750 More Seats at Lakeside HS? Why?

How will adding 750 seats to Lakeside High School improve their School Climate Star Rating and academic achievement?
School Climate Star Rating
The National School Climate Center defines school climate as “the quality and character of school life” [1]. Research has found that schools with positive school climates tend to have better test scores and graduation rates; in contrast, schools with negative school climates as a result of unsafe or hostile environments tend to have lower academic performance. [2]
Lakeside HS is Below Satisfactory
The Ga DOE recently released the 2016 School Climate Star Ratings​. Lakeside High School (LHS) received a 2 out 5 stars which is considered below satisfactory according to the school climate index. Dresden ES and Lakeside HS were the only two schools out of the Lakeside, Cross Keys, Chamblee and Dunwoody clusters to score below average ratings.
Smaller Schools
The benefits of having smaller schools have been researched and written about ad nauseam. They show that smaller schools tend to be safer and are generally better places for students to learn. Graduation rates are generally higher, greater teacher satisfaction, small schools are more flexible, there is less one size fits all, etc…

Lakeside High School (LHS) is currently squeezzing 2,184 students into a building with a capacity of 1,756 students. Enrollment is expected to grow to 2,619 students (863 students over current capacity) by year 2022. Last month the board approved constructing a 750-seat, 38-classroom, two-story addition extending the current footprint and bringing the new capacity to 2,500 seats. The project will also include

  • Kitchen extension (1,546 sq/ft)
  • Cafeteria extension (2,025 sq/ft)
  • New media center addition (4,391 sq/ft)
  • 3 story employee parking garage (100 spaces)
  • 138 additional student outdoor parking spaces
School Kitchen Cafeteria Media Center
Existing Size Proposed Addition Revised Size Existing Size Proposed Addition Revised Size Existing Size Proposed Addition Revised Size
Lakeside HS 4,258 1,546 5,804 8,560 2,025 10,585 6,466 4,391 10,857

Increasing the capacity at LHS from 1,756 students to 2,500 students is a 30% increase in capacity. The conceptual plans for LHS increase the kitchen by 27% and the cafeteria by 19%. The media center space is expected to be expanded by 40%. Adding a garage and paving over all the green spaces in front will extend parking by 36%.
Guideline for Educational Facility Site Selection
The GA DOE Guideline for Educational Facility Site Selection applies to the existing sites on which a new educational facility will be constructed. In accordance with these guidelines, the minimum useable acreage requirements of the State Board of Education are 20 acres plus one acre for each 100 students in FTE for High School Facilities.
The Lakeside HS School Assessment Report says the site was originally constructed in 1965, has a total area of 33.3 acres. If the new capacity for LHS is 2,500 students, then the total site acreage for this high school should be at least 45 acres.
Not A Scalable Solution
If we add 750 seats, LHS is projected to be over capacity before the next E-SPLOST. In the November FAQ, the administration said “Our buildings will be designed so that, if warranted, we can add additional building capacity to accommodate future student capacity”. We can’t add 750 seats to LHS every 5 years. This is not a scalable solution.
Lakeside HS Cluster Positions
To sum up the various positions, nobody wants to be redistricted to Cross Keys or a new Doraville cluster.
Sagamore ES position – Sagamore doesn’t want to be redistricted to Cross Keys
Briarlake ES Position – Briarlake doesn’t want split feeders to Cross Keys
Oake Grove ES – Oak Grove supports the 750 seat addition but doesn’t say why. They do however have a litany of concerns with the plan.
Lakeside Cluster Summit Position – Aside from Jim McMahan and Randy Faigin David, I’m not aware of anybody else that is a part of this group. The cluster summit advocates for whatever option redistricts the fewest students out of the cluster.

Who’s Getting Redistricted Out of Lakeside High School
In addition to the proposed 750 seat addition to Lakeside HS, the school district has announced it’s intention to redistrict 250 students currently attending LHS to the new Brookhaven High School cluster.
Sources have indicated that school district officials may target certain elementary schools for redistricting on the basis of socio-economics and demographics. Various sources have previously indicated that the school district intended to redistrict Sagamore ES, but I have since learned that other schools are being considered.

[1] National School Climate Center. (2014). School Climate. Retrieved from http://www.schoolclimate.org/climate/.
[2] Thapa, Amrit, Jonathan Cohen, Shawn Guffey, and Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro. 2013. “A Review of School Climate Research.” Review of Educational Research 83(3): 357-385.

63 responses to “750 More Seats at Lakeside HS? Why?

  1. Don McChesney

    Stan you make very substantial points in questioning the capacity increase at Lakeside. In my experience It was evident that people get very emotional about moving children at all. Folks believe redistributing is necessary, but should not include their child. A school board cannot not win on this issue no matter what they do.
    Your major point about questioning the idea of just adding capacity so that no one ever has to change schools is a valid point. The most important point here is that it is not good for the taxpayer. In the case of Lakeside the strain on infrastructure in the area may be chancy. More surface covered by concrete etc. will have an impact. Possibly the board of commissioners should be consulted on the plans.
    Why are we not refurbishing Briarcliff? It is a logical reliever for the area. It is located in the Lakeside neighborhood. Sell Druid Hills to Emory before we lose it for a song when the Druid Hills neighborhood is annexed by Atlanta. Druid Hills and the Lakeside overflow could be housed there. Lakeside students used to go to Briarcliff. Druid Hills students were transferred to Briarcliff when it was built. A$30 million refurbish fee is far preferable to $70 million replacement cost for a new school. If your plans are to sell the Briarcliff property to a developer or more likely working out something with Brookhaven usurping more territory that is not really Brookhaven you will ignite the wrath of the surrounding neighborhoods. The neighbors have generally always supported a school there and I believe that would continue.
    The taxpayers need to look at this closely and with an open mind. As you stated it is proven by research that mega schools do not perform as well as smaller high schools. When do we start using reason instead of emotion when we face redistricting?

  2. Of course, adding a new Doraville High School would alleviate all of the need to expand Lakeside, Chamblee and Dunwoody – all of which are tightly landlocked and in the middle of traffic nightmares. The City of Dunwoody should resolve to stop any more additions that would increase traffic in already congested areas. (Dunwoody HS is in a tiny area that is host to Perimeter College and Dunwoody Elementary school as well as the high school.) Adding on to these schools is the laziest, most ridiculous solution I’ve ever seen from a school board – including the board that was fired by the Governor.

  3. Dekalb Inside Out

    My only argument to that is adding 750 seats to Lakeside is a much worse idea than adding 600 seats to Dunwoody. Lakeside already has a craptastic School Climate Star Rating. How much more miserable can we make the educational experience at Lakeside High School?

  4. Bill Armstrong

    Stan. Taken as a whole – it seems that the Chamblee, Dunwoody, Cross Keys & Lakeside clusters are in a catch -22. Too many kids from the area ESs – MSs feeding into overcrowded & growing HSs – that are being expanded/rebuilt in response. Perhaps a new Doraville cluster would relieve the situation? depending on the #s & where the lines are drawn.
    But there’s the rub, the lines. By & large it seems that most people in the ES populations that would be absorbed into such a cluster don’t want it. And it seems that the majority of people & schools that are advocating for such a cluster are not those that would be moved. Rather – they would be “helped” by moving out the kids that are overcrowding “their” schools.
    This is not a new problem in DeKalb. Both can be couched in terms that seem understandable. BUT I also find it troubling that the advocacy of a new cluster has been couched both 1 – on simple logistical concerns; 2 -the argument that small schools are inherently better , BUT also 3- what I quite frankly consider some form of socio-economic, cultural, and impact on “our reputation & test scores” discrimination, – or in many cases 4 – a blend of some or all.
    This is a tough deal. I do think that throwing out 1 & 2 – gives people cover for 3 & 4, if they want it. Some don’t seem to care.
    It would be interesting to have parents from the schools safe from any move across a table from those that would likely or are certain to move to this proposed new cluster, give them a map & markers on a dry erase board. Face to face. What then would someone from a “safe” school say to their counterparts. How would it be received?
    How about each parent bring a child? They are real people, not just “a seat.”
    BUT – in reality, at least for now, this is moot, as are your trio of “Why are the expansions good” posts.
    Seems to be stirring the pot. Fueling a fire. Redirecting energy that I submit would be better used to make the approved plan to work as best it can. For all the “seats.”

  5. @DIO >> So you are essentially saying, “Let’s go ahead and trash Dunwoody’s school climate so that it will match Lakeside’s rather than deteriorate Lakeside’s further.” Interesting thought process.
    The bottom line is >> DeKalb needs another high school in the north end of the county. Period. People need to get over their extreme fear of getting redistricted out of Lakeside. Or Dunwoody. Or Chamblee. The school board needs to grow some and just do what needs to be done.

  6. Idea!! How about building an Arabia North?!! A magnet-only high achievers math/science/arts high school that has full arts and sports facilities?!! Fair is fair. The Briarcliff property stands ready!
    Check out Arabia here >> http://www.arabiamtnhs.dekalb.k12.ga.us/
    You can only get in if you apply and are accepted. But you do get free magnet transportation.

  7. Dekalb Inside Out

    Cere, I think they are both bad ideas that should be abandoned immediately. I just think that adding 750 seats to Lakeside is an even worse idea than adding 600 seats to Dunwoody. Mr. Jester, what are the acreage numbers for Lakeside?

  8. Guideline for Educational Facility Site Selection
    Hmmm … I forgot to add a section for that. The GA DOE Guideline for Educational Facility Site Selection applies to the existing sites on which a new educational facility will be constructed. In accordance with these guidelines, the minimum useable acreage requirements of the State Board of Education are 20 acres plus one acre for each 100 students in FTE for High School Facilities.
    The Lakeside HS School Assessment Report says the site was originally constructed in 1965, has a total area of 33.3 acres, and is occupied by approximately 254,168 square feet of permanent building space.
    If the new capacity for LHS is 2,500 students, then the total site acreage for this high school should be at least 45 acres.

  9. BTW – I’m totally serious about an Arabia-like campus in north DeKalb. I’ve pitched this idea many times. Druid Hills or Cross Keys properties would both be good choices. Marta makes them both easily accessible. Much more accessible than Arabia for that matter.
    Check out Arabia’s interactive map >> http://www.arabiamtnhs.dekalb.k12.ga.us/InteractiveCampusmap.aspx
    They have a football practice field with a running track, baseball field, softball field, cross country trails, a greenhouse, tennis courts, a gymnasium, a cafeteria referred to as ‘The Commons’, and 5 ‘pod’ buildings that are more or less like a small campus. This set up prepares students for college campus life. This is a great template … and could easily be replicated on the Druid Hills property.

  10. There are some acreage limitations. Arabia Mountain HS sits on 80 acres. Druid Hills HS sits on 11 acres and Cross Keys HS sits on 26 acres.

  11. Bill Armstrong

    Cere: Problem solved. The PTAs of MES, Sagamore & Vanderlyn have negotiated an expedited bulk application that they all be accepted to Arabia Mountain when they are ready. Smaller groups from other ESs in each cluster will be handled case-by-case. Of course, they will undergo “extreme vetting.”

  12. Bill Armstrong

    Cere. Who are you target applicants? The families that d/n get into the Kittredge/CMS/CHHS magnet lottery pipeline in North DeKalb? The entire Magnet population as well? In general – all talks of moving the Magnet out of Chamblee gets big pushback up here. Even from many that don’t get in, or even qualify for that matter.
    One of the reason some in Chamblee find the Doraville cluster attractive is it is seen as possibly pulling out enough students to leave the Magnet there without expansion. Truth be told.

  13. You can add all the additions you want on to Lakeside and expand some of the common areas, but the interior classrooms, stairwells and hallways are still the same size. At some point increasing the number of students at Lakeside becomes a daily safety hazard.

  14. Actually, Bill, it could be a replacement and expansion of the magnet program at Chamblee. That would certainly open up the needed seats at Chamblee – AND create a strictly magnet school in the north end of the county. It could also serve as a School of the Arts magnet. There’s plenty of space at the Druid Hills (old Briarcliff) site. Talks of moving the magnet to central DeKalb are what get shot down … I don’t think people would mind a move of a few miles. This way, we have full magnets in each end of the county … making transportation more palatable than only having magnets in south and central DeKalb. It ain’t easy to get from points north to central or south during rush hours. This county is long and narrow. And enormous.

  15. @Melanie >> Plus – it’s just ‘more of the same’… If we really want to improve education outcomes in DeKalb (and the U.S. for that matter) we need to think outside the box and offer programs that are exciting for students. Not the same old hum drum sit in a desk for 45 minutes, then get 4 minutes to move to a different desk in a different room. (Yawn)
    This again, is why I have advocated for a fantastic, progressive vocational high school. We have one in my hometown that gets students nice jobs or college-prep after high school. The students love going to this school … They have quite a waiting list.

  16. Russell Carleton

    Stan, I think that everyone gets that the expansion plans have a downside. The entire reason that we are in this position is that we are in a hole and we are trying to figure a way out of it, and ALL of the proposals that were offered had a significant amount of downside and not a lot of upside. About the best that can be said for the expansions is that the schools are over-crowded now and this at least solves the classroom space issue in the short term. That is extraordinarily faint praise (and from the numbers you’ve offered above, might not even be true for Lakeside.) Your points about over-stressed common spaces and the fact that this isn’t a scalable solution are well-taken and should be part of the conversation.
    On the flip side, whatever else a new Doraville cluster would mean, it would mean the big “R” word that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure that there were a lot of people thinking that given a choice between a cramped lunch room and redistricting, they’d rather have a cramped lunch room.
    What I’m trying to figure out is the endgame. The vote has been taken. The wheels on the bus are going round and round. You have made it clear that you favor a Doraville cluster option, and there are several benefits to it, but there’s also a significant lack of detail for that plan. There was no parcel of land identified, either near or in Doraville, as even a candidate for the new high school. The cost estimates for that plan were higher than for the expansion plans. I get that the prices for the expansion plans keep climbing as things go along (shocked! shocked!) but it’s likely that something similar would have happened with a Doraville plan. There have been a number of other issues brought up on this forum (would the new HS simply become CK2?)
    And yes… redistricting.
    I’m open to the idea that the system needs a good redistricting, and that might even (gasp!) affect my kids. I’m open to the idea that while the price tag might be higher for the Doraville cluster, we do face the distinct possibility that the area will continue to grow and that means more kids and in 5 years, we need to build a new high school anyway. Maybe it’s better to do it now, because prices are likely to go up, and as you have pointed out, we can build a bigger high school that’s architecturally suited to being a big high school, rather than a pastiche of add-ons at schools that weren’t designed for it. Those are perfectly reasonable arguments.
    Also, they will be massively politically unpopular. But even assuming that somehow the vote can be had again, those are the real arguments that you’re going to have to overcome to change the outcome. I don’t think “cramped lunch room” is going to do it. And I’m assuming that it needs to happen fast before they start breaking ground on the expansions. So… what’s the plan?

  17. @ Stan >> Last I heard, the entire Druid Hills property is somewhere around 60-70 acres — maybe more.

  18. @Russell Carleton >> This is the problem with DeKalb. We have ALWAYS been somehow ‘digging out of a hole’, implementing ‘reactive’ instead of ‘proactive’ planning.

  19. Also, back when south DeKalb was experiencing massive growth, new high schools were built in response (MLK, Miller Grove, Arabia). It never seemed to be such an issue. People were fine with it. Why are people in north DeKalb so uptight?

  20. The Former Briarcliff HS on  Druid Hills Road is on 17.6 acres according to the last Former Briarcliff HS – School Assessment Report

  21. Don McChesney

    Cere. I gree with many of your comments. While on the BOE I wrote up a proposal suggesting Briarcliff be used as a STEM school or as a magnet. I broached the subject with Dr. Lewis and with Cheryl Atkinson. I never even got a reply. Nothing has changed with this BOE or superintendent. It is still North DeKalb vs. South DeKalb . It is about protecting turf and social engineering. That is why our kids lose.

  22. Bill Armstrong

    Russell – very well put. Thanks.
    As for the “R” word, yes always a factor, and as I say, almost universally opposed by those impacted – at least “negatively” – going where they don’t want to. But the Doraville plan would REQUIRE redistricting – which is then oddly favored by many in the region, in the form of the reverse – redistricting away those that are “causing” the overcrowding. But remember – it’s for their own good.
    Perhaps a question should be – “How would a new Doraville Cluster, including all the required redistricting, improve the education of the students in all impacted clusters?” What are the positives of those who “get” to remain in Chamblee, Dunwoody, or hit by the domino effects for Cross Keys & Lakeside – moved or stay? Is it really just “rightsizing?” Please expound.
    And evaluate the positive impact on those students in the new cluster. Is it the “better suited to serve the needs of ‘those’ students” thing?
    And if your child isn’t moving to this hypothetic new school cluster, answer as if you are telling someone who would be moved why you think it would be best for their child.
    And PLEASE if you are here and have a child who would be in the proposed Doraville cluster, what do you think? I don’t want to speak for you. Maybe you would prefer it?

  23. Russell,
    I appreciate your thoughts on the issue. But when you ask what the plan is, I can’t say.
    The BOE (except for Stan) has thumbed their nose at the obvious deficiencies of this plan, such as:
    – Severely undersized campuses (CCHS will be LESS THAN HALF the recommended size) – not a problem!
    – Plan barely meets capacity (After the additions and new school, Region 1 High Schools COLLECTIVELY will only have 58 more seats than the 6,957 projected students in 2022) – not a problem!
    – All Region 1 High Schools and Lakeside will be mega-schools, of 2000-2600 students, in areas that already have traffic issues – not a problem!
    You mention Redistricting, but guess what?
    In 2022, THERE WILL BE NO HIGH SCHOOL TO RE-DISTRICT REGION 1 AND LAKESIDE KIDS TO, unless you send them to Region 3, 4, or 5!!
    There will be 32 “extra” seats at Chamblee, 14 “extra” seats at Cross Keys/Brookhaven, 12 “extra” seats at Dunwoody, and 12 “extra” seats at Lakeside. Tucker will have 12 “extra” seats in 2022, and Druid Hills will be overcapacity by 2.
    And there won’t be any room for trailers in Region 1 or Lakeside either, since the additions will take up any un-concreted area.
    I think this is why Stan just can’t let the issue drop. Yes, the BOE voted. But while I still have energy I consider it my civic duty to continue to advocate for someone to stop this madness.
    These concerns have nothing to do with a child’s income level or achievement level or skin color or national origin. This is a bad plan for ALL of our students.
    A real leader can call “time out,” before we get any farther down this path. Do we have one?

  24. Redistricting – I hear ya. Redistricting is tough. The path of least resistance is much easier, but it isn’t always the right thing to do. Quite frequently, the hard thing is the right thing to do. I suspect many supporters of the building additions are “path of least resistance” people.
    Why is a Doraville Cluster the right thing to do? – Like I wrote in the Pros and Cons of adding 600 seats to Dunwoody HS, will the addition of 600 seats (300ish students) or redistricting 600 students out of DHS make things better or worse for the school and the community?

    600 Seat Addition District Out 600 Students
    Cafeteria Area Worse Better
    Kitchen Neutral Neutral
    Parking Worse Better
    Media Center Neutral Better
    Gymnasium Worse Better
    Field Space Worse Better
    Field Conditions Neutral Neutral
    Band Room Space Worse Better
    Choral Room Space Neutral Neutral
    Hallways Space Worse Better
  25. Ha – interesting … they are seriously trying to undersell (ie; lie about) the Druid Hills property as just being 17 acres. That’s funny. They must be just adding up the footprint of the school and the grassy area out front. I very easily found an old article stating that Sembler wanted to purchase the 39 acres that makes up the Druid Hills property (including the stadium, but not including the old Kittredge building or the horrible county park/pool in back)… http://thechampionnewspaper.com/news/local/dekalb-school-board-to-vote-on-demolishing-briarcliff-high-school/
    “In 2006, Florida developer Sembler Company offered to purchase the 39 acres along North Druid Hills Road, which includes the land Briarcliff High School and Adams Stadium to build a large, mixed-use development. The school board valued Sembler’s offer at more than $60 million, which would be paid by Sembler in the form of a land-swap and the construction of new buildings for all of the displaced schools, according to news reports. However, the recession and protests by local residents ended Sembler’s plans.”
    “The Briarcliff site was used as one location for shooting MTV’s Teen Wolf series. ”
    Oh yeah, and then there’s that. What did they do with the money they were paid by MTV?

  26. @Anonymous >> No DeKalb school board has yet shown to have the backbone to just make decisions that are best for the whole district overall. Historically, they have caved every time to special interest groups and squeaky wheels. Gwinnett redistricts all the time. Nobody gripes too much — why? Because almost all of their schools are reliable in learning and in the buildings themselves. DeKalb’s — not so much. If DeKalb were a house, the owners would show off the expensive commercial Viking range in the kitchen, but you couldn’t use the bathroom because the septic tank out back is cracked and leaking.

  27. Bill Armstrong

    Stan – that’s the gist of my question – “will redistricting 600 students out of DHS make things better or worse for the school and the community?”. What about those 600 who would/are already part of the school and community? Better for them?

  28. Bill Armstrong

    Cere – Gwinnett. True that. My nieces & nephews have attended the Peachtree Ridge schools for years & my brother always tells me about how they move people around in their mega-schools they can’t build big or fast enough. Do you think this leads to less connection to specific schools? His family never had to deal with that as he lived right next to the schools.
    While I do think Gwinnett’s model of sprawling growth does lend itself to challenges that differ from DeKalb in many respects – it does seem true that the method of building & redistricting often does establish a baseline of expectations for all.

  29. I recognize the fear of being redistricted. Those that advocate for the building additions are a faction, a minority number of citizens united and activated by the fear of being redistricted which is adverse to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
    The only con to being redistricted is fear. I have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the building additions is a net negative for the Dunwoody, Chamblee and Lakeside communities. The permanent and aggregate interests of the community have been the topic. A post to discuss redistricting is coming.

  30. Agree 100%. It was completely silly and misguided to not put in a Doraville High School. You cannot retrofit by placing a Gwinnett mega school type system on properties designed to have smaller community high schools. You’ve bought into that system years ago. You can’t go changing it now. New high schools and redistricting are the answer.

  31. Scott Gillispie

    1) I think it’s a bad idea to break these topics up by the different high schools; you get lost in the details, when really we need to deal with North Dekalb as a whole and look at the structure of the whole thing. We’re one community, right? (Actually, I think that’s a postulate that we are not agreed on, and that’s the heart of the problem) I’m just going to respond generally in this thread, rather than try to bounce between the three high school threads.
    2) If the North Dekalb child population keeps increasing, then we can (and should look) at adding an additional high school; however, I don’t see that trend as anything near a certainty. The status of the Buford Highway apartment complexes is a moving target. Unlike Gwinnett (which after a couple of decades of building, still has empty land – getting close though), we’re built out – there’s as many units that will come out here as go in, if not more – particularly if you think about all four North DeKalb clusters together, instead of trying to break them up.
    3) Arabia Mountain – the thing that has always stood out to me about it is that it’s shown as being at 40-50-60% capacity. Not really a desirable model for public policy, I think.
    3) Redistricting – why not? If you want to be sure of what elementary/middle/high school your kids route to, move next door to it. There’s far too many people who are wound up around what elementary school they route to; and it looks like a lot of them are because they are terribly concerned about the impact it will have on their property values – not about kids (because a lot of them don’t have kids!) Probably a sign that people are over-invested in real estate.
    4) I hope people in Murphey Candler are able to realize that all of this ‘City school district’ stuff, that some in Dunwoody advocate for, doesn’t do a whole lot for them, since they want to continue to cross city limits over to Chamblee HS. Maybe their neighborhood’s just in the wrong city…
    5) In any case, this ship has sailed; time to get involved with implementing the expansions properly. For those of you who think that there should be a Doraville HS, I’m sure planning would love help to identify 30 acre sites in Doraville that are for sale that they could keep an eye on for the next ESPLOST, if they need it. I’m keeping an eye on plots in the commercial property next to Chamblee High myself.

  32. Bill Armstrong

    Stan – “a minority number of citizens united and activated by the fear of being redistricted which is adverse to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
    I would point out that some opposed to redistricting would not be the ones “on the outs.” We are not “afraid” – at least for ourselves.
    I welcome a post to discuss redistricting. Perhaps then someone will finally answer my question, that is based on this observation, I consider fact until proven otherwise: the overwhelming majority of those advocating for a new school that results in redistricting would NOT be moved. Example 1 – MES, but plenty more fit the description. That’s a much easier posture to take, at least for some.
    My question: “Why is redistricting a significant group of families in your community out of the community school better for all involved?”
    “The permanent and aggregate interests of the community have been the topic.” That might turn on who you consider a part of the “community?” I think they consider it “our” community too.

  33. Carol Besselman

    Is there anything we should be doing to stop the building of the mega-high school? I agree that smaller schools make more sense but I’m afraid that our School Board (and my area’s rep) has committed to an illogical solution to the issues.
    Thanks very much for keeping us informed.

  34. Carol, Reach out to your school council and board member and share your thoughts with them. They are elected to their positions and are here to serve the public.

  35. My question: “Why is redistricting a significant group of families in your community out of the community school better for all involved?”
    It is better for him that is for sure. Redistrict all the Chesnut and Kingsley kids and now DHS is a private school of rich white kids, increasing his property value. As I mentioned before, his whole argument as to what is best for Dunwoody is a HUGE conflict of interest for Stan. How can he say what is best for Dunwoody when his best for Dunwoody is best for him and his family??? Austin kids are close to North Springs. Send them there.That would solve DHS capacity issues

  36. Some pretty racist accusations followed by a meaningless rant. This is an emotional issue and a lot is at stake here. Let’s be constructive and work on taking the high road.

  37. Contacting our board member and school council do no good. Any other options?

  38. AB, Unfortunately there is no one lever we can pull to make this happen. We are where we are now because board members and some school councils want to do this and believe the people they represent want to do this. Reach out to them, find them at public meetings, call them, talk to them … have a conversation with them and let them know how you feel.

  39. We used to joke on the DSW blog that we should make Lakeside a mega school that would hold 10,000 and just send everyone there! Worrying about everyone going to Lakeside or getting redistricted at all shouldn’t be an issue – as in a healthy system, students and parents should be comfortable in the knowledge that ALL schools will offer a great facility, all material necessary and an opportunity to succeed. In DeKalb, they just don’t. That’s why everyone is so territorial. It’s unique to DeKalb – mostly due to its long history of racial issues, the associated federal oversight and focus on social engineering. Offering students some seriously great choices (ie; Arabia!) is the way to go. In fact, if all schools were more or less equal – but focused on different types and styles of learning – you could essentially open up all schools to everyone and not even worry about attendance lines – and things would balance, with most staying in their home schools. The school board and planning leaders need to have an overall vision and work towards it – not just piece meal here and there according to emergencies and outcry – only responding to those who speak out. Thus the reason Stan tells you to contact your board member – they make decisions based on how many people call them about it. After all, it’s a political issue – they might not get reelected if they anger the wrong constituent. For some of these board members, this is their only source of income – or their double-dip.

  40. Stan. My apologies. I never should have brought that race issue up. That was wrong on my part and don’t believe race is an issue with your stance. However, I stand by my belief that your plan benefits parts of Dunwoody (your part) and will hurt other parts. You keep saying Dunwoody stays Dunwoody but the numbers don’t add up. We both know that. Adding a new Dunwoody High school to me is the only solution to keeping all of Dunwoody happy.

  41. Stan has gone to great lengths to ask how these school expansions will improve the academic achievement of ANYONE in North DeKalb, and NO ONE provided anything concrete. Where Stan lives is superfluous information to this basic and undisputed fact. He could live inside Dunwoody High School and it still would not negate the fact that these expansions will harm all students and their communities. BUILD DORAVILLE HIGH NOW.

  42. The Lakeside cluster needs to be split into two as does the Dunwoody cluster. Obviously we can’t keep adding 600 seats to these high schools every 5 years.
    .pdf link icon October 2016 FTE Enrollment Report, by school, by grade – Hightower ES has 120-140 students per grade (5th grade is an outlier)
    .pdf link icon October 2016 Non Resident Attendees, by Sending Area and School Attending (Elementary School) – There are 53 students zoned for Hightower ES that are going somewhere else, most of them to another school in the Dunwoody Cluster.
    That’s roughly 130 per grade at Hightower ES now plus another 10 per grade zoned sending to another Dunwoody school. So, that’s 140 students per grade …. 4 grades in high school … that brings us to roughly 560 students. I think it’s a reasonable expectation that it would be 600+ students by the time a Doraville HS opened.
    If you disagree, let me know how you see the numbers.

  43. Bill Armstrong

    David – I too have tried to keep race out of it, and while I don’t think it is part of anything Stan has presented here himself, others have on occasion brought it in, as well overall cultural/socio-economic factors. And in person, meetings & in emails in Chamblee, from parents in various schools, I have point blank heard it.
    So yes, I will try to keep race out of it, but I want to hear from the proponents of redistricting. So I will stand by this:
    “I also find it troubling that the advocacy of a new cluster has been couched both 1 – on simple logistical concerns; 2 -the argument that small schools are inherently better , BUT also 3- what I quite frankly consider some form of socio-economic, cultural, and impact on “our reputation & test scores” discrimination, – or in many cases 4 – a blend of some or all.”
    Maybe I will be surprised by the pro-redistricting proponents, especially those who will never face it themselves. I look forward to those postings. Perhaps some will not be anonymous.

  44. I’ve actually lost track … what ARE the plans? Are we simply looking at adding 600+ seats to every high school in north DeKalb? I recall something about a new Cross Keys HS (location?) a new “Brookhaven” HS (is this the same thing? Or is this an additional school?) What are the locations of these new schools and what are the plans for the old CK site if a new school is built? (If that’s even the plan … it’s all been so confusing .) Stan, can you recap what the actual plan really is? Sorry – but I have to admit – I am now lost.

  45. What we are discussing here is Category 2: New Facilities and Capacity Additions ($291 M = $260 Million E-SPLOST Revenue + $31 Million Ga DOE Capital Outlay Reimbursements)
    .pdf link icon  Proposed 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List (December 5, 2016)

  46. Is it an option to use the former Heritage School site for Lakeside overflow?

  47. Not all of the elementary enrolled students at Hightower ES will go on to attend public high school. 2022 forecast from planning department estimates 439 based only on resident attendees. For comparison, 244 for Chesnut ES.

  48. @Carol – Not at all. The Heritage ES is teeny tiny – and has teeny tiny toilets and sinks. Plus a teeny tiny ‘cafetorium’. Plus – isn’t the Globe Charter in there or did they move?

  49. I believe Globe is looking for a new space so that they can have one campus vs the two they have now. If the Heritage building is vacated, why couldn’t it be retrofitted for Lakeside overflow?

  50. ok so according to your doc, Stan, Basically Cross Keys will be a brand new HS on the Druid Hills property. The old site will become a MS (without an auditorium still). All other area schools except Tucker will get several hundred seat additions, rather than build another HS and redistrict. There is no mention of the ‘new Brookhaven HS’ I had sworn I heard about before. >>
    Category 2: New Facilities and Capacity Additions
    ($291M = $260Million E-SPLOSTRevenue+ $31Million GaDOE Capital Outlay Reimbursements)
    These recommendations are based on school utilization data through 2022 as well as the extensive stakeholder engagement during the Secondary School Planning and Feasibility Study. Middle and High School Capacity Additions ($202.5 M)
    1. Build a New Cross Keys HS (2,500 seat capacity) at Briarcliff site (or cost-neutral alternative site): $84.8M
    2. Convert Cross Keys HS to MS with classroom addition (1,500 seat capacity): $9.5M
    3. 600-seat classroom addition at ChambleeHS (2,400 seat capacity): $21.0M
    4. 650-seat classroom addition at Clarkston HS (1,925 seat capacity): $16.6M
    5. 600-seat classroom addition at Dunwoody HS (2,100 seat capacity): $16.9M
    6. 300-seat classroom addition at Freedom MS (1,675 seat capacity): $8.4M
    7. 750-seat classroom addition at Lakeside HS (2,500 seat capacity): $26.2M
    8. 450-seat classroom addition at Peachtree MS (1,700 seat capacity): $14.1M
    9. Auditorium Addition at Cedar Grove HS: $5.0M Elementary School Capacity Additions* ($8-8.5 M)
    1. Build new John Lewis ES (900 FTE plus land purchase): $30.0M
    2. Build new ES for Cross Keys North (plus land purchase; location TBD in/around Doraville area): $30.0M
    3. Tear-down/re-build of Indian Creek Elementary: $28.5M
    *Note: Additional elementary school capacity (e.g. additions at Jolly ES, Chesnut ES, and Rowland ES) needs identified under this master planning initiative are not included due to budget constraints.
    Further exploration of the public’s willingness to approve a referendum for a bond backed by property tax millage is recommended

  51. I don’t think using Heritage as an overflow is a viable option logistically or financially. Logistically, we can’t transport the students back and forth between the Heritage building and the Lakeside HS campus between every period for one class or another. That would also be an expensive renovation.

  52. @Carol – you should go see that school – I kid you not – it is tiny. The rooms are tiny. The bathrooms are tiny. There are no lockers. There is little parking. It really should be traded to the county to expand the park. Maybe the county has a piece of land to trade that would serve to build a new HS in the north end? Other than that, I have often suggested making it into strictly a Pre-K building. Just 4 year olds. That could relieve some over-crowding at Oak Grove, and area Elementary Schools.

  53. If the current LHS capacity is 1756 and they add 750 seats, that’s 2500 seat capacity but the enrollment projection for 2022 is 2619? That means LHS would be over enrolled by 119 at the end of this fiasco? That makes no sense.

  54. I want to remind everyone that the community Stan needs to worry about is the entirety of DeKalb County. The BOE is charged with making decisions based on what they believe is best for all the students in the county and not just those in their neighborhoods. While it is natural to discuss possibilities which affect Dunwoody and Lakeside, those discussions should be done in the context of the entire district.
    The administration believes the current plans is the best to address all of the “needs” of the district. Needs in quotes because I disagree with some parts of the project list.

  55. Bill, you wrote:
    “I also find it troubling that the advocacy of a new cluster has been couched both 1 – on simple logistical concerns; 2 -the argument that small schools are inherently better , BUT also 3- what I quite frankly consider some form of socio-economic, cultural, and impact on “our reputation & test scores” discrimination, – or in many cases 4 – a blend of some or all.”
    So you ignore 1) simple logistical concerns and 2) the argument that small schools are inherently better — JUST BECAUSE — some of the folks who point out these concerns might not share your socioeconomic and cultural goals for a school?
    Sheesh! This sounds like folks must agree completely with you or you just ignore their concerns. Surely this isn’t what you mean. Or is it?

  56. Bill Armstrong

    I think I’ve been clear, at this point when Stan posts about redistricting I’d like to hear from the pro new cluster – de facto pro redistricting people on their reasoning – 1-4 or maybe something I have yet to hear or consider.

  57. Update: I have learned that the “New Cross Keys HS” and the “New Brookhaven HS” are the same thing >> A new high school to POSSIBLY be built on the Druid Hills property, where the former Briarcliff HS and former DSA were once housed. The actual location is TBD. I was so confused!

  58. Denise Robinson

    sent via Facebook
    Stan, I appreciate that you regularly share information. However, regarding the potential redistricting, your map with concentric circles is at best not particularly helpful and at worst deliberately misleading. Since there is a 1:1 feeder pattern between Henderson Middle School and Lakeside High School, if you’re assessing distance from schools, it’s equally important to understand and take into account the distance between the elementary schools and Henderson Middle, which would give you a very different picture. Even taking distances to both schools into account does not tell the whole story since there are other factors to consider, including the populations and structuring of the neighboring school districts. So again, thank you for sharing information, but please take care to that you’re sharing a complete picture.

  59. Where are all of these Lakeside students coming from? Are they building lots of homes and apartments in the attendance area? It seems to me that the Lakeside attendance zone has been built out for years. New homes are just replacements of old tear down homes. Kind of the same for Dunwoody – except that there are definitely more apartments/condos being built in their zone. Chamblee too? Brookhaven? I’m just not tracking all of this attendance growth. Do the data reports contain any details about where exactly the students are coming from? I mean, Lakeside has TRIPLED in students in 20 years. It was only about 800 students when we moved there in 1994. And that was 8th-12th.

  60. Dunwoody – new neighborhoods, office buildings, condos apartments are being built all over the place.
    Brookhaven – Since incorporation, there’s new development on every other block.
    Doraville and surrounding areas – As the GM Plant site becomes the next Atlantic station (I’m working on that update), there will be an enormous boom in housing and economic development.

  61. It could be a shift in demographics (young families displacing older ones at a faster than normal rate) or the quality of the public school system is shifting students away from private. These two factors can increase the number of students attending public schools even if the housing density doesn’t change. Just a guess though, I don’t any data to back this up.

  62. Maybe DeKalb is still just too busy stuffing the central office with grossly overpaid ‘staff’ who do not or perhaps cannot plan for the future or focus strictly on education >>
    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – Parents say they have lots of questions after recent hires nearly doubled the DeKalb County School communications department’s budget for salaries and benefits. The new top communications officer makes more than the governor.
    One of the first things Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green did as the new leader of DeKalb Schools was hire the communications director from Green’s previous school district in Kansas City. Eileen Houston-Stewart filled a newly created position in 2016 with a big salary– nearly $175,000 a year. She is one of nine chief officers in the county school system with that salary.
    “I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who has my level of experience,” Houston-Steward told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi about her qualifications for her new role. “An important part is you have people that have expertise in those areas that can carry out the work that is expected, not only by the superintendent, but the board and the community stake holders.”
    Despite her rich background, some parents said it’s not money well spent.
    “She makes more than the governor?” DeKalb parent Sharon Farmer asked about Houston-Stewart’s salary. “I would like to see it spent somewhere else that’s going to benefit the children.”
    (The more things change, the more they stay the same … sigh!)

  63. Now she’s got a heavy dose of self esteem going there. I would love to know what she is bringing new to DCSD with her “level of experience” that will help student achievement. She worked for a much smaller school district prior to coming to ATL. I can’t imagine there aren’t others with more experience – they are just too smart to work for DCSD. Then again, for $175,000 you can put up with a lot (unless you have a conscience and integrity and then it could become a challenge after a while.) They have lots of people in that department – you would think they would have been able to get the word out to non-parent members of the communities that will be affected by all these new additions at each high school with that staff.