS. We don’t need to hold up other progress (although I still oppose band equipment and artificial turf!) but we need to get this capacity situation right.

  15. Hey Stan – any luck on official position from councils? So far I’ve only seen Dunwoody HS and Montgomery ES.

  16. Omar I spoke with CCHS governance and they signed off on the CMS letter and have formally joined in requesting a deferral. The letter from CMS was a joint effort so CCHS won’t be doing a separate letter .

  17. Adrienne Duncan

    Watching online – Stan made the motion.
    Died for lack of a second.
    Marshall Orson is talking up why he and his district schools want the vote tonight.

  18. Adrienne Duncan

    Joyce Morley advocating for “changing hearts and minds” and “unity” in DeKalb.
    Must be the Twilight Zone.

  19. Adrienne Duncan

    Apparently according to the Love Doctor, delaying this vote is not in the best interest of “all the children”.
    Orson is backing her up. Explanation “we can’t please everyone, not going to be perfect”, etc etc etc
    Vote is going ahead per the board. Vote was 6-1

  20. Adrienne Duncan

    Misstated earlier – who’s the guy in the bow tie? It wasn’t Orson.

  21. Bow tie man is Jim McMahan, who represents Lakeside HS and Sagamore Hills ES.

  22. Nathan Deal Rescue?

    Can we get Governor Deal in here to kick these idiots off the board again?