City of Brookhaven Not a Fan of Briarcliff HS Site

The Brookhaven City Council is not a fan of the school district’s current plans for the new Cross Keys Brookhaven High School.

The DeKalb County Board of Education voted to build the new Cross Keys Brookhaven HS at the former Briarcliff HS site which is East of 85 and not in Brookhaven.


The City of Brookhaven council passed this resolution at their most recent meeting.

A RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF EFFORTS TO RETAIN A DEKALB COUNTY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL IN THE CITY OF BROOKHAVEN.

WHEREAS, the Board of Education (BOE) recently announced the location for a new high school in the Cross Keys cluster outside the City of Brookhaven limits, and

WHEREAS, the BOE decision will result in the closing of the historic Cross Keys High School and leave the City of Brookhaven without a public high school, and

WHEREAS, the City of Brookhaven comprises more than 52,000 residents and requires the public high school option, and

WHEREAS, the current Cross Keys High School serves a large population of minority and at-risk students living along Buford Highway, and

WHEREAS, Buford Highway is the home of families and businesses that support Cross Keys Cluster students, and

WHEREAS, the BOE preferred location of the new high school is separated from the community it serves by I-85, and

WHEREAS, the City of Brookhaven has made improving the quality of life of Buford Highway residents a top priority, and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and City Council believe there are strategies and tools to collaborate with the BOE to construct a new Brookhaven High School along the Buford Highway corridor.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council and Mayor of the City of Brookhaven respectfully request the DeKalb County Board of Education reconsider its decision to close the only public high school in the City of Brookhaven, and

IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and City Council direct the City Manager to engage the DeKalb County School Superintendent to begin a dialogue to collaborate on the construction of a new Brookhaven High School along Buford Highway, and

IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and City Council requests the Brookhaven Development Authority to assess any and all available tools to assist in efforts to retain a public high school within the City of Brookhaven.

This Resolution shall be effective immediately upon its adoption.

SO RESOLVED AND EFFECTIVE, this the 24th day of April 2018.

55 responses to “City of Brookhaven Not a Fan of Briarcliff HS Site

  1. Dianne Medlock Joy

    Good for The Brookhaven Council. I wrote all of the BOE members, too. It has never made sense to put Cross Keys on the other side of I-85. I went to BHS but that property needs to used other ways–not for a high school that is so separated by the majority of students that will go there.

  2. Interesting. Perhaps the Mayor should have listened a little more carefully when others were trying to enlighten him on how things in DCSD actually work. He was under the impression he would get a bright shiny new schoolnamed “Brookhaven “ and his own neighborhood would be redistricted to that school. Time to “pop the popcorn!”

  3. IMO, the North DeKalb region would be better off with the Briarcliff property sold to one of the healthcare entities in town and the high school built west of I-85. Doing that would be the most beneficial for the area and create a more attractive area to live and work. It would also led to the highest property values that would allow us to best fund the education of the children of DeKalb County.

    The value of Buford Highway properties seems really out of line with the Briarcliff property. I don’t see how the BOE makes it work at those values. Maybe we should take a pause and explore other opportunities. I’m not sure what the city council can do here, but interested to see what they come up with.

    Affordable housing is old housing. The issue of affordable housing on Buford Highway is going to be difficult. The property isn’t worth $55m as affordable housing, so its getting developed one way or the other.

  4. As a Brookhaven resident I am very disappointed with the City Council. Where have they been since this decision was approved by the BOE in December 2016? If they thought the new school should be located within Brookhaven city limits then they should have been partnering with DCSD all along.

    And where does it say that DCSD is obligated to locate a school within a certain city?

    This doesn’t mean that I agree with the decision to move Cross Keys High School to the Briarcliff location. I think the whole plan for Region 1 is a disaster.

    But the timing of the Brookhaven resolution, plus the specific instruction that the new school should be on a particular street, makes the city look like an amateur.

    But who knows, maybe this will change things. Maybe the City of Brookhaven can find 25-30 acres along Buford Highway that is priced reasonably and doesn’t displace students. If they do, then that will make DCSD look like amateurs.

    I only hope Brookhaven pays more attention to education for all of its students. Brookhaven residents are served by the Chamblee cluster as well as the Cross Keys cluster. Let’s hope they stay engaged for the long haul, and not just when shiny new buildings are in play.

  5. Enough is correct – Ernst went for the Dekalb “bill of goods” like a lot of folks out there and look where it got him. What people don’t realize is that the school doesn’t give two hoots about city limits and cities. This is a county school system. Cities are irrelevant in their eyes. It’s maybe why the city of Brookhaven should have put their energies into creating and lobbying for a city school system instead of the disaster that is Brookhaven Innovation Academy, which is now a failing school that isn’t ever going to be located in the city limits of Brookhaven. The mayor and the city council got played by Dekalb County Schools. Can’t say I’m surprised.

  6. Still don’t understand why all the property north of Clairmont wasn’t considered. The property that used to be Jim Hearn Golf, etc. I think that is technically Chamblee, but lots of empty space near airport.

  7. Delighted the City of Brookhaven has common sense. The proposed location of the Cross Keys high school is a ludicrous location. Not only will Brookhaven children have to cross I_85 to get to their school but the traffic in that area is already nightmarish. Then the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta is going up right in that area too. The buses will be late, kids will miss their classes and communities won’t get to go to school…in their community.
    Keep talking, Brookhaven! Let us know how we can help you.

  8. Bill of goods? Seems to me Brookhaven has gotten a really good deal out of its dealings with DCSD. And the beneficiaries have been the children living along Buford Highway and the rest of the Brookhaven community. We got an old building demolitioned, a new park, $30m investment in an elementary school near where the kids actually live, a say in what happens to the property at APES if DCSD ever decides to retire the building, and $2.5m left over to buy greenspace.

  9. Uh Chad…Educate yourself. Brookhaven got rolled over by DCSD in this Cross Keys thing. Both the city and APES were promised a shiny new high school called Brookhaven High School. It was going to be state of the art. They effectively got APES to support this initiative, and APES agreed that they would likely “redistrict” into this high school. The expectation was that this would be in the city and remain a community school that the APES people would go to. Heck, even the mayor, who lives on the MES/APES line just in MES territory, saw this as great for Brookhaven and likely also for him personally. They got sold a bill of goods. If you can’t see that…

  10. Anonymous, The City of Brookhaven has been working closely for quite some time with the school district on this.

    RunAmok, Why do you say the school district wasn’t considering anything North of Clairmont?

  11. There’s a lot of underdeveloped property up there north of Clairmont. You’re telling me that they couldn’t have purchased that?

  12. Underdeveloped property North of Clairmont … yes. Everything was on the table. The City of Brookhaven insist there were properties in Brookhaven that were big enough for a high school and would have been the same price as the Briarcliff site (cost neutral). The school district insists there were no properties like that.

    It is challenging to get developers to publicly disclose what they are willing to sell their property for.

  13. Briarcliff is CongestedAndCommercial

    School sites should never be in commercial, congested areas according to Georgia’s regulations, and should always be sited where the student population is located. The Briarcliff school site is across the street from Target and is in a huge commercial zone in the city. The traffic is beyond congested. The following are Guidelines for Educational Facility Site Selection for the GaDOE 160-5-4-.16 (a) 6. “The site should provide convenient accessibility, be supportive to an efficient transportation system.. and be appropriately located with respect to other schools and the population to be served… Whenever possible, the selection of an educational facility site in an area zoned for commercial or industrial development should be avoided…. The location of a site should be acceptable to the school patronage community from the standpoint of general environmental surroundings and vehicular accessibility.” https://www.gadoe.org/Finance-and-Business-Operations/Facilities-Services/Documents/6.%20Guideline%20for%20Educational%20Facility%20Site%20Selection%20051012.pdf

  14. @Briarcliff is Congested And Commercial,
    Thanks for bringing up the Georgia DOE guidelines. But I’m not sure they are worth the paper they are printed on, or the pixels they take up on your screen.

    As a wise man once said, “local control is alive and well in Georgia.” Districts can waive just about any Georgia DOE requirement that they wish, and boy does DCSD do it!

    For example, DCSD will build a new Smoke Rise Elementary School in an industrial area that is about 1,900 feet from LPS Laboratories, which is “heavy industrial with bulk hazardous materials storage, handling and manufacturing.” (https://www.myajc.com/news/local-education/new-dekalb-school-near-hazardous-materials-worries-fire-marshal/6zYBSmNBrOPD7tBoUnRvBK/)

    Georgia DOE recommends that high school campuses be 20 acres + 1 acre/100 students. Using this standard, the new 2500 seat Cross Keys HS would need 45 acres, not the 21 acres at the Briarcliff site.

    Chamblee Charter HS, at 2410 students, should be 44 acres, not the 21 acres that it has. Lakeside HS, at 2506 students, should be 45 acres, not the 33 acres that it has. Dunwoody HS, at 2093 students, should be 40 acres, not the 29 acres that it has.

    Now I understand that in urban areas, new schools can be cleverly designed for smaller spaces, and these guidelines are excessive. But DCSD has decided that 3 of its 4 first attempts at mega-high schools should be through additions to already undersized campuses. That doesn’t sound wise to me.

    Because districts can waive almost any requirement they wish, parents, teachers, and community members can no longer rely on any limits to protect their interests.

    That’s why trust and transparency in District officials and BOE members is so crucial, since they have almost complete freedom to spend our money and educate our children.

  15. Briarcliff is CongestedAndCommercial

    I say the DOT should refuse the school site because the road improvements will be ultra-expensive and impossible, and it will block the flow of traffic. Or the Land Department should block this site from ever being used as a school, because it is in a commercial area. Do other government departments have the ability to say “NO” when a ROUGE school board does whatever it wants despite everyone’s opinion or sensibilities?

    No one wants this site used as a high school. Briarcliff residents don’t want it there because of the extra traffic. Sagamore parents don’t want it there because they are happy at Lakeside. Brookhaven kids don’t want to drive across 85 every morning outside their area. This thoughtless decision needs to be blocked by another government department!!

  16. We have representatives on the state board of education. Email or call them and ask them about enforcing the laws and guidelines.

  17. All the while Chamblee HS is first on the block with the addition construction. Once that starts, the Region I plan is full steam ahead.

  18. RunAmok, DCSD released their appraisals and the values. It’s not cost neutral. That was clearly apart of Option A. With the appraisals, eminent domain becomes a mute point. Cost is the driver. I expect the BOE to make a good faith effort to find a cost neutral site or at least remotely cost neutral. My point stands, Brookhaven has done good by the BOE and the real estate prices being completely ridiculous doesn’t change that. I hope the city council can help with the issue, but nobody made any agreement to begin with, but they surely didn’t make an agreement that involved a blank check.

    It’s also the case, that to invest $100m in a high school, then it would be a lot better to get buy-in on it from somebody. Especially with the amount of redistricting involved. Los Vecinos seems to be the only entity currently with any buy-in.

  19. Chad, Where are the appraisals?

  20. Many suspect the Briarcliff HS bldg. is full of asbestos which accounts for the huge cost of tenting the entire bldg. for safe destruction. Is this true and is the cost projected to be $85 million?

  21. https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2018/04/23/buford-highway-apartment-complexes-houses-were-considered-for-new-cross-keys-high-site/

    The newspaper says that they have the actual appraisal obtained through an open records request. I’m assuming that these numbers are correct. I feel this is pretty specific in regards to what was considered by DCSD.

  22. Is the inflated cost to tear down/rebuild Briarcliff HS due to asbestos?

  23. The solution to Chamblee is pretty simple. If they don’t want an addition, move the magnet. From the superintendent and BOE perspective, given that finances and fiscal responsibility to taxpayers is their responsibility (but used only when it fits their scenario), moving the magnet would save them the cost of the CCHS addition. Put it at the new Cross Keys or one of the many schools with lots of open seats…that’s how it got to Chamblee – they didn’t have residents to fill the high school so the magnet moved in.

  24. Well, I guess they have an “appraisal document”. Maybe its an assumption to say it was the actual appraisal although again pretty specific data in the article.

  25. Thanks Chad. I’m not sure it was legal to release those docs, but they do accurately reflect the administration’s position on this decision. That being said, some of the owners of the properties the school district were looking at say the district’s numbers are inflated. Those owners told me their asking price is under what the district is reporting as the fair market value of the property. To be clear, the school district could get the land for much cheaper than they are reporting.

  26. Elisabeth, I’m not sure about the specifics of the progress of the demolition. Over a year the school district put out an Invitation To Bid (ITB) for Demolition Services at Former Administration Building A & B, Former Jim Cherry Center (Old Briarcliff High School), and Former Meadowview Elementary School (Additional project information can be found on the District’s solicitation website at http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/solicitations.)

    Last March Complete Demolition Services, Inc. was chosen as the lowest responsible and responsive bidder in an amount not to exceed $892,000.00.

    $85 million was budgeted to build the Cross Keys Brookhaven High School.

  27. The FMV does seem somewhat high. We are way far apart, however. I hope that the City Council can be as helpful in this transaction as they were in the John Lewis transaction. I very much appreciate your efforts and information, Stan.

  28. @Briarcliff is Congested and Commercial,
    It took me a while to find this, but you might find this DCSD response to a traffic question interesting. It was posted by DCSD on November 18, 2016 as “FAQ for Secondary School Study (http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/e-splost/files/2016/11/FAQ_20161118__.pdf). I added caps and ** for emphasis.

    “QUESTION 5. How will necessary road and traffic improvements be implemented? Have you done a traffic study? Is the District coordinating with the County and the cities?

    The District has informally discussed these plans with most of the appropriate local jurisdictions. ONLY AFTER APPROVAL BY THE BOARD WILL FORMAL TRAFFIC STUDIES BE INITIATED WITH THESE LOCAL ENTITIES TO DETERMINE WHAT ROAD AND TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENTS, IF ANY, WILL BE NECESSARY FOR EACH SCHOOL.

    **In anticipation of the Board’s approval, the District is currently working out plan for a proactive and comprehensive transportation and public utility impact analysis of these set of school additions and the new Cross Keys HS. We will formally meet with the local jurisdictions as we plan and implement this comprehensive analysis. This will allow all parties to weigh in on and strategically prepare for any necessary improvements.

    **Please note, the respective system (e.g. roads, sewers, water, etc.) infrastructures around the District’s schools are the responsibility of the local government, not the District.”

    So since before the Board’s approval of the E-SPLOST-V plan, 16 months ago, “the District is currently working out plan for a proactive and comprehensive transportation and public utility impact analysis of these set of school additions and the new Cross Keys HS.”

    Stan, could you ask for a progress report on this plan? Seems to me they would have had plenty of time to assess the transportation and public utility impact of the Briarcliff location. If such a report exists, why not release it to support the District’s selection of this site?

  29. Chad,
    Thanks so much for the link to the Reporter Newspaper article.

    Did anyone notice that the site plan provided by DCSD of a possible configuration of a 2500 seat school on the approximately 21 acre Briarcliff site does not include a track around the practice field?

    Is this just a lack of detail in the drawing, or does DCSD plan to proceed without providing a track for the school’s track and field program?

    Also, having the cafeteria at the extreme end of the school sounds like an operational problem.

  30. I know a lot of people say “MOVE THE MAGNET”, but there are many things to consider before you say this.

    1) How many Chamblee residents are in the Magnet an answer I can’t find anywhere? Many DHS and LHS students that use the magnet for middle school go back to high school. Also, some do apply out for private school for high school. So, if we are saying move the magnet, and the magnet is majority Chamblee residents, would they go anyway, since Chamblee is their home high school?

    What about the students that are at CCHS through the school choice lottery because of Chamblee’s Charter status? Many students come to CCHS through this program, are you saying let’s kick out the magnet, but it’s ok to leave the school choice students at CCHS?

    Placement of the New CKHS: I find it very ironic that the school system no more than five years ago moved the International Center because the parents could not get to their students because of the lack of transportation. Have things changed in five years in DeKalb County regarding transportation; I would say “no.” Isn’t the county trying to do something that has already been done and failed? Putting a school where transportation is not there to support the student or the family.

  31. Now that the new school site has been announced, when can we expect the announcement of the feeder schools.

  32. Redistricting convo will start 6 to 12 months before it opens.

  33. But want we know kinda what the feeder pattern is going to look like once the John Lewis redistricting starts? Isn’t the county going to keep the ES, MS, HS as vertical alignment as it has now? So we should start hearing something very soon. Correct?

  34. Yeah. The John Lewis ES will be completed late next year. So, redistricting convos will start sometime next year.

  35. Has JLES opening date changed? The school is suppose to open 8/2019. So going by the what DCSD has stated redistricting should start 8/2018. Or has that changed?

  36. Yeah. 6 to 12 months before the school opens in August 2019.

  37. I don’t understand the significance of the new JLES opening and the beginning of redistricting discussions.

    Seems to me that the contentious redistricting will only begin when it’s 6-12 months before the new Cross Keys schools are done. The end of construction for the new CKMS is March 2020 and for the new CKHS is June 2022.

    What redistricting would be spurred by the new JLES opening in 2019?

  38. The new JLES currently has no attendance zone defined. Nobody will go to it unless we redistrict some neighborhoods into it.

  39. Thanks, Stan. I had forgotten. Here is the Cross Keys elementary school redistricting approved by the BOE back in March 2016 (JLES is the ‘Former ISC’):

    Redistrict approximately 61 students from Woodward ES to Briar Vista ES
    Redistrict approximately 269 students from Montclair ES to Fernbank ES
    Redistrict approximately 394 students from Montclair ES to Former ISC
    Redistrict approximately 444 students from Dresden ES to Montclair ES
    Redistrict approximately 301 students from Cary Reynolds ES to Dresden ES

    So I guess the near-term redistricting will be mainly to return the Region 1 students who have been going to Region 2 schools. Seems to me that the 900 seat JLES ought to be able to hold the 269 Montclair students returning from Fernbank, the current JLES students, and the 61 Woodward students returning from Briar Vista.

    Fernbank ES will have around 300 open seats when the Montclair students return. Nothing like having capacity where it isn’t needed, but I guess if the DCSD model is a 900 seat elementary school that’s what you build.

  40. If the Chamblee addition is due to be completed 2 years before the new Cross Keys, who are they going to send to Chamblee first for those 600 seats? The northernmost part of the current CKHS map? And then once CKHS is completed, they do the complete redrawing of CCHS and CKHS zones?

  41. Briarcliff is CongestedAndCommercial

    The school board should be stopped with a lawsuit. First, the school site penalizes people based on race. It took away a high school in a minority area. This leaves the Buford Highway Corridor without a high school. Second, the site plan goes against Georgia’s school siting regulations. Each school board official should be sued in their individual capacity for a reckless thoughtless decision. It will cost the taxpayers millions and cause permanent damage to the traffic situation. Of course, the school board officials don’t care because half of them live in South DeKalb. They don’t care if they wreck our area. They don’t even care if their decision caused a new city to form, taking away millions each year from DeKalb County.

  42. backtoschool

    What is happening to the ISC? It was said to be shutting down. Where will the students and teachers go?

  43. In case anyone cares, DCSD is now considering purchasing land for the CCHS addition. This would absolutely violate the spirit of the entire Region I plan whose primary justification was to save money. A new Doraville high school should have been built, and that becomes even more obvious as DCSD changes the scope of these additions in proposing building an athletic field on top of a parking garage and purchasing land.

  44. Stan Jester

    Anon, Why do you say the school district is looking into buying land for the CCHS addition?

  45. Because two of the three drawings that were given to the CAC to present to the parents had DCSD buying the clinic that was next door and using that property for the addition. Also, there was a for sale sign in front of the clinic that is now gone or is so faded now I just missed seeing it the other day.

  46. Let’s be clear. The Construction Advisory Committee at Chamblee Charter High School did not present ANY drawings to CCHS stakeholders, way back in February when the last CAC meeting was held.

    Instead, attendees at the February CAC meeting saw a one-page document projected on-screen, with bullets describing each of three possible “schemes” for the CCHS addition. There were no handouts. This was not posted online anywhere. Thank goodness for cell-phone cameras.

    Only one of the “schemes” included the purchase of additional land. This scheme also required elevating the single, under-sized practice field at CCHS above a new parking area. Try to wrap your head around that – handicapped spectators, injured players, ambulance access, etc.

    CAC members and the Principal dutifully wrote down questions asked by the attendees. No answers have been received. No follow-up meeting has been scheduled.

    What’s the point of being involved, when DCSD feels free to ignore those who care?

  47. Would the City of Brookhaven consider annexing in what would likely be the entire area of Sagamore Hills Elementary that would be redistricted out of the Lakeside cluster, including the Briarcliff site for the new Cross Keys High? All of this area is currently just unicorporated Dekalb. This seems it would keep the high school in the city AND the entire cluster in the city. The name could then be Brookhaven High. Although it won’t fix the traffic issues in the area at all.

  48. Printed in a recent CCHS email:

    The design of the addition is currently on hold while the Dekalb County School District investigates options, up to and including buying additional land, for the expansion. A decision should be made by the District by mid-May. Once we have a determination, the project will proceed into Schematic Design with the architect. At that time, it would be appropriate to initiate programming meetings with the Principal, school staff, and the two designated CAC members to fine tune the make-up of the classrooms in the addition. Then we will schedule a CAC meeting update for the community.

  49. Translation of Anon’s CCHS e-mail: We’re going to intentionally keep you out of the loop and out of the design process until we get the mandate from the home office. Then we will conduct a 1 hour “feedback” session to get your “input” so we can dot that “i” and cross that “t,” ignore your input, and ultimately do what Dekalb County tells us to do

  50. Run Amok,
    Sad to say, my experience with DCSD makes me agree with you. It’s about the image of valuing stakeholder input, without all the messiness of actually listening to stakeholders. So much easier for dcsd to decide what they want, do a few faux-listening sessions, and then continue as they planned.

    I wish I wasn’t so cynical but there is very little input. It is hard to encourage neighbors to become involved when I don’t think they will be listened to.

  51. Against "Anonymous"

    I love how “Anonymous” above suggested annexing SAgamore to Brookhaven—- UMMMMMM, NO!!!!!! LOLOLOL Sagamore is in the future city of VISTA GROVE!!!! And you are NOT to draw the lines of the new cities.
    This is a secret-forced diversity push. They are dying to get the mostly Hispanic neighborhood on Buford Highway mixed up with the mostly-white neighborhood of Sagamore. They could care less if it causes MASSIVE inconvenience to students in Brookhaven, forcing them cross a highway interchange each time they attend high school. In a few years, the demographics will massively change. Brookhaven is planning on knocking all those apartment complexes down and relocating the current Hispanic residents. The color of Brookhaven will be GREEN. Not hispanic. This Cross-Keys building site at Briarcliff is solely being built to force-mix Hispanics and Whites. By the time it will be built (or within a few years aftewards) the Hispanics will be relocated. Cross Keys @ Briarcliff will be a PERMANENT inconvenience for TEMPORARY demographics. Stupid stupid stupid. WE shouldn’t let secret clubs with unpopular forced-diversity-agendas run rouge school boards. We need to pass legislation so that the public can veto important construction decisions made for DUMB reasons.

  52. https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2018/05/18/brookhaven-proposes-financial-incentives-to-keep-cross-keys-high-school-in-city/
    I like a lot of the ideas that the City came up with.

    While I think there is potential for more developments along Buford Highway, I think the townhome development on Skyland shows how tough that is to actually accomplish. They’ve been working on that for 4 years and it’s like they are 1/4 filled and that’s with them getting lucky that the city and DCSD decided to invest across the street. The basic nature of Buford Highway isn’t changing. There is not demand to replace even the majority of these apartment complexes. It’s a very desirable area to live, which means that the apartment complexes will cash flow well into the future.

  53. Check out this Latino article about Cross keys: They tried to sell the Briarcliff school site to the Latino community by pretending it was the ONLY way to avoid knocking apartment complexes down. (Go to Google Translate) https://mundohispanico.com/noticias/junta-escolar-decide-donde-reubicaran-la-secundaria-cross-keys-high-video

  54. Message to Spanish Folks Different!

    Article about Cross Keys High From Local Spanish Newspaper “Mundo Hispanico”

    Cross Keys High School in Atlanta will have a new location in 2022 due to the overcrowding of the school, whose student body is more than 80 percent Hispanic.

    The DeKalb County School Board made the decision Monday during a meeting that took place in the DeKalb School District. Several neighbors of the school, near the Buford Highway, shared their concerns before the board, before rumors that it would be considering demolishing an apartment complex in the area to build the new school, something that would force many families to find another place where live.

    This was the option the district recently took when it demolished a residential complex to build a primary school. For this reason, Adela López, alumnus of Cross Keys, asked the board not to take this alternative to resolve the situation of the school.

    “When they knocked down the apartments in Shallowford Gardens, I lost many of my family members, friends and schoolmates. And they did not move to other apartments on Buford Highway, they went to other states. Some went to North Carolina and other parts. And that community that we had before was lost, “said the young woman.

    Lopez, who is part of the Los Neighbors of Buford Highway organization, asked the board to replace the apartments to build high school, using the space where Briarcliff High School was located, a vacant lot owned by the district.

    “We are aware of where they are going to put it, because right now there is a site called Briarcliff and it is good to build a new school and many people who come today, want to use that land to build the new school, instead of having to use the apartments, “said Marco Palma, president of Los Neighbors de la Buford Highway.

    Following the statements of several residents of the area and alumni of Cross Keys as Lopez and Palma, the board determined Monday night, with a vote of 4-3, that the secondary will be moved to the former location of the Briarcliff High School, located less than two miles from school.

    The three closest members of the board, Marshall Orson, Stan Jester and James McMahan, objected saying that due to traffic around the area it will be difficult for students who do not live nearby to arrive.

    Orson said he is concerned that the district only thinks about the budget and not about what is best for the students. “The location is too far for many students and it is outside of the Cross Keys attendance zone,” Orson said, adding that because the area is very Hispanic, this adds other transportation challenges.

    The school district has already allocated 85 million funds from ESPLOST for the new school.

    Palma reacted on Tuesday with satisfaction at the decision of the board.

    “I understand that it was a difficult decision because of many factors. Now there are questions that if the students are going to be able to continue walking with all the traffic there. But I think it was the best decision they could make. Because now we know that they will not displace more families, “said Palma

  55. Delaying the inevitable

    Anyone see Rebekah Cohen Morris’s position paper on this? She acknowledges the massive traffic this school site will cause and how this school site makes walking impossible. Her two goals are (1) delaying the inevitable (apartments being knocked down) and (2) forced mixing (get rid of separate but equal). Is it wise to create a permanent traffic nightmare and walkability hazard in order to delay a few people being moved around? Developers are going to redevelop these apartments anyway in the future to make a buck, and no one with a rainbow diversity goal can stop them. As far as the site being cost neutral, Brookhaven has offered to pay for a much better site. https://georgianeducator.org/2018/04/20/briarcliffandcrosskeys/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

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