Monthly Archives: April 2019

E-SPLOST Budget Overruns and Projects on Hold

The current DeKalb Schools budget for E-SPLOST V projects is $561 million. The most recent estimated cost for those projects is $684.4 million. We are roughly 22% over budget (not including any project adjustments made for recent enrollment forecasts).

Enrollment Adjusted Estimated Costs
Due to the most recent enrollment forecasts, most of the building addition projects have either been reduced or cancelled. However, Chamblee Charter HS addition will stay the same and Dunwoody HS is getting 1,000 seats. Accounting for the reductions and cancellations, the enrollment adjusted estimated cost is $638 million ($77 million over current budget).

The new facilities and additions by themselves are projected to be $21 million over budget.

ESLPOST V Project Area Current Budget New Estimated Costs Enrollment Adjusted Estimated Costs
Safety and Security Improvements $12,872,000 $40,629,074 $40,629,074
New Facilities and Additions $304,890,566 $372,197,439 $325,969,237
Facility Condition Improvements $96,948,000 $107,091,710 $107,091,710
Technology Improvements $65,000,000 $68,300,000 $68,300,000
Buses, Vehicles, and Equipment $40,075,000 $40,075,000 $40,075,000
Management Support and Contigency $41,214,434 $56,742,726 $56,742,726
Grand Total $561,000,000 $685,035,949

Increased Construction Costs
Increasing construction costs can be attributed to numerous things including a robust construction market, rising cost of labor due to low unemployment, material costs, tariffs on imported construction materials and more stringent building requirements.

Projects ON HOLD Due to Insufficient Funds

1. Cross Keys MS Converstion and Addition ($10 M)
2. Cedar Gove HS Auditorium ($6 M)
3. Clarkston HS Addition ($18 M)
4. New Cross Keys HS ($84.8 M)
5. Chamblee Charter HS Addition ($21.5 M)
6. Dunwoody HS Addition ($17.7 M)
7. Lakeside HS Addition ($26 M)
1. Arts School ($11 M)

Options to Address Budget Issues

Revenues over the last 6 years have doubled while the number of students has remained the same. However, the school district is looking into borrowing money.

Option 1: $63 Million COPS – Finance Dunwoody HS addition, Lakeside HS addition and the Arts School.

Option 2: $80 Million GO Bond – Finance Dunwoody HS addition, Lakeside HS addition, the Arts School and add $17 million to capital renewal.

Option 3: $100 Million GO Bond – Finance Dunwoody HS addition, Lakeside HS addition, the Arts School, add $5 million to capital renewal, New Cross Keys MS Conversion, Cedar Grove HS Auditorium, Clarkston HS addition.

Option 4: Nothing – Eliminate the projects on hold, decrease most project areas and increase program contingency by $11 million.

Moving Forward

The Board of Education will have illegal rolling meetings behind closed doors over the next week to prioritize projects and discuss the funding options.

Old Austin Elementary School – Need Input

What is the plan for the Old Austin Elementary School?

The New Austin Elementary School (AES) is on schedule to open January 2020.

The Old Austin Elementary School was part of the land swap and is owned by the City of Dunwoody. In anticipation of the new site opening, the old AES site has been neglected and is on its last leg.

The old AES was designated “unsuitable” I suspect for the following reasons:

  • Couldn’t find a swing place for the students while a new school was being build.
  • Administration insisted on building an elementary school with a capacity of 900 and the current site was small.
  • Utility hazards
  • Needs major renovations

On the day the New AES opens, the Dunwoody Cluster will still have over 500 students across the cluster in trailers. Dunwoody High School has a capacity of 1,500 students, currently has 2,100 students and is expected to have 2,300+ students by 2021.

Dunwoody High School
Enrollment: 2,095
Capacity: 1,509

Peachtree Charter Middle School
Enrollment: 1,589
Capacity: 1,213

Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts
January 3, 2019 – DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has updated the long-term enrollment forecasts for each school year from the Fall of 2019 through the Fall of 2025. Even with these conservative estimates, Dunwoody HS (DHS) enrollment is expected to exceed 2,300 by 2021.

Options – Using Old AES
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. The following list is not comprehensive and just some thoughts that are on the table. I don’t believe any of these options are permanent. But, as the saying goes, there is nothing so permanent as a temporary solution.

Option 1 – Use Old AES as a K-5 thereby alleviating trailers for elementary schools in the cluster.

Option 2 – Use Old AES as a K-6, make PCMS 7-9 and DHS 10-12. This would alleviate the overcrowding at the high school.

Option 3 – Use Old AES as a 6th grade academy. Not sure how viable that is … but it was thrown out there.

I’m starting to get emails and would like to have a community discussion.

  • Please let me know if you have students and in what school(s).
  • What are your thoughts about using the Old AES?
  • What is your suggestion for addressing the 500+ elementary students that will still be in trailers once the New Austin ES opens?

Related Posts

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).

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.