Category Archives: Druid Hills Annexation

Atlanta & Atlanta Public Schools Annexing DeKalb

Stan Jester
DeKalb County
Board Of Education

If Emory is annexed into Atlanta, we are likely to see the adjoining Druid Hills neighborhoods petition for annexation as well.
The Druid Hills area generates substantial tax revenue for the school district. In addition to the property tax revenue from the area, each student “earns” the school district funding from the state; commonly referred to as QBE funding. During the 2014 debate about a Druid Hills Charter Cluster, interesting budget calculus was discussed that revealed the area generates substantially more funding than it receives in school services. This “excess” funding, is used by the school district to support other spending and jobs outside of the Druid Hills area. If the Druid Hills area is annexed, DeKalb Schools would lose this subsidy.
Druid Hills is in unincorporated DeKalb County and school children living in the area are zoned to attend DeKalb County Schools. Students in Atlanta, regardless of the county in which they live, attend Atlanta Public Schools (APS). If Atlanta annexes any neighborhoods in Druid Hills, those neighborhoods would become part of the City of Atlanta.

Update 12/5/2017 – Atlanta expands eastward by completing annexation of Emory and CDC – Atlanta officials completed the largest expansion of the city’s borders in 65 years Monday, absorbing Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention despite objections that the move takes money from DeKalb County public school students.
Until last week, the annexation proposal didn’t alter DeKalb school districts. That changed at the urging of Council members and Atlanta Public Schools. They argued that schools should be included in any incorporation. The change in schools takes effect July 1

Question: If Atlanta annexes the Druid Hills area should the families in the annexed area attend Atlanta Public Schools? Should the school real estate property in the annexed area go to Atlanta Public Schools too?
The law says YES (Fulton County BOE v. College Park BOE), but DeKalb Schools Superintendent says NO!
Proposed Emory annexation and changes to school district boundaries

Superintendent Stephen Green

By: Dr. Stephen Green
Superintendent, DeKalb County School District

The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) will always and empathically stand against the placement of political considerations over the welfare and education of children. The decision to include the unchecked expansion of the Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) boundaries as part of the proposed annexation of Emory University by the City of Atlanta is a clear example of such an action.
The desire of the families in the Druid Hills community is clear; to maintain the 100-year alignment with DCSD. The inclusion of the APS boundaries in the proposed annexation ignores that while establishing a dangerous precedent where one of Georgia’s most affluent school systems, one with a large political power base, can prey upon their neighbors and chip away at a less affluent school district’s ability to serve its children.
The facts in this unfettered overreach and deal-making are clear. The expansion is irrelevant and unnecessary: it was not included in the original plan and was shoehorned in at the 11th hour. The expansion is about money: the change in boundaries impacts just 10 students yet will strip $2.5 million in vital resources from DCSD. The expansion is about power: APS’ legislative agenda is to use annexations as a springboard to slice swaths of resources from its eastern neighbors.
The expansion is not about education or children.
There is no clear, thoughtful rationale of how this school district boundary change can positively impact children. DCSD is prepared to face down the challenge to its ability to educate its students in every available and appropriate forum. When faced with the choice between politics and the welfare of children, this particular district will always choose children.
Beyond the selfish stripping of resources from disadvantaged students, we are also disappointed in the lack of engagement and partnership with APS on this issue. We reached out in writing and through intermediaries at the highest levels, seeking to share our position and engage in productive dialogue with our neighbor and long-time collaborators. Those requests went unanswered and ignored. When it comes to the issue of educating our children, all governmental entities have a duty and responsibility to work collaboratively for the mutual benefit and success of all students, regardless of school district.
When one district is allowed to operate in a manner that clearly and unambiguously harms students in another district, all of our children, as well as our communities, will suffer, and the economic prosperity and growth of our region will be endangered. Yet the legislative agenda of APS clearly shows a commitment to a blueprint for future annexations without concern for who is harmed.
The DeKalb County School District soundly rejects this overreach and its implications for the future. We recognize that the desires of the Druid Hills community have been ignored. We face the reality that precious resources will be forcibly taken from our students. And, most importantly, we are dismayed that the promise not to change school district boundaries as part of the Emory annexation was broken.
Dr. Stephen Green
Superintendent, DeKalb County School District

Emory Annexation and DeKalb County Schools
October 16, 2017 – Marshall Orson, DeKalb Schools Board Member, will be affected if Atlanta’s annexation into DeKalb goes any further. He has been following this issue closely and provides this analysis and update. “In previous annexations in this area, the city ordinances were drafted to alter school district boundaries, shifting annexed areas into APS …”

Carstarphen And APS Desire To Expand Into DeKalb
August 31, 2017 – Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Superintendent Carstarphen signals that she plans on APS annexing DeKalb Schools as the City of Atlanta increases its borders into DeKalb.

Emory Annexation Dominos
September 7, 2016 – If Emory is annexed into Atlanta, it isn’t a stretch to see the scenario where the adjoining neighborhoods, including Druid Hills High School and two other elementary schools, would eventually end up annexed as well.

Marshall Orson On Annexation and the Druid Hills Cluster
January 9, 2015 – Marshall Orson, DeKalb Schools Board Member, talks about the Druid Hills Cluster and annexation saying, “Perhaps it would have been better to just say nothing but I think an informed public is critical to any decisions that may be made. So, here goes:”

Annexation – What happens to the Property
December 16, 2014 – QUESTION: What happens to county school district property when a city annexes an area in that county?

Druid Hills Annexation Into APS
December 15, 2014 – Denied the Druid Hills Cluster, a subset of the cluster known as Together in Atlanta (TIA) has put together a petition to be annexed into Atlanta with the purpose of “more responsive and locally-controlled schools, zoning, and other governmental services.”

Carstarphen And APS Desire To Expand Into DeKalb

Carstarphen in the center, geared up and ready to play

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Superintendent Carstarphen signals that she plans on APS annexing DeKalb Schools as the City of Atlanta increases its borders into DeKalb.
As reported by the AJC, Carstarphen indicates she expects the City Council to allow the school system to expand as the city expands. Writes Carstarphen:
“I am pleased to see the City grow, and we are excited to learn that outstanding institutions like Emory University, the CDC, and CHOA want to become part of the City of Atlanta. The School Board and I want to ensure that the students and families served by APS also get to participate in that growth.”


Emory Annexation Dominos
September 7, 2016 – Once Emory is annexed into Atlanta, it isn’t a stretch to see the scenario where the adjoining neighborhoods, including Druid Hills High School and two other elementary schools, would eventually end up annexed as well.

QUESTION: What happens to county school district property when a city annexes an area in that county?
ANSWER: Annexation – What happens to the Property – It would appear that if Druid Hills is annexed into Atlanta Public Schools (APS), or if any new city school districts form in DeKalb, all educational matters including taxing and title to real estate held by the county are likely to move to APS or new cities respectively.
DeKalb County Schools sued Atlanta (DeKalb County School District v. City Of Atlanta 2016CV284278) for annexing homes near Emory University. The annexation, approved by the city last year, took in more than 100 residents on 16.31 acres. County leaders have publicly voiced concerns that Emory’s annexation push could prompt other neighborhoods to petition the city. Here is the Petition For Declarative Judgement on that case.
DCSD contended that Atlanta failed on at least two grounds to follow the statutory prescription for annexing property via what is commonly known as the “60% Method” provided for by O.C.G.A. §§ 36-36-30 through 36-36-40. DeKalb Schools also challenged the statutory scheme for annexation on due process grounds.
Motion To Dismiss
The court held a hearing on this case in April and granted a Motion to Dismiss in full a few days later.
Emory Annexation Dominos
If the Druid Hills/Fernbank area get annexed, the students within the new City of Atlanta will go to APS and the schools within the new City of Atlanta boundaries will become Atlanta Public School property. The ensuing negotiation for the transition will be interesting.
If these schools and certain territories are annexed, many of the students that currently attend these schools would be displaced. They could find themselves in DeKalb and their school suddenly outside of their school district. DeKalb will be forced to redistrict and find new schools for the approximately 2000 students that attend these DeKalb schools now but will be outside of the City of Atlanta boundaries. And, of course, the staff of those schools will need to be hired by APS or find other jobs within a smaller DeKalb district.

The Emory Wheel is reporting that a Sept. 5 vote to approve Emory University’s petition for annexation into the city of Atlanta has been postponed in an effort to resolve issues between Atlanta and DeKalb County, according to Atlanta City Councilmember and Emory Director of Development Alex Wan.
Emory filed for annexation in a June 27 petition and had anticipated its main campus to be annexed into the city of Atlanta by the first week of September. However, the Atlanta City Council delayed the vote following an Aug. 1 letter from DeKalb County Commission citing numerous objections, including increased demands on DeKalb County infrastructure and legal infirmities that require corrections or more collaboration before the proposal is approved.
Wan said that the Atlanta City Council is aiming to vote on the proposal by Dec. 4, which will be its last meeting of the year. If the proposal passes on time, the annexation would take place Jan. 1.

Superintendent Carstarphen on the hold for Superstar Jack Breedlove. Superstar Jack is in high school and kicks over 50 yards … by the way.