Category Archives: Redistricting

Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools

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 Redistricting 2019
The upcoming redistricting process will determine new attendance lines and balance student enrollment in the Dunwoody Cluster. In addition to Austin Elementary, the redistricting process could impact any (or all) of the Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools.

Redistricting Process
The redistricting processes will follow the District’s standard redistricting process driven by three rounds of increasingly specific community input. Once all three rounds of community input are complete, a Superintendent Recommended Redistricting Plan will be presented to the Board for approval.

Meetings will be held at Dunwoody HS Auditorium (7:00 PM):
5035 Vermack Road Dunwoody, GA

• Round 1 – Thursday, September 26, 2019
• Round 2 – Wednesday, October 23, 2019
• Round 3 – Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Austin Elementary School Redistricting

THREE MEETING PROCESS

Meeting 1: The purpose of the first meeting is to gather general feedback from the community before any options are created or presented.

Meeting 2: The second meeting introduces two to four options and allows the public to provide feedback on them.

Meeting 3: The third meeting presents one “Staff Recommended” option and gives the public one more opportunity to provide feedback.

Board Approval: After the third public meeting, Planning staff incorporate all public feedback into a “Superintendent-Recommended Redistricting Plan”.

More information on the redistricting website: www.dekalbschoolsga.org/redistricting


RELATED POSTS

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).


REDISTRICTING POLICY (DeKalb Schools Policy AD)
Good question Ben Greenwald. I’ll promote the response to the body of the post.

An attendance area shall be established and maintained for each school in the DeKalb County School District, with the exception of certain district-wide schools. The attendance area shall relate to the neighborhoods surrounding and in which the school is located. Students must attend the school serving the attendance area where they reside unless an exception is provided by law or Board policy.

A. Alteration of School Attendance Areas

School attendance areas may need to be altered for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, population changes, capacity or operating efficiency concerns, change in the use of a school, closure of a school, and the opening of a new school. The Board, upon recommendation of the Superintendent, may alter school attendance areas. The Superintendent’s recommendations for alterations in school attendance areas shall be based on the following primary criteria:

1. Geographic proximity;
2. Instructional capacity; and
3. Projected enrollment.

When the primary criteria indicate more than one option for action, the options shall be evaluated on basis of one or more of the following:

1. Safety and traffic patterns;
2. Previous redistricting;
3. Intact neighborhoods;
4. Special programs, i.e., programs serving special needs students that require additional classroom space;
5. Condition of facility;
6. School feeder alignment;
7. Efficient and economical operations; or
8. Other criteria, to be publicly disclosed at or prior to a final decision by the Board.

The Superintendent shall develop a process for obtaining input from the community. In the case of school closures, the Board shall follow the procedures provided in state law regarding public hearings and comment. The Board, at its discretion, may accept, modify, or reject the recommendation of the Superintendent. The Board will base its final decision on the needs of all students in the District. The Board provides the Superintendent or his or her designee with the necessary authority to enact minor attendance area alterations that are consistent with the primary and secondary criteria listed above. Minor attendance area alteration are defined as a change in attendance area that involves the attendance line displaced no more than 1/8 of a mile from the Board approved attendance line and that involves a change of enrollment (positive or negative) of five or less (currently enrolled) students. The Superintendent shall notify the Board of any attendance area alterations.

B. Students Living in Areas Where Attendance Lines Are Altered

When attendance lines are altered, all students must attend the school serving their new attendance area, except that students rising into the highest grade available in an elementary school or middle school or rising into grades 11 or 12 in a high school will have the option of either continuing in their former school with no transportation provided by the District or attending the new home school with transportation provided under Policy ED. Students who choose the Board Policy AD: School Attendance option of remaining in their former school may later transfer to their new home school. Once the student has transferred to the new home school, the student cannot transfer back to the former school.

Building Additions Vs Redistricting & Consolidating

DeKalb Schools has 6,167 high school seats not being used. Why aren’t we talking about redistricting and consolidating high schools?


Nancy Jester
Nancy Jester is the DeKalb County Commissioner from District 1. Prior to being elected to the Board of Commissioners, Nancy served on the DeKalb County Board of Education.


Redistrict and Consolidate DeKalb Schools High Schools

Commissioner Nancy Jester

Nancy Jester
DeKalb County Commissioner

In 2016 DCSD embarked on a plan to spend eSPLOST V revenue that included large additions to recently renovated schools in north DeKalb and dismissed the idea of building a Doraville/Perimeter area high school to deal with the overcrowding in the area.

The main themes DCSD used for spending eSPLOST dollars in north DeKalb included building a new high school for Cross Keys and no redistricting with the building additions. The idea that redistricting would not be a part of the plan to deal with overcrowding was ridiculous and a deception, in my opinion. Once CKHS is completed, there will be a redistricting.

Now the district is pausing because the plans for these additions have larger than anticipated costs that are not within the eSPLOST budget. The district also indicated at a recent meeting that one of the reasons they have rejected building a new high school in the northern perimeter area is land cost. The district went on to discuss that they see the additions, now paused, as the final additions to Chamblee, Lakeside, and Dunwoody. I thought that was humorous as they only recently expanded and rebuilt these schools and their projections have always been so spot on. (Sorry – that was me being sarcastic.) Now that things are paused and the district is going back to the drawing board to determine how to deal with the overcrowding issue, I thought it would be a good idea to take an inventory of the variables we should all be considering.

DeKalb Schools has 6,167 high school seats not being used. There are 10 high schools at less than 80% utilization. McNair is only 41% utilized.

In the 5 schools with overcrowding, they have a total of 1,305 more students than capacity. We can redistrict all the schools with overcrowding for free and still have 4,862 high school seats not being used.

Here are my thoughts and concerns:

1. The building additions have always been an unwise idea with poorly estimated construction costs. Now those costs are ballooning, meaning that any upgrades some parents thought they could get for their schools are even less likely.
2. Needed parking improvements might be on the chopping block.
2. Redistricting is unavoidable no matter the path.
3. Land cost in the Doraville/Perimeter area are not going to get cheaper while that region will continue to add residents and students.
4. It is unfair to the students and taxpayers to have extremely low enrollments at some schools.

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