The SPLOST V building additions at Lakeside HS (LHS), Chamblee Charter HS (CCHS) and Dunwoody HS (DHS) will be “classroom additions and necessary core space additions and/or parking spaces”. But what does that really mean?
BUILDING ADDITIONS – PROJECT LIST
I met with Joshua Williams, the Chief Operating Officer, and the other board members on Monday. The building additions project includes the following:
* Classroom additions
* Kitchen extension
* Cafeteria extension
* New/extended media center addition
* New parking
Each building addition project has a specific budget. Whatever money is left over from the building additions, will go into the district wide E-SPLOST Contingency Fund. There will absolutely not be any renovations done to other areas of the school with building additions budget unless they are impacted by the original projects.
BUILDING ADDITIONS & FIELD RENOVATIONS – SCHEDULE
In March 2017, the board and administration passed a schedule for all E-SPLOST V projects. That schedule has not changed. At DHS, engineers are looking into the possibility of separating out the field renovations project and doing that early.
|Project||Description||Budget||Anticipated Overall Start Date||Anticipated Construction Start Date||Anticipated Construction Finish Date||Anticipated Overall Finish Date|
|Chamblee HS||30-classroom addition||$21,540,000||Mar. 2017||Nov. 2018||Jul. 2020||Oct. 2020|
|New Cross Keys HS||New 119-classroom high school||$84,800,000||Aug. 2017||Sep. 2019||Sep. 2021||Jun. 2022|
|Lakeside HS||38-classroom addition and synthetic turf installation||$26,990,000||Nov. 2018||Jul. 2020||Mar. 2022||Jun. 2022|
|Dunwoody HS||26-classroom addition and synthetic turf installation||$17,690,000||Feb. 2019||Oct. 2020||Jun. 2022||Sep. 2022|
|Peachtree MS||26-classroom addition||$14,100,000||Oct. 2019||Jun. 2021||Feb. 2023||May. 2023|
NEW CROSS KEYS / BROOKHAVEN HIGH SCHOOL
$85 million was budgeted for a New Cross Keys HS at the former Briarcliff HS site (or cost-neutral alternative site). A majority of the new Cross Keys High School population will live West of I-85 plus students from Sagamore and/or perhaps Oak Grove. The current Briarcliff HS site is East of I-85 on Druid Hills Rd and sits on 17.6 acres.
E-SPLOST V also includes artificial turf installation at 19 high schools. At LHS and DHS, the turf installation will happen at the same time as the building additions.
Stan, is it possible to forgo the artificial turf and make security updates instead at this point?
Or safety improvements? We will be at Lakeside in another year and I don’t see how my kids can safely walk there or get dropped off nearby with all the traffic congestion and dangerous left hand turns out front. There really needs to be an entrance from Briarlake Rd., a pedestrian bridge over the marsh, at least, AND a crosswalk at the entrance across from Woodwardia. I see kids darting across Briarlake or Briarcliff every morning and it looks really dangerous, even with the crossing guard at his post.
On the districts website you are having a Career Fair, and it says that starting salary for certified teachers is 46,571 but on Pat’s it says starting salary is 41,040. It ‘s misleading which is true? Also on the Board Meeting agenda it says that there is 1 principal position available there are 7 posted the website should always reflect was is fact .
Will this new Cross Keys HS be a traditional high school or a comprehensive high school? Will they also be building (hopefully expanding) the vocational part of Cross Keys? (The site of the former High School of Technology North was traded for land to build Dunwoody Elementary and then the HSTN was merged into Cross Keys — which is actually where most of the money came from for the minimal improvements done to Cross Keys High.) If the HSTN is simply dissolved in this new build, that leaves the north end of the county with no vo-tech program whatsoever. The High School of Technology South is a stand-alone program located on Panthersville Road in Decatur.
DeKalb Mom, I discussed School Safety – What’s the Plan?. The school district starting ramping up their safety initiative about last year. I believe SROs are our greatest safety resource. What are your thoughts? What would you like to see?
Hello Rosa. 2017 – 2018 Teacher Salary Schedule – Starting teacher salary is $46,571.
When I think of safety, I am also thinking of kids getting to schools safely, so crosswalk and sidewalk improvements with lights that flash… In front of Oak Grove there are several digital/flashing speed limit signs posted and a light that can be activated when someone is using the crosswalk. And they have 3 or 4 crossing guards. Surely, Lakeside can add some simple improvements like these out front. Additionally, I would like to see a walking entrance from Briarlake and perhaps a drive in entrance/exit from Oak Grove. I don’t want the high schools to feel like jails, but, do support more SRO’s and K9’s and more counseling programs to support mental health. I am not sure what is offered currently since we are still a year or so away from attending. I just think spending millions of dollars on artificial turf, which I think is unnecessary and unhealthy, could be better spent on the safety and wellness of our kids.
This current plan is NOT a good investment. Classrooms and kitchens are only part of the solution to address overcrowding.
FWIW, I ‘think’ the artificial turf was a SPLOST (IV?) promise before the vote — and I ‘think’ SPLOST promises are legally binding. Stan, please correct me if I’m wrong.
As far as safety goes >> there is one thing in common with the schools that have experienced gun violence >> they are all very large-scale high schools where students can get very lost and bullying and social/mental health needs can go unnoticed. I do not believe in this model of high school and I think DeKalb is being very short-sighted in moving toward this model as their only real appeal to parents for decades was that they were smaller, more community-oriented schools located in neighborhoods. If they aim to go large-scale and compete with the likes of Gwinnett and Fulton, as well as high-end private schools, they will lose badly.
NEW CROSS KEYS HS – I believe the Briarcliff site would be better used as a “South Lakeside” campus. It would also serve as a fallback for 1,000 students if Druid Hills HS is annexed by Atlanta Public Schools (APS). Obviously, Brookhaven and Doraville need high schools and clusters … it’s a 10 year plan.
@Stan: At the January CCHS CAC meeting, it was stated that the county could buy the clinic that fronts Chamblee-Dunwoody for its addition. It is my understanding that is what the CAC stated to with Planning Department that they wanted the additional land. There was a “For Sale/Lease” sign in front of the clinic before the Holidays that is no longer there I do believe. Does the 21.5 million dollar figure include land purchases? If not, where would that money come from to buy the property and at what cost?
Granted, I am not for any of the additions but why has the cost risen so much over what was sold to the DCSD taxpayers before the SPLOST vote? Region 1 and Region 2 have not had a new cluster added since 1962.
1) How are the contingency funds managed?
2)How can the public see those funds?
3)How are determinations made for how the contingency money is spent?
4) And my last question, how much money was left in the SPLOST III contingency fund, where did it go, and how much is in the SPLOST IV contingency fund right now?
How can Dekalb justify an addition to a newly built high school (Chamblee High School) that is overcrowded due to Cross Keys overcrowding. The construction will not start on Cross Key until after Chamblee. Simply because the parents are mostly Hispanic, we will overlook them. However, Dekalb love to claim how diverse they are, but fail to serve the diversity.
As I’ve long said, SPLOST monies should be held, accounted for and spent by an outside accounting firm. That is the only way to avoid co-mingling of funds with ordinary school funds (ie: SPLOST-related employees salaries, like the CEO of construction, etc) and to ensure above-board reporting. (Remember – Pat Reid Pope was able to funnel millions into her husband’s architecture firm via DCSD’s internal accounting.)
These schools are overcrowded now. Does the system plan on doing anything to relieve the current overcrowding? I understand it takes time to build, but will they add more trailers at these schools (if space actually exists) or do they just have to deal with the space they currently have while the schools (except Chamblee) wait 4 years for these additions to be complete?
@Upset Dekalb resident >> DeKalb School District is not diverse in the way most of us define diverse as being a mixture of cultures in balance. “Some” schools in DeKalb are diverse in that traditional sense of the word, but these ‘diverse’ schools are not referred to as ‘diverse’ by DCSD leadership and in fact, get criticized for being ‘white schools’ and ‘segregated’ because somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 of the students in those buildings are white. Systemwide, DCSD is only about 11% white in total, so it would be very, very difficult to have a school that is majority white – and in fact, this does not exist in DeKalb. I have concluded that the word ‘diverse’ does not mean a mixture of cultures to DeKalb leaders. So, if a school is considered ‘diverse’ in DeKalb, that pretty much means it is mostly black… Diversity = Black. Just want us all to be on the same page of understanding.
Go to the link below and download the report for DeKalb. Choose All Schools. Then do a search on the word “White”. You will see very few schools with a White count that is at just at half or a tiny bit more of the total. Vanderlyn. Austin. Dunwoody ES. Peachtree Middle. Kittredge. Ashford Park. Oak Grove. The Museum School. Globe Academy. Tapestry Charter. Chamblee MS. All have just about half their student body labeled as “White”. The rest of the students are Asian, Black and Hispanic. What many of us would consider ‘diverse’. But in DeKalb, this is not diverse – this is White. In fact, out of the 100,144 students in DCSD, there are only 11,252 “White” students. 17,917 “Hispanic” students. 61,861 “Black” students. With the rest a mixture of American Indian, Pacific Islander, Asian or two or more races. An interesting report in general. And a useful, factual resource to reference when discussing racial issues in DeKalb.
1 – The $21.0 Million budgeted for the CCHS addition does NOT include purchase of land. That was made clear in DCSD FAQ response from November 2016 that “The feasibility review conducted for each site did not suggest the need to acquire additional land at this time.” Imagine that.
2 – $50 Million is budgeted for Management Support, Debt Service, and Program Contingency for the $561 Million in E-SPLOST-V projects. (http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/e-splost/files/2016/12/Approved-2017-2022-E-SPLOST-Project-List-December-5_-2016.pdf).
This is 8.9% for all 3 of these functions. I haven’t seen any further breakdown to show how much is budgeted for Program Contingency.
For reference, at the March DCSD BOE meeting the Board approved a 9% increase in budget for the rebuild of Pleasantdale Elementary School, because no bid was received that was within DCSD’s budget. The reason was stated as “fluctuating market conditions.”
These were E-SPLOST-IV funds, but isn’t it likely that “fluctuating market conditions” will also affect E-SPLOST-V projects?
Only a 9% cushion for Program Contingency AND Management Support AND Debt Service doesn’t seem like a lot.
Finally, I totally agree with Lynn that these additions are not a good idea for our students. Based on DCSD enrollment projections, these additions will just barely provide enough seats through 2022.
What happens then, when growth in Regions 1 and 2 continues? Existing high schools will be more than maxed out, and having to find close to $100 Million for a new high school will be the only solution. And I don’t see taxpayers or BOE members from other regions falling for that.
It is irresponsible of DeKalb Schools to continue with these large school additions to Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Lakeside given the recent school safety issues and the preponderance of the evidence from a variety of studies that show the link between large schools and violence. Safety and achievement deteriorate in a school with a population over the 1000-1500 size. If DeKalb is interested in the safety and success of our children, they would change course.
The area west and north of I-85, which includes the fastest growing areas in DeKalb, is under served by high schools. The school district should reevaluate their plans and consider developing new high schools and cluster to serve this growing population.
Stan and Cere,
Today’s (March 21, 2018) “Here and Now” program on National Public Radio had a lengthy segment that described in detail the events that led to the legal complaint filed by the Sikh Coalition in 2013. The settlement is described on the Sikh Coalition’s website here:
The podcast of NPR’s “Here and Now” program is here:
It is the “March 21, 2018: Hour 2” program — the Dekalb stuff is the final third of that episode.
After some looking and digging and asking officials questions, it looks like Region 1 will have 4 middle schools SMS, PCMS, CMS and CKMS (what is the CKHS site now). If I am missing something I would love for someone to help me. It looks like 1100 students will leave SMS to go to the new CKMS. That leaves SMS with 400 students based off of the FTE count this past October. So where are the students coming from to fill the empty seats at SMS? Tucker, Henderson?
If we are going to have 4 middle schools , then why can’t we have 4 high schools?
Lynn, DCSD Planning projects that Sequoyah MS will have 2033 students in 2022. (http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/secondary-school-study/secondary-shools-handout-sept-27.pdf).
In 2022, after the grand plan is complete, they are planning for the new Cross Keys MS (MS #4) to have 1450 students while Sequoyah MS will have 933 students. CKMS will be at 97% utilization while Sequoyah MS will be at 75% utilization.
Chamblee MS will be at 99.2% utilization. Peachtree Charter MS will get a 450 seat addition, which will result in 99.5% utilization.
It’s like deja vu all over again. Three of the four Region 1 middle schools will be nearly maxed out, just as all 3 Region 1 high schools will be.
The difference is that capacity for growth remains in one Region 1 middle school. Yup, it’s the one located in Doraville. It’s a pity that there isn’t a Doraville high school for those students to feed into.
FWIW – how did your board rep, Jim McMahon vote? Is he not fighting to build a new high school in the district? Is he supporting these additions? Or is he just going along with the staff in order to get along … and get a paycheck. If so, someone might consider running against him. Same for Marshall in Druid Hills. The time for a board shakeup is now!
Thanks for sharing that DSW2Contributor. I am very proud of this high school senior – he’s been fighting the good fight for years – since middle school! All the metal detectors in the world won’t stop bullying in our schools. We have to teach values and empathy. We have to monitor students more closely. We have to offer better counseling and mental health services. Building enormous schools and then putting them in lock-down like a prison sends a terrible subliminal message. Smaller schools focused on reinforcing values that may or may not be learned at home, community and mutual respect is the only way to combat violence and bullying.
Back in the day, we wrote 3 blog posts on this topic. But we never, ever, ever heard it discussed by the board. And I doubt they will discuss or publish the new anti-bullying policies and programs – OR how much we had to spend on attorneys to work this case. They refuse to admit that bullying goes on in our schools, when sadly, it’s a really big problem.
Cere, Jim McMahan and Melvin Johnson decided not to run again:
Allyson Gevertz is running unopposed for McMahan’s seat. Dijon “Twin” Dacosta and Lance Lawyer Hammonds are running for Johnson’s seat.
Don’t expect much from Gevertz. She bows down to greene and the county at every chance.
Is there any way to stop the building at Chamblee? Lawsuits? County commission interference? It’s ridiculous that they are adding on to a postage stamp sized location. Time to slow down and rethink.
The board passed the project list, but the shovels have not hit the dirt. There are quite a few routes one can take to affect change. The board and administration won’t know how you feel unless you tell them. Emails are one way, but they are forgotten and dismissed quickly. Phone calls are better and talking to people in person is the best way. Don’t just limit it to school leadership. Talk to your county and state reps as well … and talk to them frequently. Sagamore feels strongly about the project plan, but they only showed up to one board meeting. A few people from Lakeside showed up a couple board meetings ago. Nobody showed at the last board meeting.
If you’ll remember, at the December 2016 BOE meeting where the BOE approved all of these additions, many many folks spoke against the plan, begging the BOE to delay just this part of the E-SPLOST-V plan for 3 months.
No one but you supported us. What makes you think that speaking out again will be effective?
I think Lakeside HS folks have the best chance of getting things changed, and I still don’t hold out much hope.
Dunwoody constituents seem fine and dandy with having classrooms, cafeteria, kitchen, and media center designed for 2100 students but fine arts, engineering spaces, and other core spaces designed for a much smaller population. The neighbors don’t have any opposition to increased bus and teenage driver traffic either.
Chamblee constituents who oppose a 600 seat addition are relentlessly accused of being racially motivated. Apparently any students districted to Chamblee should rejoice, regardless of the obvious shortcomings in academic and athletic facilities in the proposed plan.
And I still don’t understand why Cross Keys HS has to move from its 26 acre campus. It would be easier to locate a 1500 seat middle school at the Briarcliff site than to have a 2500 seat high school there. Especially given the fact, as Stan states, that the high school will be across I-85 from most of its students. Middle school students don’t drive, cutting down the parking requirements as well as the traffic issue.
Is Clarkston HS still getting the 650 seat expansion even though enrollment at Stone Mtn HS (~3 miles away) and Redan HS (~5 miles away) are about 650+ under capacity?
Hello Thai. Good question. I asked the same thing. Joshua Williams said they didn’t want to create split feeders.
A few hours ago, “The Champion” published an article about the Panther filled trailer park in Doraville and how it will be replaced with a new 900-seat elementary school:
Check out the pictures — nothing says “Welcome to Dekalb Schools” like having trailers up on blocks at the front entrance of a school.