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