SPLOST V – Project List – Sorry Dunwoody, Chamblee and Lakeside

Sorry School Councils, the administration is adding a couple projects to the project list and your piece of the pie just got smaller. I don’t know what the administration promised, but go ahead and officially take as much as 35% off of that now.
School councils were asked to provide input into the over crowding solution. The decision was effectively between a new Doraville cluster or adding seats at the current schools. DeKalb Schools planning provided estimates and told various school councils that additions would include renovations to common spaces like the cafeteria, gymnasium, parking lot, athletic fields, media, and art centers. I’m told by various school council chairs that these renovations played a big part in their decisions.
Lakeside HS, Dunwoody HS and Peachtree MS are over crowded. Both schools have campuses and surrounding infrastructure that cannot handle the number of students they have now. Lakeside HS School Council Position asks the district for 1000 more seats. Dunwoody HS School Council asks for 600 seats and Peachtree MS PCMS Foundation asks for 450 seats.
I’m sorry to say, the list of renovations your schools will see just got shorter. Over the next 7 years, expect that list to get even shorter.
Original Round 3 Estimates

New Classroom Additions Cost
1. 600 seat addition at Dunwoody HS $23 million
2. 450 seat addition at Peachtree MS $17 million
3. 900 seat addition at Lakeside HS $34 million
4. 500 seat addition at Chamblee HS $19 million

Latest Estimates

School Final Recommendation Change in Seats New Estimates Change In Funding
1 Dunwoody HS 600 seats (2,100 seat capacity) 0 $16.4 million – 29%
2 Peachtree MS 450 seats (1,700 seat capacity) 0 $13.9 million – 18%
3 Lakeside HS 750 seats (2,500 seat capacity) – 17% $22.1 million – 35%
4 Chamblee HS 600 seats (2,400 seat capacity) + 17% $16.4 million – 14%

Oct 4 – 18, 2016
Five regional meetings to discuss and gather feedback related to the development of the 2017‐2022 E‐SPLOST V project list. Each public hearing will be at 7 p.m. at the following locations:
• Oct. 4, 2016 at Tucker High School (Region 2)
• Oct. 11, 2016 at Miller Grove High School (Region 4)
• Oct. 13, 2016 at Chamblee High School (Region 1)
• Oct. 17, 2016 at Columbia High School (Region 5)
• Oct. 18, 2016 at Stone Mountain High School (Region 3)
Oct 4 – 24, 2016
• Online Survey on draft E-SPLOST project list
Nov 7, 2016
• Board COW discussion on E-SPLOST project list
Dec 5, 2016
• Formal Board approval of E-SPLOST project list

29 responses to “SPLOST V – Project List – Sorry Dunwoody, Chamblee and Lakeside

  1. Somewhat dubious

    SO, what does that mean? If there are not going to be seats added, then what is the solution?

  2. With the severely reduced funding estimated in the final recommendation, the schools will still see the extra seats. However, they will not get many if any of the other “renovations” the school councils were told they would get.

  3. DeKalb Inside Out

    Lakeside High School, give up on the idea of creating a 9th grade academy at some sort of satellite campus or any other off campus building. I’d be curious to see what you can get for $22M. Adding 750 seats at LHS? You guys are crazy!

  4. This is infuriating. Adding classrooms without adding common spaces fails our students. There are already not enough computer labs, cafeteria seats, gyms space, etc. at Peachtree Charter Middle School. Some kids go to lunch as early as 10:45 in the morning. By 2022, I guess we will be having kids eating lunch before 10:00.
    The solution that is required is a new cluster. Adding on to every school, while not adding common spaces, will make the learning environment at every school in the region worse.

  5. Making the cafeteria larger and increasing cafeteria service capacity is relatively easy. Every project after that is increasingly more complicated/expensive and physically impossible … there is only so much land.
    I would like to remind people, I took this picture down the street from Dunwoody High School a few weeks ago. The students start showing up an hour before school starts to get a parking space on the street. They then sit in their car and sleep, eat breakfast, play on their phone, etc … until school starts.

  6. The parking problem could be fixed with no parking signage (city?), parking spot lotteries for students and better bus options. Parking is not actually a real problem…take a look at what other schools and areas are facing.

  7. Stan, what is the alternative you suggest? Redistrict portions of Dunwoody? Which parts? The areas near PCMS…the folks who can actually walk to school? Redistricting us for HS makes no sense either. We are all in Dunwoody.

  8. Chamblee High Parent

    This is why the plan that created a new Doraville High School was the right plan. Unfortunately the self righteous managed to dupe the folks at APES by promising them a new high school and effectively killed the Doraville High Plan. The self-righteous screamed that Doraville would only be a CK2 high school and brought race into the whole equation. You had self-righteous teachers (GeorgiaEducator) falsely speak out about how racist the folks were at Chamblee High School and why this it was so needed that we “combine” everyone together and stop those horrible, racist kids at CCHS. You have a CKFoundation threatening lawsuits and as a result has the ear of leadership of DCSB.
    Its a utter disaster and will result in CCHS going down the toilet. Sell your house now before property values tank.

  9. Can we believe these new estimates, that a 600 seat high school addition will cost $16.4M? I think not!
    The Round 1 Secondary Schools DCSD presentation (slide 33) included these ACTUAL costs of the most recent new middle and high school construction in DCSD:
    New Schools: Chamblee HS 1,600 seats $62 million
    McNair MS 1,200 seats $34 million
    Additions: MLK HS 400 seats $17 million
    SW DeKalb HS 600 seats $22 million
    Miller Grove HS 200 seats $6 million
    Why should we believe that in the future it will cost less to build?
    If it recently cost $22M to build a 600 seat addition at Southwest DeKalb HS, how can it now cost $16.4M to build 600 seat additions at Dunwoody and Chamblee? How can it now cost $22M to build a 750 seat addition at Lakeside?
    Also, DCSD said that between September 27 and October 4 they found a way to save $10M on the construction of the new Brookhaven high school.
    I’m sorry, but I have no confidence in these estimates.
    *** I also note that this slide lists Chamblee Charter High School as having 1600 seats, not the 1810 that DCSD now claims is its capacity. But hey, what’s 210 seats “among friends?”

  10. Jane, Adding seats to Dunwoody HS or Lakeside HS is not a scalable solution. We cannot add 600 – 1000 seats every 5 to 10 years. I’m concerned it is not currently a viable solution at DHS. I’m positive it’s not currently a viable solution on the current LHS campus. To solve over crowding, obviously we have to either add seats or remove students. The school district has policies to guide redistricting.

  11. I am baffled by this. Who is the “administration” mentioned above? Is it not correct that nothing is “approved” until the board votes on it? We need amendments to the proposed project list. These “solutions” are completely bogus and not at all what voters intended when approving SPLOST. These are our tax dollars and our elected (and hired) officials – this train needs to be stopped now!

  12. Executive Branch – The executive branch at DeKalb Schools are the decision making officials at the central office led by the Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Green.
    Legislative Branch – The school board is the legislative branch, the policy making body of the school district.
    Board Approval – The ESPLOST project list will be presented to the board by the administration in November. It is expected that the board will vote on it in December.
    The best way to confer your thoughts are to speak with your school council/cluster summit who can make a recommendation to the board and administration. Be sure to also speak with your board member representative, make public comments at board meetings and attend public meetings where the administration goes out to elicit feedback on their proposals.

  13. Somewhat dubious

    This was why I asked the question when options were passed with caveats from school councils. There is no way that we can add more seats and NOT increase the size of the public spaces. At PCMS, the school cannot have a pep rally or any kind of assembly that would fit the entire school population. Currently, the lunch periods are exactly what Jay described above. If the common spaces cannot fit the population, then a new cluster has to be created. It cannot be done both ways. As far as land size at PCMS, it would seem that there would be a lot leftover once the portables were gone… or are the portables still going to be there because 450 seats doesn’t solve the overcrowding?

  14. Here’s the catch: Caveats and “provisionally supporting” an option are meaningless. Once we start down the path there is no turning back. We can’t start building additions to all these schools and then decide the additions to Dunwoody HS or Lakeside HS aren’t going to work out. So, when the board votes in December, there’s no caveats and provisions.
    I promise some of the common/public spaces will be addressed. At the very least, the cafeteria will be enlarged. Otherwise, we just don’t know what common spaces will be renovated for years.
    PCMS – It is a big piece of property and can accommodate a lot more development. I don’t know what they plan on doing with the various surplus portables. Some are leased and some are owned by the school district. I don’t know which are owned/leased at PCMS.

  15. Avoided my question well. And what about my comment about parking?

  16. Stan, sorry to be so slow. So you are saying that the ESPLOST-V funds for the Chamblee, Dunwoody, PCMS, and Lakeside additions are only for those classroom seats, and that NOTHING is included in the ESPLOST-V plan for adding cafeteria/kitchen capacity or media center capacity or parking capacity to accommodate the extra 450 or 600 or 750 students who will fill those extra seats?

  17. Parking – Yeah, we could ration the parking permits, make parking illegal within a mile of the school and tell everybody else to either walk or ride the bus. That’s an option.
    ESPLOST-V funds – These are all inclusive funds for adding seats. It includes some sort of list of renovations to common spaces. We need to solidify exactly what project list is included in these estimates before approving.

  18. Stan,
    You mention that the list of renovations at the schools just got shorter. Did the district tell the BOE that renovations were being cut back at each of these schools or are they saying they “over estimated” the costs of each addition and corresponding common spaces? How are we to know what exactly they are planning at each school when all we have is their word that “architects” have come out and said additons at each school are “feasible”.
    Cafeterias are not as easy as adding space for more tables and chairs. Many additions have previously required expansions to the kitchens as well, to accomodate additional serving lines, storage space for foods/supplies, and freezer/cooking spaces for the additional hundreds of students. Doubt these additions will be any different.

  19. I haven’t seen a breakdown of any of these estimates. I’m seeking clarity.

  20. Stan,
    You open with, “Sorry School Councils, the administration is adding a couple projects to the project list and your piece of the pie just got smaller. ”
    Can you link the new projects which got added? Are they in the handout that was posted, or is there an updated version?

  21. BringBack4-5 academy

    Parking and traffic is an issue and needs addressed. DHS is in the middle of a residential neighborhood unlike most other high schools. Dunwoody zone needs to be smaller not more seats added. Hightower is furthest away, then probably the eastern side of Kingsley attendance zone would be next to be rezoned. The city borders mean nothing since there is no city school district and probably never will be one.
    It is apparent the DHS council got played by the district office. So naive. They actually believed the $23 million was theirs. That’s what happens when you follow the lead of a lib Kingsley mom afraid she’s being rezoned. If you are so interested in this diversity issue, donate your white snowflakes to the diversity cause, like those Sagamore moms.

  22. Slightly off topic, but is anyone familiar with the plans for North Dekalb Stadium at CCHS? I understand money from the Splost V was budgeted for a new track and field in 2016, but I heard rumors it might be a complete overhaul of the aging stadium in 2017. Any info appreciated, thanks.

  23. If the board votes to NOT approve the ESPLOST project list what happens next?

  24. At the Sept. 27th meeting, the plan the consultants presented exceeded the allotted pot of money available by $30 million or close. DCSD administration and consultants then stated the projects were essential and gave several ways they could fund the overage. Are they now adding other new schools and additions to that pot of money that is already over budget? If so, what are these projects and will they also be funded by these other means they presented or by taking money from the schools getting additions? Why are these 4 schools’ projects suddenly able to be completed for anywhere between 14% and 35% less? Something is fishy here.
    Stan, where can we find answers? Seems like the boomerang is about to come back to bite these schools in the rear.

  25. Over DCDS, when have you seen this BOE vote down anything Dr. Green’s or Mr. Thurmond’s admin have presented? Whether the project list changes or not, I can’t imagine the BOE not approving whatever the admin presents in December….whether it is in the best interests of the whole district or not.

  26. Based on Stan’s post today, it appears the 4 schools have lost funding in order to double the cost of Clarkston’s addition, add an auditorium to Cedar Grove and add an addition to Freedom Middle. So…how will these 4 schools get their additions and the promised infrastructure upgrades to accomodate the increased capacity with so much less money per project? If their estimates were off by that much between July and September (meaning each project had that much extra to spare – highly unlikely without cutting something), how can we trust any dollar amounts they are providing or trust any promises about what each school will receive?

  27. AB wrote- “Based on Stan’s post today, it appears the 4 schools have lost funding in order to double the cost of Clarkston’s addition, add an auditorium to Cedar Grove and add an addition to Freedom Middle.”
    Please come visit us at Freedom Middle or Clarkston High School. How would like your children to be placed in one of those schools? After seeing the conditions of those schools, I don’t think you would have much to complain about. Allgood Elementary’s roof has been leaking for 3+ years. Our students have to walk down hallways lined with trashcans to catch the rainwater.
    In regards to Stan’s picture about students getting to school an hour early and having to sleep in their cars…play on their cell phone- I think they have the right to take a bus just like the rest of the population. It is VERY rear to see a student with a car down at Clarkston.
    This week, it was released that 4 elementary schools and 1 high school tested POSITIVE FOR LEAD down in an area that is truly neglected. So as you complain about auditoriums and parking, we are worried about our CHILDREN BEING POISONED and not knowing how to read!!! But you wouldn’t see that on Stan Jester’s blog! He is not worried about DeKalb County Schools- he is worried about what he can get for the schools that are already succeeding. If you attend church on Sundays, please listen to how Jesus treated the poor. And please think about advocating for a population whose voices may not be as loud, as we lack the same financial resources as you.

  28. MQ, I am not actually complaining about the amount of money being reduced. I don’t believe the additions are the appropriate long term solution and would prefer those budgets be zeroed out and a new cluster created for a long term solution. My post was only to identify where it looks like the district has “found” that money and to question their true ability to navigate the SPLOST V funds. If you read the rest of my post, I suggest that we have not really been given any concrete reason to believe any promises made by the district..that goes for academics, facility issues, safety issues, etc. It is appalling that DCSD has $400 million in reserves, that the district for the first time this year is funding schools at the state required minimum, and that schools have trash cans catching water (and have had them for 5-6 years!) and have 26 schools on the failing list. Parking is low on my totem pole. Many of us have “entitled” our children, to their detriment, and sadly aren’t tuned in to those who are less fortunate. Check out Milton Creagh’s book “Nobody Wants Your Child”. I strive to do for others and will continue to in hopes of affecting change, albeit it small.

  29. MQ
    Don’t blame Stan for the shi*hole of a school in your area. Stan has been on the Board for a very short time, and a minority in DeKalb. Your anger should be directed at Michael Thurmond and Ramona Tyson and the other black leaders of the school district. $400 million in cash and they don’t care about you or the kids at your school. Show me a blog or web site of a black school board member putting out info and accepting comments. I’ll be waiting. Give Sup Green credit for the lead checks. But he’s not from here and not yet corrupt in the Friends and Family program.