Author Archives: Stan Jester

Moving the Magnet and the Middle School In Chamblee

More classroom space is needed at Chamblee Charter High School. On Monday, the school district proposed the possibility of closing Chamblee Middle School and moving the High Achievers Magnet Program from Chamblee Charter High School.

Can we have a healthy and constructive discussion about this?

Close Chamblee Middle School

DeKalb Schools administration threatened the Chamblee community with this option on Monday.

At the board meeting, I asked Dan Drake, interim Chief Operating Officer (COO), about the viability of this option. He said they haven’t done any research into this option.

This doesn’t appear to be a viable option for the same reason the school district isn’t considering a satellite campus instead of the Lakeside High School (LHS) building additions.

I suspect, the administration is using this option as a scare tactic to get the Chamblee community on board with the GO bond and building additions at the high school.


DeKalb Schools administration presented this alternative to building additions at Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS). This alternative is driven more by the board than the administration.

Can we have a cordial dialogue about “moving the magnet from CCHS”? I’m an advocate for keeping the magnet at Chamblee and would like to hear more from those who would like to move it. These are the discussion points as I see them:

Move the magnet – You can’t “move” the magnet. What you can do is shut it down at CCHS and open up another somewhere else. Some of the students will go to the new one, but very few of the teachers will go.

Magnet success – Many people, including district school board members, believe the successes at Chamblee Charter HS are a result of something the school district is doing for CCHS that they are not doing for the other magnets. However, the success of the CCHS magnet program is a function of Chamblee and not the school district.

Distance – Moving the magnet from CCHS to the new Cross Key HS will severely increase the distance for many students. The board members I have talked to don’t think that distance is consequential. I don’t think most of the students from Doraville, Chamblee or Dunwoody will follow the magnet down there. This is taking the magnet away from them.

Teachers – The idea of moving the magnet is to fill those open spots at CCHS with resident students, so CCHS will still need teachers. I don’t anticipate most of those teachers will want to move.

Magnet is Unfair – I hate that the magnet program picks winners and losers. I think adding magnet programs is the solution, not completely destroying the program. I’m not a fan of the attitude, “If I can’t have one then nobody can have one”.

I’d like to know your thoughts. –Stan

DeKalb E-SPLOST Program Budget and GO Bonds

The DeKalb Schools administration presented 3 options to address E‐SPLOST budget issues. DeKalb Schools will be promoting a GO bond. Everybody gets a carrot except for Chamblee, they apparently get the stick.

I have 20+ articles I need to write. Most of them fall under this umbrella, so let’s start here.


Summary of 3‐Step Process
E‐SPLOST and GO Bond Options
Budget and Scope Adjustments

E‐SPLOST V projects are projected to cost approximately $95 million more than the current budget


Step 1: Balance E‐SPLOST V Budget to $561 M (October 2019)

Step 2: Approve GO Bond for March 2020 Referendum to fund additional projects, including some of those projects removed in step 1 (November 2019)

Step 3: E‐SPLOST V Adjustments after GO Bond Passes to restore projects to E‐SPLOST V, if GO Bond referendum passes in March 2020 (April 2020)

Step 1: Balance E‐SPLOST V Budget to $561 M (October 2019)

Option 1
No – Arts School
No – Peachtree MS Addition
No – Lakeside HS Addition
Yes – Chamblee Charter HS Addition

No – Chamblee Charter HS Addition
No – Lakeside HS Addition
Yes – Arts School
Yes – Peachtree MS Addition

Step 2: Approve GO Bond
With the GO (General Obligation) Bond, we can have all the projects removed from option 1 and 2 above plus 5 new elementary schools.


• General obligation (GO) bonds are bonds backed by a debt service property tax.
• GO Bonds require voter approval by referendum (March 2020)
• Bond would be sold Summer 2020 and paid back over 15 years
• The debt service property tax is separate from school operations property tax and is not factored in the 25 mill maximum rate for school operations

• Henderson Mill ES
• Toney ES
• Stoneview ES

• No turf installation at the high schools
• No arts school
• Cut many major projects
• Chamblee MS consolidates with Sequoyah MS

OPTION – No Chamblee Addition
• Move the Chamblee Charter HS magnet to new Cross Keys HS to avoid any building additions

Chamblee Middle School

Chamblee Middle School Splost Option


Chamblee is being told they don’t have to have the building additions. They could avoid building additions by moving the high achievers magnet program to the new Cross Keys HS.

• Move High Achievers Magnet program (600 seats) from Chamblee Charter HS to New Cross Keys HS in Step 1
• Add 21 classrooms to New Cross Keys HS (98 IU → 119 IU)

Step 1 Adjustments

• Remove Chamblee Charter HS Addition
• Restore Fairington ES and Hawthorne ES
• Add $8 M ‐ $14.6 M to New Cross Keys HS for 21 additional classrooms
• Use any remaining savings ($0 ‐ $6.6 M) for other projects as decided
by the Board


Options To Address E-SPLOST Budget Issues
May 13, 2019 – In earlier posts, I discussed E-SPLOST Budget Overruns and Projects on Hold. What’s the plan? Here are the options we are currently looking at.