Austin Elementary School Redistricting – Round 2

DeKalb Schools is conducting Round 2 of the Austin Elementary School redistricting meetings tonight at Dunwoody High School @ 7pm. The second round objective is to collect community input on the three presented redistricting options which are supposed to based on attendance zone criteria set in board policy.


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


Powerpoint Presentation
Detailed Maps – Option 1
Detailed Maps – Option 2
Detailed Maps – Option 3
Handout 1
Handout 2
Handout 3
Handout 4

The school district rolled out a huge Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecast back in November 2018. The 2021 enrollment forecast numbers from Handout 1 tonight are way off from the Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecast numbers.


Option 1: Balance Enrollment
Option 2: Balance Enrollment, No Portables at Austin ES
Option 3: Hightower ES Relief by Doraville United ES

Austin Elementary School Redistricting Option 1

Austin Elementary School Redistricting Option 2

Austin Elementary School Redistricting Option 3

Austin Elementary School Redistricting



Redistricting First Round Summary
September 30, 2019 – September 30, 2019 – 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%.

Austin Elementary School Redistricting – Round 1
SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 7:00PM

Redistricting – Geographic Proximity
Austin And Doraville United

September 16, 2019 – According to board policy, recommendations for alterations in school attendance areas shall be primarily based on geographic proximity, school capacity; and projected enrollment. These schools will help alleviate overcrowding in the Dunwoody and Cross Keys clusters.

Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools
August 20, 2019 – 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 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).

19 responses to “Austin Elementary School Redistricting – Round 2

  1. I support moving some students from Hightower to Doraville United to reduce overcrowding. But I don’t understand why the county would spend money to add trailers to New Austin when there are already trailers on site elsewhere and there will be an overall reduction in trailers in the cluster. It seems like that huge unnecessary expense could be foregone and the money used to fund some of the deferred maintenance issues we have. So I would like to see an Option 4- Hightower to Doraville United with no Austin trailers.

  2. If they are already moving 106 students from Hightower to Doraville United why not add 60 more and leave MES/Ashford Park unchanged? Seems like that would be reasonable, surely they can carve out another 60 and redistrict that group ensuring the 166 stay together en masse…

    Breaking up the MES (Sexton Woods) and AP neighborhoods and making them travel across PIB seems weird.

  3. Option 1 makes the most sense to me. Keep the utilization rate closer among schools is very important.
    I wouldn’t worry about utilization rate of portables, believe me we will all use them all in near future.
    Option 1:
    Absolute Difference to Avg Utilization
    H 117% 0%
    D 111% 6%
    V 135% 18%
    C 120% 3%
    K 120% 3%
    N 111% 6%
    Average 6%

  4. My question is in regards to Hightower overcrowding relief. The very same 106 kids proposed to move from Hightower to Doraville United are part of the Chamblee cluster option 2 and Dunwoody cluster option 3 maps. So, if Hightower is to be relieved in this round of redistricting via Doraville United. which option is preferable to provide that relief?

  5. Survey Says- I think Chamblee Cluster Option 2 and Dunwoody Cluster Option 3 go in tandem–i.e. they either both go or both don’t. It shows the same children being moved to the same school in both options (i.e. if you want Chamblee 2, you get Dunwoody 3).

  6. This is garbage. I paid more for my home specifically to be in Chestnut when I moved to Dunwoody 2 years ago. I could have purchased more home (or paid less) to be in Kingsley but now my kid is being forced to change schools. All 3 options have my neighborhood being redistricted. This is not going to go smoothly, that is for sure.

    The school district rolled out a huge Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecast back in November 2018. The 2021 enrollment forecast numbers from Handout 1 tonight are way off from the Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecast numbers.

  8. Why, when they are next to a brand new higher capacity school, would Vanderlyn not be offered overcrowding relief in any of these suggestions? Personally, we’re solidly in the DES zone and fairly new to our neighborhood, but I thought I understood that Vanderlyn and Hightower have been plagued with overcrowding and trailers for the longest time. Why would VES be stuck at 130%+ in all the options while the other schools are getting relief?

    Jay, I disagree, though I definitely hear what you’re saying about not wanting unnecessary expenses which is an excellent point. I believe that the overcrowding needs to be equally distributed as much as possible, including Austin supporting a comparable amount to the other schools in our cluster. Overcrowding isn’t just about having to add trailers. It’s the burdens on the support staff, administration, cafeteria and staff, etc. that negatively impacts the learning environment.

    We used to live in Dunwoody North, and noticed that the Dunwoody North side to the east of Tilly Mill would go to Kingsley in all of these examples. I just can’t imagine the traffic issues that would ensue trying to get from Tilly Mill to North Peachtree over to Kingsley. It would be a VERY long trip of 15-20 minutes, contrasting to a 5-7 minute trip to Chestnut. And Dunwoody North (BOTH sides) needs to be considered and kept as an in-tact neighborhood, as they fall under the same HOA and pool club as the Dunwoody North to the west of Tilly Mill.

    See you all at the meeting tonight! Thanks for posting this, Stan!

  9. @Jen G,
    FYI, it is my understanding that the Vanderlyn community for years has argued strongly to keep their trailers and not be redistricted. They’d rather be crowded than moved to other Dunwoody schools.

    This tactic is being repeated by the Montgomery Elementary folks in the Chamblee cluster, and possibly by the Ashford Park Elementary folks too.

    DCSD has listened to these powerful parents and given them trailers and left them alone.

    On the positive side, these are good schools! Parents contribute lots of time and money, test scores are good, and there is a great sense of community.

    But at some point redistricting will be needed. I guess every parent is just hoping to keep the status quo until their child moves on.

    Welcome to the wacky world of DCSD politics!

  10. @Anon – Most MES parents are fine with trailers. I think we acknowledge Kittredge will be returned to DCSD as a local school over the coming years and that will solve a lot of problems for DCSD in that area.
    FWIW, I attended the CCHS redistricting meeting and felt like the DCSD staff (Hans and friends) did a great job, presented well and listened to the needs of the community.

  11. @Stan- Do you have any commentary that you’re willing to share on the options provided? Specifically, could you address the greater strategy for the Doraville/Dunwoody Clusters in relation to Hightower? Additionally, how do the options address the growth areas vs. just the overcrowding? My view is that overcrowding will not be solved until the magnets/theme schools return the community and/or development occurs. Thus, the main problem that needs to be address is future growth. The only areas of growth in the Dunwoody cluster revolve around the Perimeter district but I don’t understand how any of the options will support the future growth equitably. All other schools are relatively stagnant growth wise(but overcrowded). Thus, why not split the growth and attendance levels equally between DES and Austin??

  12. Ben Greenwald

    Who decided that all new elementary schools have to follow the 950 student prototype?
    For those who think the Shallowford property is too small to accommodate a new elementary school, I suggest you consider the following. The Shallowford property is 9.1 Acres which puts it at the same size as both the Kingsley and Vanderlyn properties and just 1.2 acres less than the new Austin. I can think of no reasonable explanation of why this property is not being built on.
    The following property size data is from DeKalb County tax information:
    Dunwoody Elementary – 17 Acres
    Chesnut 11.9 Acres
    New Austin – 10.3 Acres
    Old Austin – 9.8 Acres
    Shallowford – 9.1 Acres
    Vanderlyn – 9 Acres
    Kingsley – 9 Acres

    My suggestion is that DCSD immediately hire an architect to begin plans for a new Shallowford Elementary with construction to start in 2020 and to open in 2021. I don’t care that there isn’t money set aside. This is an emergency and needs to be treated as such.

  13. As proposed, Option 3 provides no relief to the overcrowded Hightower via Kingsley. Yet, 5 new trailers are being added to Kingsley in this plan. It got me thinking “why?” What is gained with this Option? It takes students from Chesnut, Dunwoody, and Vanderlyn. It allows Chesnut and Dunwoody to reduce their trailer count. But realistically, it means a student will move from a trailer at their old school to a trailer at a new school. (In effect, all three Options realistically move kids from a trailer at their old school to a trailer at Kingsley). What does that gain?! Other than upsetting parents in three neighborhoods that don’t want to switch schools to Kingsley.

    Thus, I propose a new option, a plan I call Option 4. The premise is that no new trailers will be added any schools:
    – Take the Austin approach of Option 2, moving 85 students from Dunwoody to Austin (Zone A), and 1 student from Vanderlyn to Austin (Zone B )
    – Take the Hightower approach of Option 3, cross clustering 106 students from Hightower to Doraville United (Zone H). In this plan, no trailers are utilized at Doraville United (per DCSB plans).
    – Take the Kingsley approach of the “no change plan.”

    – In this plan, no new trailers are added to any schools.
    – Five trailers removed from Hightower, and overcrowding there reduced as well as any of the three DCSB options
    – Roughly four trailers can be removed from Dunwoody ES
    – Kingsley does not become overcrowded
    – 192 students impacted, lower than any of the proposed options.
    – Dunwoody North remains intact
    – Oxford Chase remains intact.

    – Cross cluster kids from Hightower return for MS and HS, losing their Doraville friends
    – No relief for Chesnut
    – No relief for Vanderlyn
    – Relief for Dunwoody is less than proposed in the three DSCB plans

    What are your thoughts of this approach, Option 4?
    What do you think the pros and cons are?
    Does the math work?

  14. John, if you throw in the option of reopening Nancy Creek as a neighborhood school to your Option 4, it could provide additional relief to Dunwoody Elementary and much needed relief to the three elementary schools in the Chamblee cluster. This would require a Kittredge move somewhere though, that’s the sticky point. I think it benefits everyone if both clusters look to solve these problems together.

  15. Sticking it to the little guy

    If Nancy Creek opens as a true elem school – not a 3-5 for Montgomery or whatever- I would support it. But I will never support MES getting a benefit from this when everyone else is losing. Kids should be moved in MES as well as other areas. Quit trying to push the big moves onto the less $$ areas. Just because one community’s housing costs more doesn’t mean they run the redistricting.

  16. Jeff Guggenheim

    Hey Stan (or all)-
    Was any reason given for why the “existing” numbers show New Austin opening with 7 trailers when the capacity is 950 and the enrollment is 854? Is this an error in the spreadsheet they used to calculate? I assume that is 7 existing trailers at OLD Austin???


  17. Contrary to what the gossip is, the MES community is looking for holistic solutions that benefit several area schools, and reopening Nancy Creek as a K-5 elementary school is crucial to greatly reduce overcrowding in the Chamblee and even Dunwoody clusters. If we can just get the administration and Board to listen!

  18. Reopening Nancy Creek as a neighborhood school and moving the magnet back to it’s former location on N. Druid Hills temporarily while DCSD identifies/builds other options is a no brainer. That could happen next school year!