Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools

The new 900 seat Austin Elementary School (AES) will open in January for the existing old Austin ES students. Redistricted students will attend the new Austin ES in August 2020.

Austin Elementary Redistricting 2019
The upcoming redistricting process will determine new attendance lines and balance student enrollment in the Dunwoody Cluster. In addition to Austin Elementary, the redistricting process could impact any (or all) of the Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools.

Redistricting Process
The redistricting processes will follow the District’s standard redistricting process driven by three rounds of increasingly specific community input. Once all three rounds of community input are complete, a Superintendent Recommended Redistricting Plan will be presented to the Board for approval.

Meetings will be held at Dunwoody HS Auditorium (7:00 PM):
5035 Vermack Road Dunwoody, GA

• Round 1 – Thursday, September 26, 2019
• Round 2 – Wednesday, October 23, 2019
• Round 3 – Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Austin Elementary School Redistricting

THREE MEETING PROCESS

Meeting 1: The purpose of the first meeting is to gather general feedback from the community before any options are created or presented.

Meeting 2: The second meeting introduces two to four options and allows the public to provide feedback on them.

Meeting 3: The third meeting presents one “Staff Recommended” option and gives the public one more opportunity to provide feedback.

Board Approval: After the third public meeting, Planning staff incorporate all public feedback into a “Superintendent-Recommended Redistricting Plan”.

More information on the redistricting website: www.dekalbschoolsga.org/redistricting


RELATED POSTS

Austin Elementary in the Crier
May 7, 2019 – Confusion and rumors circle the destiny of the old Austin elementary school once the new Austin elementary school opens.

Old Austin Elementary School
April 16, 2019 – The New Austin Elementary School (AES) is on schedule to open January 2020. DeKalb Schools is looking at options to alleviate trailers in the Dunwoody Cluster. The administration is currently looking into using Old AES to that end.

Delay in New Austin ES Opening
Aug 24, 2018 – The DeKalb Schools Operations Division was informed last week that we are experiencing a delay in the opening of the new Austin ES. This has shifted the opening of the school from August 2019 (start of the first semester of 2019-2020 SY) to January 2020 (start of the second semester of 2019-2020 SY).


REDISTRICTING POLICY (DeKalb Schools Policy AD)
Good question Ben Greenwald. I’ll promote the response to the body of the post.

An attendance area shall be established and maintained for each school in the DeKalb County School District, with the exception of certain district-wide schools. The attendance area shall relate to the neighborhoods surrounding and in which the school is located. Students must attend the school serving the attendance area where they reside unless an exception is provided by law or Board policy.

A. Alteration of School Attendance Areas

School attendance areas may need to be altered for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, population changes, capacity or operating efficiency concerns, change in the use of a school, closure of a school, and the opening of a new school. The Board, upon recommendation of the Superintendent, may alter school attendance areas. The Superintendent’s recommendations for alterations in school attendance areas shall be based on the following primary criteria:

1. Geographic proximity;
2. Instructional capacity; and
3. Projected enrollment.

When the primary criteria indicate more than one option for action, the options shall be evaluated on basis of one or more of the following:

1. Safety and traffic patterns;
2. Previous redistricting;
3. Intact neighborhoods;
4. Special programs, i.e., programs serving special needs students that require additional classroom space;
5. Condition of facility;
6. School feeder alignment;
7. Efficient and economical operations; or
8. Other criteria, to be publicly disclosed at or prior to a final decision by the Board.

The Superintendent shall develop a process for obtaining input from the community. In the case of school closures, the Board shall follow the procedures provided in state law regarding public hearings and comment. The Board, at its discretion, may accept, modify, or reject the recommendation of the Superintendent. The Board will base its final decision on the needs of all students in the District. The Board provides the Superintendent or his or her designee with the necessary authority to enact minor attendance area alterations that are consistent with the primary and secondary criteria listed above. Minor attendance area alteration are defined as a change in attendance area that involves the attendance line displaced no more than 1/8 of a mile from the Board approved attendance line and that involves a change of enrollment (positive or negative) of five or less (currently enrolled) students. The Superintendent shall notify the Board of any attendance area alterations.

B. Students Living in Areas Where Attendance Lines Are Altered

When attendance lines are altered, all students must attend the school serving their new attendance area, except that students rising into the highest grade available in an elementary school or middle school or rising into grades 11 or 12 in a high school will have the option of either continuing in their former school with no transportation provided by the District or attending the new home school with transportation provided under Policy ED. Students who choose the Board Policy AD: School Attendance option of remaining in their former school may later transfer to their new home school. Once the student has transferred to the new home school, the student cannot transfer back to the former school.

13 responses to “Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools

  1. Ben Greenwald

    Questions
    1. Does the District have any stated guidelines as to how attendance zones should be set? If so, would you be able to share them?
    2. In determining projected attendees how far out does the District forecast? For example, the High Street development is expected to bring 3,000 additional residences, but it may be years before there are residents. Is there an expectation that redistricting will need to take place again once those (and other developments) are completed?

  2. Good Question Ben. I tacked on the policy to the end of the article.

  3. I would feel better if the school district administration actually listened to public feedback or followed their own guidelines.

    Idlewood elementary students drive past a middle school with open seats to attend TMS which is at, or over capacity. They also attend THS which is certainly over capacity when Stone Mountain HS has several hundred open seats. The district ignores their own guidelines on a regular basis.

  4. I’m assuming that we are going to see a Dunwoody cluster-wide redistricting to alleviate some of the cluster-wide overcrowding by moving elementary attendance lines generally further East (meaning some Vanderlyn/DES kids now go to Austin, some Kingsley/Chestnut kids go to Vanderlyn/DES, and some Hightower kids going to Kingsley/Chesnut). My question to Stan is whether he expects the District to make its recommendation assuming Go Bond passes and we get a new school in the Dunwoody/Chamblee area or as a stand-alone recommendation irrespective of what might happen with the Go Bond? Seems like we may see two elementary cluster-wide rezonings within a few years if the Go Bond passes.

  5. Kirk, Agreed. The entire district could use some redistricting.

    Jay, I’m hoping we’ll stick to the attendance zone policy. I suspect the redistricting will work like you suggested.

    Redistricting Frequency – We have to redistrict with what we have. If the GO Bond passes and another elementary school gets put on the project list for the Dunwoody/Chamblee area, there is no telling when or where it will be built.

  6. @ Stan – of “IF” it will be built.

  7. @ Kirk & Stan,

    Years ago, the board stated its preference (though not an official policy) that wherever possible there be a 100% feeder pattern, where all the students living in and attending from an elementary attendance area would continue to the same middle and high. There are areas of the county (primarily the south/east corner – as well as Doraville) where split feeders are the only option.

    If the board wants to go to a split feeder pattern, I’m sure the staff would be happy to oblige.

    @Ben Garland, despite its numbers, it’d be surprising if High Street generated a significant number of students. Those just aren’t “family friendly” units.

  8. Ben Greenwald

    With 3,000 units, if only 1 in 10 units has a child living in it that is an additional 300 students for the cluster.

  9. @Ben Greenwald: The expected yield rate should be much lower than .10. The higher the rent, and the more high-end the development is perceived to be, the less kids it will generate. Condos generally yield even fewer students than apts.

  10. I gave a brief explanation of how Enrollment Forecasting Works. The types of condos also has an effect. Here is a comparison of two different types of condos as of April 2019 (according to DeKalb Schools)

    Manhattan High Rise Condos
    4561 Olde Perimeter Way, Dunwoody, GA 30346
    Number of Units: 220
    Total Students: 6

    Jefferson Apartments
    4867 ASHFORD DUNWOODY RD, DUNWOODY, GA 30338
    Number of Units: 504
    Total Number of Students: 321

  11. You’re comparing apples (condos) and oranges (apts), Stan. Not a valid comparison between the two types.
    But thanks for making my point earlier that condos have a much lower yield rate than apartments.

  12. Good point about condos v apartments. Apartments around here are going to have a much higher yield rate.

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