Redistricting First Round Summary – Austin and Doraville United

It was nice to see everybody at the redistricting meetings for the new Austin ES and Doraville United ES. I would like to get your feedback.

PUBLIC REDISTRICTING MEETINGS

Austin Elementary Public Redistricting Meetings – Dunwoody HS Auditorium (7:00 PM):
• Round 2 – Wednesday, October 23, 2019
• Round 3 – Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Doraville United Elementary Public Redistricting Meetings – Chamblee Charter HS Auditorium (7:00 PM):
• Round 2 – Wednesday, October 16, 2019
• Round 3 – Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ENROLLMENT – CAPACITY – TRAILERS
Amazingly overnight, the capacity of the new schools went from 900 to 950. The capacity of all other schools in the feeder pattern dropped by 5% – 20%. I’ll be examining this curious development over the next few weeks. Hans Williams, Director of Planning & E-SPLOST Programming, said the school district will be publishing updated capacity numbers and will spend time the next round of meetings diving into those calculations.

Dunwoody Cluster Enrollment Capacity

Chamblee Cross Keys Enrollment Capacity

Oakview Theme School
Oakcliff Theme Elementary School is a magnet school in Doraville with no attendance zone. Capacity is 750 students and 90% of the students come from Cary Reynolds, Dresden ES and Pleasantdale ES. A new 900+ seat Pleasantdale ES is opening Fall 2020. Should DCSD turn Oakcliff Theme ES into a regular school with an attendance zone and free up elementary school seats for overcrowding in Region 1?

Hightower ES
Hightower has enrollment/capacity of 748/513. The new 900+ seat Doraville United ES is opening Fall 2020. Should DCSD redistrict students from Hightower ES to Doraville United ES to relieve overcrowding at Hightower ES and its feeder pattern schools, Peachtree Charter MS and Dunwoody HS?


Austin Elementary Redistricting 2019 – Round 1 Meeting Materials

Map – Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Reference Map (with Planning Unit IDs)

Doraville United ES Redistricting 2019 – Round 1 Meeting Materials


Q & A – Dan Drake

Question 1: When Doraville United opens next year, will it be in the Cross Keys Cluster?
Question 2: We are considering sending Huntley Hills students to Doraville United. Will this be a split feeder into the Chamblee cluster or will they continue on into Cross Keys Cluster with the rest of Doraville United?

Answer From Dan Drake:
The exact nature of the attendance areas and feeder pattern for the new Doraville United ES will be confirmed as part of the current redistricting process. That said, the facility is currently in the Chamblee HS and Sequoyah MS attendance areas (currently already a split feeder from Sequoyah MS to Chamblee HS, as most students matriculate from Sequoyah MS to Cross Keys HS, but a small number matriculate to Chamblee HS). It is unlikely that we would redistrict hundreds of students out of Chamblee HS (those in Huntley Hills ES attendance area) into Cross Keys HS, especially since this entire area in a few years will be in the Chamblee HS attendance area (feeding from Sequoyah MS and Chamblee MS). Multiple options for the attendance areas and feeder patterns will be presented for stakeholders’ input on October 16, 2019.

-Dan

35 responses to “Redistricting First Round Summary – Austin and Doraville United

  1. Stan, can you also add the 2018 capacities for the Chamblee and Cross Keys cluster schools on the chart? I think it’s important to see all of those YOY changes as well. Thanks!

  2. Michelle Fincher

    Along with Survey Says’ suggestion, can you add Peachtree Middle and Dunwoody High to Dunwoody cluster chart?

  3. It is interesting that they left off MS and HS capacity for Dunwoody, but showed it for the Chamblee/Cross Keys. I guess this means Doraville United will feed into the Chamblee Cluster for both MS and HS. Most of the students living near the new school already split feed from Sequoyah into Chamblee HS.

  4. Q & A – Dan Drake

    Question 1: When Doraville United opens next year, will it be in the Cross Keys Cluster?
    Question 2: We are considering sending Huntley Hills students to Doraville United. Will this be a split feeder into the Chamblee cluster or will they continue on into Cross Keys Cluster with the rest of Doraville United?

    Answer From Dan Drake:
    The exact nature of the attendance areas and feeder pattern for the new Doraville United ES will be confirmed as part of the current redistricting process. That said, the facility is currently in the Chamblee HS and Sequoyah MS attendance areas (currently already a split feeder from Sequoyah MS to Chamblee HS, as most students matriculate from Sequoyah MS to Cross Keys HS, but a small number matriculate to Chamblee HS). It is unlikely that we would redistrict hundreds of students out of Chamblee HS (those in Huntley Hills ES attendance area) into Cross Keys HS, especially since this entire area in a few years will be in the Chamblee HS attendance area (feeding from Sequoyah MS and Chamblee MS). Multiple options for the attendance areas and feeder patterns will be presented for stakeholders’ input on October 16, 2019.

    -Dan

  5. I really like the idea of moving the east side of MES – the Chamblee part of the school to another school (Huntley Hills) inside the city of Chamblee. Leave Brookhaven residents going to MES – a Brookhaven school. It gets us closer to city schools anyway, which is where we all want to be. Love this solution – it makes all the sense in the world. I think people should get on board!

  6. Lose the Magnet

    It doesn’t really matter what parents think. Dekalb going to Dekalb…

  7. @CitySchools, aligning residents of a city to schools geographically located within the same city is a quaint idea but the numbers don’t work. Better to align neighborhoods with major roads and thoroughfares as boundaries.
    I don’t envy the county, its a tough task. Golden rule should always be have the least disruption to currently enrolled students.

  8. NoCitySchools

    I agree with LaptopBoy. We bought into Sexton Woods with the idea that our kids would go to MES. All of Sexton Woods should be aligned to the same schools. There is simply no good reason to send the west side of the neighborhood to a different schoool from the east side.

  9. No City – You bought in Chamblee. You should go to a school in Chamblee. Sexton Woods is mostly in Chamblee. Keswick Park is in Chamblee. Go to Chamblee schools.

    Why is everyone so down on Huntley Hills? If we get those neighborhoods in that school, it will do wonders for HH.

  10. ThisBringsOutTheWorst

    CitySchools, then I guess your kids shouldn’t go to CMS or CCHS since those are Chamblee Schools right?. Have fun trucking across 85 to Cross Keys under your argument. Also do we think DeKalb is stupid enough to set the stage for City if Brookhaven schools and loose all those tax dollars?

  11. StabilityforKids

    People assume HH wants “help” from Montgomery families but they have a unique school and are proud of it. To assume MES families would be some saving grace to the school is an unfair assessment. The two schools have different approaches to teaching (Montessori vs. strong STEM focus) and resources that help them better serve their students. HH is equpped to serve their ESL population more efficiently. MES has put a lot of focus on serving gifted students in classes verses out of class. It’s helpful to point out that 4-5 of recent PTA Presidents at MES came from the southern enrollment areas, many from Keswick Park/Sexton Woods including the current President. What’s special about MES has nothing to do with the City of Brookhaven. It’s passion from families living in the current enrollment boundaries who want public education to work and poured their hearts into the school over many years. Money too. And of course it’s stellar teachers, admins, and precious students that are heavily engaged in their school. I hope people will focus on the impact our kids face when having to transition to a new and unfamiliar environment before glossing over how tremendous an impact upcoming Redistricting will be for so many. It can be traumatic and should be treated with great thought and care..

  12. Dunwooody Parent

    Stan, I just heard that they’re talking about moving the magnet program from Kittredge to relieve crowding at Ashford Park and Montgomery. I know there has been talk over the years about moving this program – but I didn’t realize it was actually part of the current discussion. People living in this area apparently were asked this on their survey (if they would like to see the magnet program moved). Have you heard anything about this? Is it physically/logistically possible to relocate the population of an entire school by next fall? This seems like something the whole county should be given a right to vote on, given that it’s a county wide program. Thanks –

  13. Lose the Magnet

    @ Dunwoody Parent – Better than just moving it, let’s blow it up! Unfair program that has outlived its useful life. We don’t need integration anymore. Remember that was the reason that the magnet program was implemented in the first place. Let’s start again and give every child a fair chance vs. just picking a select few out of a hat. We can do better.

  14. The High Achiever Magnet program is a subject on which I have received much feedback over the years. I have certainly heard from community members asking about the location of the magnet program. The school district has not discussed with the Board, the use of the current Kittredge location as part of any facilities plan dealing with overcrowding. I agree that any discussion should include the entire school district, as this is a countywide program.

  15. Common Sense Solutions Please

    The reality is that the neighborhoods have grown tremendously in the Brookhaven/Chamblee area in the 10 years since Kittredge was moved to the area and the area schools just can’t sustain it. The Magnet is a school of choice that only a lucky few who have their names picked out of a hat get the opportunity to go to. Plus, it is a county wide program yet it is not readily accessible to a large part of the county. I think the District should put the neighborhoods first and make sure that kids can attend school in the neighborhoods where they live. If they choose to leave that neighborhood for a school of choice then that is their choice. It is simply not fair to force kids to go to school far from their own neighborhoods to keep a county-wide school of choice in a location convenient for the North End of the county. Not to mention the impacts that the increased commuter traffic that a magnet school plopped down in the middle of a neighborhood brings has on the neighborhood.

  16. Why shouldn’t a School Choice program be convenient for the North end of the county?

    The South end of the county has magnet programs galore:
    High Achiever Magnet Program (ES/MS/HS, identical to Kittredge/Chamblee)
    Environment, Energy, and Engineering Magnet (HS)
    Career Tech Magnet (HS)
    Math, Science, and Technology Magnet (MS/HS)
    International Baccalaureate Program (ES/MS/HS)

    Because the District has utterly failed to provide enough schools in the North, the North is being forced to give up School Choice programs for our kids in order to keep neighborhood kids in schools.

    Some will say that kids in the North don’t need School Choice programs because they have decent neighborhood schools.

    I think that’s lousy and unfair. Kids who live in the North, specifically in Region 1, should have options like others in the District.

    It’s totally the District’s failure that has gotten us to this point. Kids will pay the price, but then they have been all along.

  17. If we relocate the magnet program from Kittredge to Doraville United, it should still be accessible to families in Dunwoody, Chamblee, Cross Keys, and Lakeside clusters. The magnet program would take up 482 of the 950 seats. The remaining seats at DU can be used to relieve Cary Reynolds and Dresden. Kittredge can be used to relieve Huntley Hills, Montgomery, and Ashford Park.

  18. thai, what a good idea!

    DCSD’s handout from the redistricting meeting shows that Dresden is overcrowded by 327 seats and Cary Reynolds is overcrowded by 156 seats, or a total of 483 seats.

    482 + 483 = 965, which should fit nicely.

    The other “900 seat elementary schools” built recently are listed on the 2018 DCSD Planning Capacity Report as having a 1000+ student capacity, so 965 students would still leave a few “safety” seats.

    Three cheers for thai!

  19. Lose the magnet

    Hey Anonymous – You know what’s really unfair? That kids who qualify for school choice, get no bleeping choice at all when their name isn’t drawn. Blow.It.Up. It’s unnecessary and outdated.

  20. Why is John Lewis Elementary named John Lewis? Any reason why it can’t be Brookhaven Elementary?

  21. Lose the Magnet – still plenty of room in the other Magnet options. I guess you’re too lazy to take your kid to a better school??? I just love people who constantly complain when there are solutions available.

  22. MagnetMatters

    Magnet is an important program that serves children with special educational needs. One size does not fit all. Talking about dropping Magnet makes no sense when that resource is not under-subscribed. Which it isn’t.
    The reason the north side struggles isn’t programs that cater to high achievers, it is too many ‘exclusive enclaves’ deciding we are not ‘better together’, and deciding instead to do their own thing with the bulk of your tax base. City schools are a money game that bleeds your communities to keep education dollars in affluent neighborhoods. They just moved segregation out of the school district and into the tax office.
    Magnet matters now more than ever.

  23. More than one option

    I don’t understand all this anger about ONE magnet school. I realize Kittredge is thought of as the gold standard – it won’t be for long given the moves Neely has made. But that’s beside the point. There are magnet schools all over the county and programs at other schools that require a lottery to get in. Some people get in, some don’t. If you’re against a lottery, that’s different than being against one school. So should all lottery-based programs be closed or just the one that’s inconvenient or that your kid didn’t get into? Or should there be more? Anger at one particular school really doesn’t move this conversation forward.

    Why not use this redistricting conversation to carve out another spot somewhere either in the Lakeside area or north of Lakeside to add another Kittredge? Tie it into Lakeside High or Dunwoody High. Or move Kittredge back to the old campus and put another in the new Doraville elem school. Why isn’t there any talk of the old Chamblee Middle site?

    There are tons of options past it MUST stay just as it is or it MUST be closed.

    Unfortunately, our elected board member doesn’t come up with any solution to these issues. He merely presents information (just the facts) and then lets us fight it our or gets us riled enough to call the district. Maybe during the next election you remember how you feel -whatever side you’re on – and find someone who will be more than Just the Facts.

  24. @More than one option. I have to disagree with your last statement…. “our elected board member doesn’t…..”….. Our elected board member is just 1 vote…. 1 vote where he is always out voted 6 -1. The ONLY 2 times I can remember in the past 20+ years where other regions voted with whoever was elected to District 1. 1 of them being Jim Redovian when he was our respresentive and the county used Bonds to rebuild CCHS (this one past) and the second being this past year when Jim McMahan and Marshall Olson passionately pleaded to other board members NOT to build the new CKHS on Briarcliff but to look for property on Buford Highway. (This one failed 4-3).

    Until we change the culture and thinking that anything above Highway 78 is awesome and everything below 78 is not, it doesn’t matter who is our elected board member, they are not going to get anywhere until we can work together as a whole county. Unfortunately, the school system is the one that is always stirring the pot.

  25. Frustrated DeKalb Parent

    Lynn King, I agree 100%. Also, presenting the facts is more than the district or many other board members do. Facts, rather than allowing the status quo or siding with friends or family, is what will hopefully open the eyes of the stakeholders in the district who can vote out the board members who don’t try to hold the administration accountable. We also have to remember that board members cannot overstep their bounds as the state sees it, like when previous board members were removed.

  26. Question: If you are trying to strip Oakcliff (NOT Oakview) of its Theme status, how does the county plan on making it ADA compliant? The school is 3 levels with no ramps, elevators, etc. I smell a lawsuit against DeKalb in the near future. If the county has money to update the school, why not just expand other buildings? You could also increase the number of Oakcliff’s feeder schools to include Hightower and other schools within driving distance. It’s a shame that DeKalb is trying to railroad Oakcliff parents like this. Absolutely disgusting!

  27. I don’t think anybody is talking about stripping Oakcliff of its theme and STEM status. I think the administration is just discussing giving the school an attendance zone. My understanding is that the school would otherwise stay the same.

    I don’t think the current school is exempt from ADA regulations. ADA challenges are noteworthy.

    I’m in data collection mode. I want to hear from the community. I’m trying to make myself as accessible as possible. Please let me know what you think.

    Thank you for sharing.

  28. Lose the Magnet

    Lose THIS – Idiotic, moronic statement. Typical. So, you want me to drive my kid an hour to Wadsworth? There are NO solutions available for those that live on the northside, want a magnet program, and there kids don’t get into Kittredge. Get out of your magnet bubble for God’s sake.

  29. #1 school in state

    Yeah, I’m not too bright, but I can’t see DeKalb messing with one of their only success stories. It sounds like most of the issues with Kittredge have to deal with it being too small, ie my kid didn’t get in. Expand the program, replicate it, push for more magnet. Why on earth should we dissolve the thing that works?

  30. @#1 school in state,
    You don’t think DeKalb will mess with one of their only success stories?

    I think this is one of their big goals! If they dismantle the schools with good academics, then the rest of the district won’t look so bad by comparison.

    For Dunwoody HS they’ll cram 2000+ students into a building built for 1509 and just keep adding trailers!

    For CCHS they’ll move the High Achiever Magnet Program, no matter how well integrated it is with the regular programs of the school!

    For DSA they’ll completely ignore maintenance for 8 years, telling folks they have to wait for the big new K-12 school!

    For Lakeside HS they’ll cram 2000+ students into a building built for far fewer and just keep adding trailers!

    So far they haven’t messed with Kittredge but that may be coming.

    I wish this wasn’t true but that’s the way it looks to me.

  31. Michelle Fincher

    I think many issues could be solved if the State would stop issuing waivers for class sizes. Force DCSD to right-size the schools. It will never happen, but look above at all of the arguments about the magnets, DSA, etc. What do all of them have in common? Class sizes are what the State recommends for ALL schools. Yes, these schools have a more homogenous mix of test scores, but the “magic” is the small school environment with excellent leadership and teachers.

    The truth is that no matter what redistricting plan DCSD imposes, we will still need new elementary, middle and high schools in Region 1. To that point, I believe moving Kittredge will only kick the can down the road. Doraville United could be used to relieve overcrowding at Hightower if DCSD would use logic and think beyond the “cluster” model. Hightower is 2.4 miles away from the new school and is 180 students overcapacity. Have you seen pictures of the mold-covered trailers in which those students get to spend their days? It’s not right.

  32. Lose The Magnet

    #1 School in the state – Because its blatantly unfair and biased. Blow up the damn thing. Its past its useful life. I’m advocating hard for it to go away and we take its lessons and apply it to every school where every child that qualifies is given those services and not the lucky “few” that have drawn the lottery tickets.

    Magnet is a disaster that has long outlived its useful life.

  33. Lost your mind

    So Lose the Magnet – are you saying that every school that relies on a lottery for a child to get into a program should lose those programs? Kids are learning french at Evansdale? Should that program be gone? What about the kids in south DeKalb in their magnet programs? What about Wadsworth? Every program that’s different should be removed from the county in your opinion?

    You think there’s going to be a great “lesson” application across the board from north to south and all of a sudden the schools will get better? Better than they are now (and they are awful now)? Really?

  34. Round 2 handouts are available for Doralville United redistricting on the DCSD website. https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/operations/planning/redistricting/

  35. Sleeplessindekalb

    Stan did you get any information on how the numbers “all the sudden changed” (aka went to less inaccurate)?

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