Author Archives: Stan Jester

Delay in New Austin ES Opening

New Austin ES estimated opening: January 2020

The DeKalb Schools Operations Division was informed last week that they are experiencing a delay in the opening of the new Austin ES.

As a result of the unforeseen discovery of buried trees, trash and other organics below the surface of the school site, excessive rain over the past six months, and a slight delay in proving a notice to proceed, the opening of the new Austin ES is now 147 days behind in the projected completion date, which has now shifted from a June 9, 2019, substantial completion date to November 21, 2019. 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).

Based on this delay, here are the implications:

• Redistricting process will be delayed one year: the process will occur in Fall 2019 (instead of Fall 2018) and the redistricting will be effective for Fall 2020 (instead of Fall 2019).

• The Austin ES existing school will move to the new building over Christmas break (2019-2020) for a partial (only existing Austin ES students) opening in January 2020. The redistricted students would then attend the new Austin ES in August 2020.

• DeKalb Schools will communicate with the City of Dunwoody regarding:

  1. Requesting a variance from their noise ordinance to allow construction to start at 6:30 AM Monday-Friday and 7:30 AM on Saturdays. DCSD will also request a 3:00 AM start for concrete pours for 8-10 specific days (similar to how we were allowed these hours from DeKalb County for Peachrest ES and Fernbank ES).
  2. Discuss the implications of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on the use of the existing Austin ES (which we are leasing back from the City)

The Operations Division is bringing a September 10th Board agenda item that will include a change order for the additional costs of the unforeseen discovery of buried trees, trash and other organics below the surface of the school site and the formalization of the schedule change.

8/27/2018 – UPDATE

Dan Drake, interim chief officer with DeKalb Schools, is slated to give an update and report on the construction on the new 900-seat elementary school at the Dunwoody City Council’s Aug. 27 meeting. His report is posted online:

UNSUITABLE SOILS – During site work activities, it was discovered that the baseball fields were essentially a landfill that contained buried trees, trash and other organics below the surface. In all, a total of 13,016 cubic yards of unsuitable material and trash was excavated and removed from the site.

REDISTRICTING – The redistricting process will be delayed one year: the process will occur in the Fall 2019 (instead of Fall 2018) and the redistricting will be effective for Fall 2020 (instead of Fall 2019). Existing Austin ES students will move to the new building over Christmas break (2019-2020) for a partial opening in January 2020. Redistricted students will not attend the new Austin ES until August 2020.

Related Posts

Austin Elementary School
Replacement Project Update

May 8, 2017 – The project is currently in the final design phase where all of the building and site elements are being detailed for construction.

Peachtree Middle School Ball Fields

Austin Rebuild – Approved by BOE
October 5, 2016 – On Monday, the DeKalb Schools Board unanimously approved an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for the purchase, sale and exchange of land with the City of Dunwoody. After everything is said and done, DeKalb Schools will pay the City of Dunwoody $3.6 million.

Austin ES Rebuild
Dunwoody Senior Baseball Fields

October 1, 2016 – As reported by Dunwoody Senior Baseball, the plan is to rebuild Austin Elementary at the site of the senior baseball fields and move Senior Baseball to some of the fields at Peachtree Charter Middle School.

School Readiness Report 2018-2019

Schools and Centers

• 76 Elementary Schools
• 19 Middle Schools
• 22 High Schools
• 14 Centers
• 8 Start-Up Charter Schools
• 7 Regions / Decentralization
139 Total Schools and Centers

Student Enrollment (PreK – 12)

• 100,341 students last year (FY2018)
• 100,406 projected enrollment this year (FY2019)

26 New Principals

1. Yul Toombs – International Student Center
2. Dr. Donnie Davis – Peachtree MS
3. Antoinette Seabrook – Brockett ES
4. Lakwanza Fields – Evansdale ES
5. Cassandra Moore – Henderson Mill ES
6. Kari Schrock – Laurel Ridge ES
7. Tara Doughtery – Midvale ES
8. Jocelyn Harrington – Pleasantdale ES
9. Tracy Harrell – Lithonia MS
10. Nicole Bullen – Hambrick ES
11. Dr. Sean Deas – Dunaire ES
12. Stephanie Brown-Bryant – Indian Creek ES
13. Ayesha Grandison – Jolly ES
14. Cathy Goolsby – Redan ES
15. Dr. Sylvia Hall-Sanders – Shadow Rock ES
16. Dr. Char-Shenda Covington – Stone Mountain ES
17. Dr. Wislene John – Stone Mountain HS
18. Pattie Lemelle – Clarkston HS
19. Michael Alexander – Chapel Hill MS
20. Dr. Latashia Searcy – Miller Grove HS
21. LaKeisha Griffith – Towers HS
22. Dr. Shelton Bernard – Cedar Grove HS
23. Marcia Coston-Scott – Cedar Grove MS
24. Eric Kemp – Bethune MS
25. Shaun Wells – McNair Discovery
26. Lisa Watkins – Narvie J. Harris ES

Student Support & Intervention

• Bullying/Harassment awareness training for administrators, teachers, bus drivers, and officers

• Implementation of additional PBIS schools and an increased focus on Restorative Practices and mental health awareness to address discipline disproportionality

• Continued implementation of “My Brother’s Keeper” and “Our Sister’s Keeper” ⎼ focusing on the reduction of disciplinary infractions, increased school attendance, and increased enrollment in advanced courses ⎼ in support of all students, especially students of color

• Official launch of Centralized Online Registration Center at former Avondale HS

• Intensify efforts to support homeless, foster, international, and migrant students through increased monitoring of academic, behavioral, and attendance data

Public Safety

• Addition of 10 School Resource Officers and 1 Sergeant to increase safety on campuses

• Close monitoring of gang activity, and increased community collaboration for gang prevention/education

• Decentralization of safety personnel to provide increased support in local schools

• Safe School Unit will be deployed to support local school sites and assist with safety barriers


• We have over 850 bus drivers transporting more than 50,000 students this year

• All bus-stop information has been placed on the District website and issued to local school principals

• 60 brand new propane buses will be on the road this Fall

School Nutrition Services

• Addition of Six Community Eligibility Provision Elementary Schools ⎼ Avondale, Dunaire, McLendon, Rainbow, Woodridge, and Woodward ⎼ for a new total of 40 schools

• Starting with Princeton Elementary, we are developing plans to implement 5 Supper Programs in 2019.

• Fernbank Science Center is piloting the use of eco-friendly, compostable meal trays for sustainability ⎼ effective September 2018.

• Implementation of a District-Wide School Nutrition Marketing Plan to improve meal presentation and customer service

• New menu format with innovative nutrition education featured each month; High School menus updated to include more student favorites; Menus available on the School Nutrition website


Raises and a formal Salary Step Structure to commence on July 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019 as follows:

• July 1, 2018: A 2.5% salary increase for all employees, except for: Principals, Assistant Principals, Directors and above, and AIC-based staff.

• January 1, 2019: A 2.5% salary increase for employees NOT included in the July 1, 2018 increase; Implementation of a formal Salary Step Structure for ALL staff.

Reduction of the operating millage rate from 23.28 mills to 23.18 mills in FY2019, resulting in a $2.3 million property tax reduction