Trailers at Cross Keys High School

The trailers have been placed at Cross Keys for a renovation project. They are not there due to enrollment/capacity issues.
E-SPLOST V includes approximately $300 million for “New Facilities and Additions” to address capacity needs across the district. The administration proposed large additions to the overcrowded high schools of Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Lakeside, even though these schools are already on postage stamp sized campuses. Cross Keys will receive a new high school.
The administration is pursuing a strategy to equally distribute the immigrant population, clustered around the Buford Corridor, to Chamblee, Dunwoody, Lakeside and Cross Keys. Once Cross keys is rebuilt on its new site and the new high school is built, the administration plans to redistrict from the Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Lakeside feeder schools to Cross Keys to more evenly balance the immigrant population. The Board of Education approved this approach. I was the only opposing vote. With the development that continues to occur in the Perimeter region, I remain convinced that a new Doraville area high school needs to be built rather than shoving more students on small campuses.
In accordance with the E-SPLOST V Project Listing and Sequencing, Phase I includes the conversion of the current Cross Keys High School (CKHS) to a middle school. This conversion is estimated to be completed sometime in 2020 and cost $10 million. A new Cross Keys/Brookhaven High School is expected to be built by 2021 and cost $85 million.
The Role of the City and County Governments
The school district is immune from zoning laws created in the jurisdictions in which it operates. The school district is not immune from all other laws of the jurisdiction, such as building codes and other development requirements. The question of how different governmental entities operating within one jurisdiction with respect to zoning and all other ordinances became settled law, or stare decisis, with the rulings for two court cases.
City of Atlanta and Decatur Enforce Codes
The City of Atlanta and Decatur enforce codes and protect the interests of its citizens.  Just recently, the Decatur School District went to the City of Decatur council to REQUEST PERMISSION to add trailers to one of their schools inside the city limits of Decatur. All school trailers in Decatur must be approved by the city council before installation. Before the City of Decatur council would approve the trailers, they wanted to know:

  • Whether the proposed use is suitable in view of the use and development of adjacent and nearby property.
  • Whether the proposed use adversely affects the existing use or usability of adjacent or nearby property.
  • Whether the proposed use results in a use which will or could cause an excessive or burdensome use of existing streets, transportation facilities, utilities or other public facilities.
  • Whether there is adequate ingress and egress to the subject property, including evaluation of the traffic impact of the proposed use relative to street capacity and safety of public streets and nearby pedestrian uses.
  • Whether there are other existing or changing conditions which, because of their impact on the public health, safety, morality and general welfare of the community, give supporting grounds for either approval or disapproval of the proposed use.

Marshall Orson is the District 2 representative on the Board of Education. His district includes Cross Keys High School.

Marshall Orson

Marshall Orson
DeKalb Schools Board of Education

Addressing the overcrowding issue in the Cross Keys cluster is one of our highest priorities given the failure of previous boards and administrations to do so. Given these circumstances, we will be building a new high school for the cluster (in addition to two new elementary schools and renovations of other schools including the current Cross Keys High School which will become a middle school). We are searching diligently for a suitable property in order to build this school as quickly (and prudently) as possible.
The Administration can address the logistics issues raised [in Rebekah’s comments]. In an urban setting, space is frequently a challenge and other schools face similar issues (e.g. Due to space constraints, many athletes at Druid Hills High School travel to Druid Hills Middle School for practices and/or matches). We are committed to providing comparable opportunities for all students and continue to work to address circumstances where there are obstacles to doing so.
Marshall Orson


Related Posts

Enforcing Zoning, Building, and Other Ordinances
May 3, 2017 – What authority does a city or county have in enforcing its zoning, building, and other ordinances with respect to temporary and permanent building on school property? This question with respect to zoning and all other ordinances became settled law with the rulings on two court cases.


DeKalb E-SPLOST V Project Schedule
March 20, 2017 – On Monday the DeKalb Board of Education will vote on E-SPLOST V project scheduling and associated cash flow sequencing including details of the projects, budgets, and anticipated start and finish dates.

40 responses to “Trailers at Cross Keys High School

  1. I got the same response from Marshall when I emailed the board also. I don’t understand, how can you be worried about converting CKHS now to a middle school, when the new HS has not even been built. Isn’t that putting the “cart before the horse”?
    I know that CKHS is overcrowded but denying them proper athletic space is not acceptable. This would not have happened at any other HS in DCSD. I am wondering if many of us would not have brought this to the attention of the board and friends on Facebook, would this situation have been ignored by the county?
    Thank you so much for what you do for the students in DCSD.

  2. The conversion to a middle school is scheduled to be completed in 2020. The new Brookhaven HS is scheduled to be completed in 2021. I’m guessing the converted middle school will be used as a high school until the new one is completed.
    What’s the alternative? They could redistrict and send students, teachers and trailers to the surrounding high schools. Then redistrict again in 3 years. I’m also not sure how cutting down the CKHS population would affect the ecosystem there. They may not be able to put together some of the classes they have now.

  3. Just to be clear. The trailers in this picture are not in use. They are waiting to be put together into quad trailers.

  4. Don McChesney

    Stan you are exactly right. Redistricting is the proper thing to do. It is the most responsible way to address the cost to taxpayers. Demolishing Briarcliff and not putting it back in play is totally irresponsible by the BOE. Board members make all decisions based on getting re elected. You guys won’t redistrict because you might make a parent angry. I call that shirking responsibility. If Mr Orson is speaking you better check it out. He usually has several stories going so as to cover himself. Just like he pushed annexation in Druid Hills.

  5. David Edwards

    Ms. Morris,
    Stop picking on Cross Keys. Everyone knows you were slated to be transferred from there, but your fear of the unknown (where you would be transferred), prompted you to quit. The papers showed us parents that you had some of the lowest English Language Arts test scores. We know that all you talked about (Buford Highway) had absolutely nothing to do with the Georgia Milestones. You sat at your desk on the computer endlessly. We know what you were doing, and it is wrong. Now here you go “retaliating” against us. I am hearing there are teachers using other teachers classrooms for their classes. I think that is called “over-crowded.” Get off the fake band wagon. This is all by design – personal gain. Please stop!

  6. Tim DeBardelaben

    Marshall Orson, why say overcrowding in Cross Keys cluster the highest priority? Two years ago Michael Thurmond proposed reusing Briarcliff to relieve the overcrowding. Since then what has BOE done? First you shipped Elementary Students from the Cross Keys Cluster to fill Fernbank E.S. This is because you fought for a new 900 seat school that obviously was not needed. The other thing you did was reuse the old Kittredge E.S. that you have personally told me was no longer usable as a school. Guess I was right when I said it was usable. You as the Chairman of the committee to select a name for this school chose to not follow DCSD rules on selecting name. No public feedback and not enough people on the committee to name two of the rules you broke. You say that you are looking for suitable space to open a new High School in Brookhaven. Even though you have the old Briarcliff site. If you are not planning on using that site, why are you spending over $800,000.00 to demolish it? Are you using ESPLOST money for demolition? Thought ESPLOST was for capital improvements? You are getting your way Emory will be annexed and then there will be pushed to be annexed with Woodland Hills and Fernbank to follow. Then you will get your way and DCSD will lose Druid Hills H.S. Fernbank E.S and Briar Vista E.S. Now you want to build a new High School in Brookhaven. Even though you know that Brookhaven is lobbying to have their own school system. So your leadership may cost DCSD 4 schools . Where was your concern for the overcrowding 10 years ago? If not for Kim Golce and his campaign this would never been brought to public attention Yo never brought it up at any meeting. You are only interested in representing and taking care of the influential areas of your district. Wonder what is in this for you?

  7. Is t this type of rezoning (based on race/etnicity) against BOE policy? And illegal.

  8. It doesn’t seem to be congruent with policy. The administration will claim it’s what the people asked for in the Secondary Schools Feasibility Study. Is it illegal? I don’t know, you would have to consult an attorney.

  9. Stan,
    Surely DCSD Operations gave the Cross Keys principal suitable advance notice that the trailers would be placed.
    Surely DCSD Athletics made appropriate arrangements to ensure that Cross Keys athletes and PE students would not be at a disadvantage for 3 years.
    I would love to read a statement from the Cross Keys principal that this is true. But I certainly won’t hold my breath!
    But seriously, if would be very interesting if you could report on how and when the arrangements were made to replace Cross Keys’ athletic fields with a trailer park.

  10. chamblee getting screwed

    What an utter load of crap from Morris and Orson. This is a flawed proposition – my kid at Chamblee has over 40 students in some of the class. 40! And now we are going to spread out the Cross Keys kids into all the other schools? So now my kid will have 50 people in their class?
    I bought my house where I bought it and one of the reason was the schools. I did not buy in Doraville or East Chamblee or Brookhaven for the same reason. Build a new Doraville and let’s stop this charade!!!

  11. chamblee getting screwed

    And CD, you are absolutely right! It is illegal. It is based on race. The easy play here is a new Doraville High. But you have the Uber left that is hell bent on social engineering this entire thing. They are going to impact every Kid in the entire district so we can equate the races. It’s insane and it’s illegal. Chamblee is now bursting at the seams because we took 300 from Cross Keys. And we have classes of 40+. Enjoy that high ranking for no Chamblee – it’s about to take a tumble. Thanks DeKalb!

  12. Busing, according to Wikipedia, is the practice of assigning and transporting students to schools in such a manner as to redress prior racial segregation of schools, or to overcome the effects of residential segregation on local school demographics. It’s a philosophy the board and administration are employing here. I’ve never seen forced busing work, so I’m not sure why anybody believes it will work here.

  13. David Edwards

    My family and I just walked passed the trailers at Cross Keys. The gentleman on the field working said they have not been assembled yet, and that the school would still have access to the field. Ms. Rebekah “Mother Teresa” Morris should “fact check” before she gets her “candid camera” out, and reports erroneous information. Check things out thoroughly. You are such the martyr, the poster child for CKHS yet when my daughter’s friend, who was in your class at CKHS asked you why she received a low mark you responded, “Because you are black, ha, ha I’m just kidding.” Where are the blogs about that??? Those that live in glass houses, should not throw stones. Your own community has no idea who you really are. You left CKHS, why won’t you leave them alone. They care nothing about you, and the administrators were afraid of you. That is how you got away with the things you did, oh and the board members and Kim you are close to as well.

  14. chamblee getting screwed

    Rebekah Morris also called the entire student body at Chamblee racist. Just sayin..

  15. David Edwards

    Have you actually “met” the principal at CKHS. I have sent him several emails, to which he does not respond. I don’t know who hired him, but he clearly has no clue. He often seems confused on what to say and do. Every time you ask him something he says, “Put a pin in that.” Someone has got to be doing his work for him because there is NO way you can tell me he is doing it himself. I removed my daughter from that school because he is afraid of the caucasian teachers and will bend over backwards to accommodate them. That type of mess should not be tolerated. Anonymous, you are wise not to await a response from him. All he is going to say is, “Put a pin in it,” scratch his head and butcher every command of the English language. He probably won’t respond at all. Where can I sign up for a principal position in DeKalb County? Oops, I forgot; I don’t know the right people. Maybe Rebekah can help me….Uh oh, she was going to be transferred….oh well…….Maybe Kim Gocke can help me!!! Right on, Anonymous!!

  16. Hi Guys — really my main concern is having a bunch of trailers put at a school when it seems to be years before the new school is slated to be completed.
    I’ve spoken with district officials, and I remain perplexed as to the rationale for placing the trailers here years before construction is set to begin. We have already redistricted some students to Chamblee, and my main point is that I believe we should’ve redistricted a larger portion of students in order to more adequately balance the number of students at each school, to more adequately balance the challenges that comes with overcrowding (i.e. common spaces, athletics fields). My recent frustration has not been because of a desire to “balance the racial composition” of the schools, but to raise concern regarding the seemingly poor decisions made to drop a bunch of trailers in the middle of the one outdoor area at Cross Keys HS.
    David Edwards, I’m confused about how I’m “retaliating” or “picking on” Cross Keys. I don’t really want to get into a debate that will most likely be unproductive, but if you are interested in facts, you can see that: my student scores were higher than most of my peers at Cross Keys, even though I taught classes that comprised many students with IEPs (2 out of my 3 classes were co-taught); my contract was renewed with DeKalb County; my teacher evaluations were consistently 3s and 4s; the district had me present my teaching methods (including the integration of local community issues into the curriculum) the past two summers; I got a job offer from my former high school principal in Gwinnett (and at another high school in Gwinnett); I got job offers from other schools in the county and other prestigious private schools in DeKalb and Atlanta.
    So I can assure you that the issues that I may have experienced in DeKalb County School District were not related to the quality of my teaching.

  17. Laura McEwen

    “The administration is pursuing a strategy to equally distribute the immigrant population, clustered around the Buford Corridor, to Chamblee, Dunwoody, Lakeside and Cross Keys. Once Cross keys is rebuilt on its new site and the new high school is built, the administration plans to redistrict from the Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Lakeside feeder schools to Cross Keys to more evenly balance the immigrant population. ”
    Is this an actual defined reason from the BOE? I don’t recall every hearing “immigration status” was a reason for redistricting during the process. Sounds like conjecture and riling folks up talk to me…

  18. “David Edwards”, I don’t really think you should engage in this discussion about trailers on Cross Keys since you are not even interested in addressing this issue.
    Instead, you are blatantly lying about me and slandering me. You’re maligning your own principal. I’m also sure that your name is not David Edwards. If you want to make such damaging and false claims about a person, you should (and should’ve filed your complaints with the district.

  19. This and That

    Just curious. Does anyone know the time line to demolish Briarcliff High? I know a lot of BHS alumni would be interested to know the date. So many memories! Thanks so much!

  20. Demolition of Old Briarcliff High – This is all I know:
    June 6, 2011 – The Board of Education approved a joint resolution of E-SPLOST IV for $496 million in projects, including the demolition services for the Old Briarcliff High School.
    November 3, 2016 – A formal Request for sealed Bids was issued
    March 20, 2017 – Complete Demolition Services, Inc. was awarded a lump sum construction contract for demolition services.

  21. Laura,
    It isn’t conjecture. In fact the administration already has their sites set on Sagamore Hills Elementary and/or Oak Grove for being moved to the new Cross keys. They are going to move a community out of Lakeside, from a school they could walk to, to Cross Keys, somewhere in Brookhaven. This was well documented in the public discussions the school district had. The next step will be to move some white children out of Dunwoody and possibly Montgomery too. This whole plan was to appease a group that threatened to sue the school district because of the concentrations of Latino students. Funny thing is Latino students do much better academically at Cross Keys then they do at Dunwoody. Another funny thing is that the Buford Hwy area is rapidly changing. By the time the new schools are built, the demographics will have shifted. The hypocrisy of the Superintendent pursuing this is also fascinating. What about the 20 high schools with 99% black students and have lower achievement levels than Cross Keys? Why don’t you focus on improving that rather than screwing up the schools that are functioning well right now?

  22. .
    Policy AD – The number one primary criteria for attendance areas is Geographic Proximity. There is no policy for diversity.

    Primary Criteria
    1. Geographic Proximity
    2. Instructional Capacity
    3. Projected Enrollment
    Secondary Criteria
    1. Safety and Traffic Patterns
    2. Previous Redistricting
    3. Balancing of Special Programs
    4. School Feeder Alignment
    5. Intact Neighborhoods

    Cross Keys 2.0
    Avoiding Cross Keys 2.0 was a common theme. One of the main goals of breaking up the Doraville area and current Cross Keys cluster seems to be motivated by race and socio economics.
    Many people and some foundations recommended divvying up the elementary schools in the Doraville area and Cross Keys cluster, which are heavily populated by hispanics and english language learners, and spreading them across all the various clusters in North DeKalb.
    Assigning and transporting students to schools in such a manner as to overcome the effects of residential segregation on local school demographics is called busing.

  23. David Edwards

    Ms. Morris,
    I hand picked my family member’s teachers for the 2017 – 2018 based on the teacher’s test scores. You, my dear, had a “less than” 35% pass rate in this past year’s Milestone scores (9th-grade literature). How is that slander? And I notice you did not address the comment you made to a child at CKHS or Anonymous’ statement about what you said to/ about students at Chamblee. Plus, you let the other teacher in your room teach your class while you sent endless emails. I belong to the community. You sent so many emails to the community during school time that my wife questioned when you actually taught!!!! Ms. Morris, you got the right one. Was your contract renewed for CKHS – yes or no??? That is public knowledge. You left Gwinnett and came to DeKalb!! Wonder why??? Then you re-applied for Gwinnett…. Why not go where Dekalb was sending you??? I digress….. I did not slander you. You are not the “Polly Purebred” you claim to be. I’m glad you applied at your old school district, and even more elated you were non-renewed for CKHS. That my dear is NOT slander. Check mate.

  24. Mr. Edwards,
    Let’s stay on topic please. If you would like to engage Ms Morris regarding her performance, please email her at

  25. Why is the BOE not “busing” to move students toward the empty seats that are already available, as in available today? Yet they are willing to do it in Regions 1 & 2. I believe the population at Lakeside HS is the highest. A possible solution rather than waiting for all these buildings and additions is to start shifting students. By the time the CK cluster schools are built, it will be a ridiculous proposal to
    Bus students across I-85. Oh right, it already is.

  26. chamblee getting screwed

    They were bullied! The foundations were bullied into submission by a few activists, specifically the head of a “Cross keys foundation” that would accuse schools and individuals of being “racists” if they were against a new Doraville high school. That we were trying to keep those people in their place. In DeKalb county this worked splendidly. Brilliantly played by the Cross Keys activists. Once the “racist” card was played, only but a few Brave schools and foundations stuck to their guns. It was a total con job!

  27. David Edwards

    #crickets – I rest my case. But other got off-topic, but ok….I see what is going on…….Not surprised.

  28. I don’t think the Superintendent was bullied. The administration knew what it wanted to do and had conceptual plans for the building additions drawn up long before they asked the public. The way I see it, the administration used the activists as a way to say “See, this is what the public wants.”
    Before results were manipulated, every survey, poll and count was always roughly 70% for the Doraville high school. After conversations with various administrators, board members and “activists”, it’s the only thing that adds up.

  29. Tim DeBardelaben

    If they’re no plans for Briarcliff property….why is DCSD spending over $800,000.00 to demolish the building? If the plans are to sell off the land….why devalue the property by demolition of the building? Where is the money coming from. ESPLOST is suppose to be for Capital Improvements. Obviously demolition is not an improvement unless you replace it with something. Why is DCSD above zoning laws of the county? Know during fight to keep grass cut I checked with State Board of Education and they said they could not force School Systems to follow the local laws but they always recommend that local systems do follow local laws. By what authority does DCSD get a pass. Thought your wife had finally convinced them that they are not above the law. Stan I am sure you want answer mu questions but I know several hundred people that would like some real answers. Please don’t quote the survey to me…We both know that is as bogus Ss Marshall Orson naming the John Lewis school.

  30. Plans for Briarcliff2017-2022 E-SPLOST PROJECT LIST – Build a new Cross Keys HS at Briarcliff site (or cost-neutral alternative site): $84.8M
    That means build a new high school at the Briarcliff site or sell it and build a new high school somewhere else.
    Demolition – Demolition is considered capital improvement. I believe it is coming from E-SPLOST IV funds.
    Zoning Law – Governments are exempt from the rules of zoning so long as the property is used for their governmental purposes. This was settled in Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning vs. Bibb County School District
    Cut Grass – That doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the State DOE. That would fall under the purview of the city, county or HOA.
    Are they convinced? – Not yet. Dunwoody City Council refers to the school district as a Sovereign Government and claims there isn’t a single law, rule or code (aside from land disturbance) they can enforce. The City of Dunwoody has an agreement with the school district that says the school district will inspect themselves.

  31. Tim DeBardelaben

    Stan thank you for answering some of the questions I had. Last Friday night I asked you how the parking was at Adams Stadium. The reason I asked this is because of the 100+ cars that usually park at Briarcliff. If you sell off property, where do you plan on adding parking space? Still want to know why spend $800,000.00 to devalue the property before DCSD sells it off. The property is zoned residential. So unless you are planning on rezoning the property you will not get top dollar for the property. Noise and people parking on street is not very conducive to high dollar neighborhood. Think somebody should stick to school business and not get into development business. Makes a person think of Pat Pope and how much money she thought she could make off Briarcliff the first time DCSD tried selling the property…..Who’s making the money this time?

  32. Chad Peterson

    Where do you go to find test score data on individual teachers within the district?

  33. I doubt the school district makes that data readily available. This brings up an interesting issue. Should teacher test scores be available to the public? Obviously, student scores are not. I wouldn’t be surprised if the school district pushed back against releasing specific teacher data.
    Knox Phillips ( – ) is the Executive Director of Assessments and Accountability
    You could ask your Principal, Regional Superintendent or Knox Phillips for the data. You could also ORR (Open Records Request) it. Not sure if the district will throw up legal road blocks or not.

  34. This message is from Sherry L. Johnson, Ed. S., Interim Region I Superintendent

    While students have been utilizing the half of the field that is not occupied with trailers, practice will officially move to the baseball field tomorrow to allow for more space. Additionally, our Operations Division is currently coordinating a shift in the arrangement of the trailers to make the entire field available for students; this is scheduled to be completed within the next two weeks. Lastly, the 10 trailers will be condensed into two quads, freeing even more space for students. Thank you for your support.
    Sherry L. Johnson, Ed. S.
    Interim Region I Superintendent
  35. Dear Stan,
    That’s a nice message from Ms. Johnson, although I wonder how 10 trailers can be made into two sets of four trailers. And isn’t it nice that DCSD is “freeing even more space for students,” when DCSD took the space away in the first place!
    FURTHER, wouldn’t it have been so much better for this message to be sent to the community BEFORE the trailers arrived?
    Sending it now just confirms that how the community is impacted is an after-thought to many DCSD decisions. The community isn’t consulted about changes, and only gets explanations if someone is brave enough to expose a poor decision.
    This isn’t how well managed organizations do things.

  36. That is the view from my home every day. Plus the last trailer added two weeks ago. That’s ten in two groups of five already set up and ten in the field just hanging out as pictured. It wasn’t like this in years past in DeKalb, but now DeKalb County School System, DeKalb County Government and now Brookhaven city government are just a bunch of liars and crooks having their way with hard earned taxpayer dollars. Stan, how about a School tax exemption for sheer incompetence?
    Plus, the school system has NEVER lived up to maintaining the school property below the field across the street where the homeless lived as they committed to a few years back.
    As to the CKHS principal, he should be graded FIRED based on his ability to communicate with his neighboring property owners.
    Everyone reading this thread does know that people that can and would normally send their children to public schools are NOT moving to DeKalb County, right?

  37. @Darryl, I sympathize with you. I think DCSD does a lousy job communicating big changes at its schools that affect nearby residents. If those nearby residents don’t have children in the schools and aren’t tuned in to DCSD plans, they can be blindsided by temporary issues during a major construction project as well as the permanent results of new construction, such as increased traffic.
    But I think that DCSD is intentional in ignoring nearby residents. Better to keep them in the dark, so that when they do protest, it’s “too late in the project” to make changes to minimize negative impacts to neighbors.
    I also wouldn’t be too harsh about the Cross Keys HS principal not communicating with neighboring property owners. DCSD might retaliate if he did so. A whole lot of our tax dollars go the the DCSD Communications Division. They are the ones who should communicate with the greater community.

  38. Tim DeBardelaben

    Stan, do you agree with Marshall Orson’s statement about Cross Keys Cluster being one of.DCSD highest priorities. If you do will you please explain to me why first project is demolition of Briarcliff H.S.? I would think that demolition of old Skyland E.S would be and building the new 900 seat John Lewis E.S would be “Highest Priority” Which gives relief to Cross Keys Cluster would be higher priority than demolition of building that you have no plans for property. Can you please explain the priority process?

  39. Chad Peterson

    The demolition of Skyland ES is being done by the City of Brookhaven. That project started July 24 with 2 weeks of asbestos removal. I haven’t walked by to see if it is actually been taken down yet. But the Lewis ES is on the adjacent property and they had fencing for that construction up but have not begun. I think Mr. Olson considers that project underway.

  40. Tim DeBardelaben

    I stand corrected.