Doraville Keeps Losing E-SPLOST V Projects

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“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them”    — Frederick Douglass (August 3, 1857)
Case in point:
Cary Reynolds ES and Indian Creek ES
This image has been part of every Dekalb Schools SPLOST presentation since May. Note that the graphic clearly states: “Approximately $60 million committed to two new elementary schools in the Cross Keys Cluster”.

At the most recent school board meeting (11/7), the promise to Doraville for a new elementary school was quietly removed from previous plans. It was supplanted with a rebuild for Indian Creek.
Not only should Doraville be getting a new elementary school to alleviate over crowding, Cary Reynolds should either be rebuilt entirely or have a far more significant renovation than is now planned. The District’s most recent plan shows Cary Reynolds as only getting a $5 million (Roof, HVAC, Site Improvements, Site Utilities – $5.55M). This won’t begin to address the overcrowding or inadequacies at that school.
Note: The main factors used to determine which schools need renovations, additions and/or rebuilds are:

  1. The Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) score;
  2. The Facility Educational Adequacy Assessment (FEAA) score; and
  3. The capacity and enrollment data and projections.

Also note: In 2016, 300 students were redistricted out of Cary Reynolds.

Enrollment Capacity PctCap Fcst Trailers FCA FEAA
Cary Reynolds 900 701 128% 905 20 31.62 51.43
Indian Creek 1,158 898 129% 1,070 12 38.43 80.17

While enrollment at Indian Creek has flattened out and declined over the last few years, enrollment at Cary Reynolds continues its steady increase.

Capacity 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Cary Reynolds 701 877 994 1058 1163 1193
Indian Creek 898 964 1056 1092 1,087 1064

It is also noteworthy that half the elementary schools surrounding Indian Creek ES are under capacity while all the elementary schools surrounding Cary Reynolds are at 110% – 120% capacity.
DeKalb Schools seems to well understand exactly what the city of Doraville will quietly submit to.

155 responses to “Doraville Keeps Losing E-SPLOST V Projects

  1. Chesnut is in the same boat. Many schools
    like Henderson Mill have also been passed over.
    I see that SPLOsT funds tend to be tied to money,
    politics and how much complaining is heard.

  2. I thought it was interesting that the district took down the Building Spaces “Data” page on 11/6 so people couldn’t compare the FCA scores.
    I made a bit of a stink about that and see the page is back up. Dr. Green is making his employees change their ways.

  3. Stan,
    Keep in mind that DCSD Planning data show that over 500 elementary-age students who live in the Cary Reynolds ES attendance zone attend other DCSD elementary schools. Nearly 200 elementary-age students who live in the Dresden ES attendance zone attend other DCSD elementary schools. (October 2015 Non-Resident Attendee Matrices)
    So, DCSD’s 6 Year Plan for elementary age students in the Northern part of the Cross Keys cluster is
    – Keep Cary Reynolds ES about 200 students OVER capacity
    – Keep Dresden ES about 150 students OVER capacity
    – Count on over 700 of those living in these attendance zones to travel out of their attendance zone to attend School Choice programs. In other words, get out!
    However, DCSD’s 6 year plan for elementary age students in the Southern part of the Cross Keys cluster is
    – Build a brand new 900 seat elementary school
    This sounds like a horribly unfair plan. Maybe these schools are happy to get money to fix the roof and HVAC and keep the trailer park. When a community has been ignored for so long perhaps crumbs seem like a feast. But that still doesn’t make it right.

  4. Wait. So basically they lied in order to pass another SPLOST? Oh the horror… they ‘never’ do that.

  5. Apparently the Brookhaven side of Cross Keys has more pull than the Doraville side. It’s sad that the Cross Keys Foundation isn’t as demanding about Doraville’s plight. The way the school district treats north DeKalb, and Doraville in particular, seems to result in something akin to battered wife syndrome. The Brookhaven part of Cross Keys is getting John Lewis Elementary, a new high school, and a renovated middle school at Cross Keys. Doraville, and Chamblee really, just deal with it, because you aren’t getting a thing except more overcrowding, less open space, and screwed up traffic.

  6. Let’s see if those hypocrite Option B supporters like Kim G and his Cross Keys Foundation and Rebecca Morris come to the aid of Doraville. I’m betting no – they have their shiny new high school and will now not want to ruffle waves. And APES? They sold their souls to the devil…

  7. Rebekah tells me that a lot of people in Cross Keys
    1) are happy to get whatever they can get
    2) aren’t focused on getting it “Right”
    3) want whatever they can get “Right Now”
    Rebekah, I believe, advocates for those that can’t advocate for themselves (please correct me if I’m wrong.) I, however, advocate for what is best and not expedient.

  8. Y’all know that this is also due to years of allocating money ‘evenly’ across the district – (well, after first ensuring that new schools were built to accommodate growth in south DeKalb) rather than where more seats are actually required. We can’t make decisions on spending ‘fairness’ (which is completely unfair ironically) – we should act grown up and fix what’s broken.
    BTW – shame on anyone who has anything negative to say about Kim. That man is the most tireless advocate I have ever met. Maybe Doraville needs a Kim clone? A lawyer? The mayor needs help – obviously. She is apparently advocating to a deaf ear.

  9. Does anyone think that the Indian Creek rebuild supplanted a new Doraville Elementary because it will be easier to pass a referendum for a bond backed by property tax millage to fund a Doraville ES at a later date? Will the referendum have a better chance at getting voters If the conditions at Cary Reynolds are presented as the need?

  10. Pravda & Insanity – you are only proving to those paying attention that you are just not examining the situation with open eyes and prefer name-calling to solutions. The children of Doraville are getting a “shiny new high school” in Option B. It is called, “Chamblee Charter High School.” Why is this so easy to ignore?
    This Option B-type outcome is PRECISELY what Doraville stakeholders have been advocating for loudly and consistently for nearly a decade (me included). Has anyone contradicted this actual fact? No. Please join me in advocating for Cary Reynolds area kids but don’t confuse this issue with the high school situation.
    Today Cross Keys kids are the children of Brookhaven, Chamblee AND Doraville. No quantity of obfuscation by you will change that fact. I believe they ALL will be better served by their secondary schools under Option B than today and I am open to a future where additional steps must be taken. Too many are making the mistake of viewing the hypothetical redistricting outcomes as finite, final and fixed before they even begin.
    A replacement Cross Keys HS facility will take years to open. The world will keep turning in the meantime. There is no reason why this prevents a future Doraville HS from also opening should it become a much more obvious need than today. I’m skeptical about that future need and that is why I view a “three high school” solution rather than a “four high school” solution as the best course for now.
    Hate on me personally if you like. Ignore my long record and ongoing efforts for the kids of Doraville, too. Neither change the reality of our history and only cloud the otherwise important debates in our community.

  11. Cere: aw! 🙂 I do appreciate your kindness and testimony. I’ll try to live up to it.

  12. Cary Reynolds ES … one of the foci of the ES overcrowding crisis that was finally acknowledged by DCSD on April 1, 20015. Is there anyone who believes these kids and this faculty do not deserve a proper facility? Anyone? Ok, that’s out of the way…
    We must not lose sight of the fact that there are really two issues for those of us who care about the Bulldogs in Doraville: 1) The facility is inadequate, but also, 2) It is grossly overcrowded.
    Even with the long-promised, new ES in the region there would have been kids “left behind” at Cary Reynolds. I personally have heartburn over that fact just as I do over the proposition from Option A and C “leaving behind” kids at Cross Keys HS. This was inserted into the dialog about a new “Doraville area” ES by me last year and is still a concern those the number of kids “left behind” now appears to be 100% in the revised project list.
    Let’s talk about the more complex situation everyone seems to want to ignore, then …

  13. So until this recent surprising change I was continually raising the question of whether the “new ES” should be in addition to, or a replacement for, Cary Reynolds. Though it seems this question it may be delayed in reality I believe it is still relevant.
    Take a look around the current Cross Keys ESes’ situation. During the past year unprecedented and extraordinary measures have been taken by DCSD since April 1, 2015. They opened seats at Fernbank to our kids, they reopened the ICS site as “John Lewis” for our kids, and they moved kids southward as they freed up seats at Montclair and Woodward as a result of the above. They completely scrapped and rebuilt the transportation team and plans for our BuHi ES kids and added regular shuttles to connect our “home ESes” with their satellite sites at John Lewis and Fernbank. Community stakeholders meet regularly with the functional area leaders to ensure the inevitable gaps and adaptations needed are addressed. Why does this matter? It is an example of the type of extraordinary steps that may be required to weather the next few years, especially for Cary Reynolds.
    Now look at Doraville attendance area and realize the core attendance area for Cary Reynolds is collapsed: it’s really the attendance area for both Cary Reynolds and the former attendance area school at Oakcliff ES. OES is now a theme school that serves: Dresden ES, Cary Reynolds ES, and Pleasantdale ES. What is its theme? “Traditional.” Oh, ok. What? Great school. But with the surrounding ESes on fire it is hard to defend it being de facto not part of the solution analysis.
    Pleasantdale ES is FINALLY moving forward as a replacement school. It has also been overcrowded and Oakcliff Theme has served in practice as a pressure valve relieving it. Is it time to discuss reopening Oakcliff ES as a service area attendance zone school and return the Pleasantdale kids to the new facility there when it opens? I think it is a valid question. With the “new John Lewis” also opening just 10 minutes down Buford Hwy from Dresden is it possible that a solution could be devised in the coming years that relies on Oakcliff and John Lewis for relieving Cary Reynolds? Yes.
    Is any of this to say that Indian Creek ES could also not be addressed with creative solutioning? No! I’m very disappointed that the Cary Reynolds/Doraville ES situation has so quickly vaporized and will work with anyone who is advocating in good faith for these kids and their school. Let there be no confusion about that!
    Gotta go eat some left over turkey with extended family now – I’ll be happy to come back and “talk turkey” here tomorrow and ongoing as it is important to me that honest dialog not be driven from the web by diatribes.

  14. The phrase: “With the “new John Lewis” also opening just 10 minutes down Buford Hwy from Dresden …” should read: “With the “new John Lewis” also opening just 10 minutes down Buford Hwy from Cary Reynolds…”
    It’s not five minutes from Dresden ES.

  15. Kim – you have yet to explain how a solution that impacts EVERY SINGLE KID is preferable to building one new high school that doesn’t impact anyone. Hello? Why are you FOR disrupting every single kid and disrupting and adding onto schools that do not have the land or infrastructure to support it.
    These aren’t name calling “diatribes.” These are fact based arguments by those on Northern Brookhaven and Chamblee and North Dunwoody.

  16. Thank you, Stan, for exposing what has happened with the es situation. I agree with your characterization of my positions, with only two points of disagreement– I try to advocate “alongside” (not “for”) my community. I also would agree with points 1 and 3 that you make, but I would disagree with #2. I think our CK cluster believes the OPTION B plan is both the best and the most expedient. No one — except maybe a few in the cluster — think that a Doraville HS is the best solution. I agree that Kim summed it up best (above) when he said: “A replacement Cross Keys HS facility will take years to open. The world will keep turning in the meantime. There is no reason why this prevents a future Doraville HS from also opening should it become a much more obvious need than today. I’m skeptical about that future need and that is why I view a “three high school” solution rather than a “four high school” solution as the best course for now.”
    I think this is where Mayor Pittman is, where I am, and where our CK community is.
    Let’s get money for our elementary schools and the new BIGGER (2500+ seat) high school at Cross Keys to address what is happening right noe. If down the road we need an additional HS, we can do it. SPLOST VI?
    Also, in case ppl don’t know, I work at CKHS, but I live right next door to Cary Reynolds. My 2 girls will be at CRES in 2 or 3 years. I care deeply about what happens in Doraville schools, as I am invested with both my family and my profession. I don’t see a problem with building the new CK and having our neighborhood districted to Chamblee Charter, or — if years down the road we determine its necessary — a new Doraville HS (to relieve overcrowding in the surrounding clusters).
    I hope ppl don’t think I just care about the Brookhaven side of the cluster. I obviously will be deeply affected by whatever happens — throughout the entirety of the cluster.

  17. When Mayor Pittman said last week that she “tirelessly advocates for a high school in Doraville”, I would say she wants a Doraville High School. Since that is not in the cards, like most residents of Doraville, they will acquiesce and take whatever they can get.
    This graph is enrollment at Cary Reynolds over the last 5 years. This is indicative of the population growth in general. As the GM Plant Site is developed, population is going to sky rocket along with property values.
    Brookhaven and Doraville need clusters. We are married to option B once it is passed. Once we start building on additions to the other high schools, the option to give Doraville a high school has left the station.

  18. Agree, Stan. Looking at Doraville’s own city website, listing “local schools”, – 3 of the local elementary schools within the municipality of Doraville are not in the overcrowded Cross Keys High cluster, but feed into The Dunwoody Cluster (Hightower ES) and Lakeside Cluster (Pleasantsale ES and Evensdale ES). Arguably, building a new Doraville High and feeding all of the elementary schools within the City of Doraville into a new Doraville cluster would negate the need for a Lakeside High addition.

  19. Plus a new elementary school in Doraville that the district was committed to up until they uncommitted a couple weeks ago (guess their fingers were crossed)

  20. Kim and Rebekah want to distort all school districts to push their diversity agenda to the extreme. While I love diversity, I do not love driving an hour extra each day so I can go to a school next to an insane intersection bordering I85 when there is a perfectly good school in my own neighborhood. And I also do not like this ultra-diversity that schools kids in white hate, white guilt, “white privilege”, and ignoring real debate about illegal immigration or refugees. When we are all labeled racists and subject to some racist witch hunt, it stifles real thought on how to make our immigration policies sustainable and positive for this country. Also when Rebekah Cohen implies that Trump voters are all racist on her blog, she implies that half the country is racist. This creates a culture of suspicion and race hate rather than race tolerance. A teacher should never directly support a particular political candidate in a classroom. If my child is redistricted for their school, I will have to say – thanks, but no thanks! And either move or enroll my children in another school. We need a school that is closer and that has a neighborhood feel. We need teachers, not indoctrinators. And the last thing we need are mega schools separated by 30 minutes of traffic away from our homes. Rebekah’s blog is all about diversity because she is obsessed with race. I’d rather have my child’s English teacher be obsessed with literature instead.

  21. Anon, I am so sorry that you feel that way about me. It makes me sad to see that my writing does not come off the way I desire it to. I never mean to imply that ppl who voted for Trump are racist. To do so would be a wrong characterization. I have many fanily and friends who voted for Trump and I know they are good people.
    I also want you to know that my blog is separate from my classroom, and my classes are places where critical thought and conversation is welcome and encouraged (as it is on my blog). I do not endorse political parties or candidates during class time, nor do I discount opinions of students and others who have different points of view. As a sidenote: Whatever I’m doing in my class can’t be that bad because my students received credit on the milestones test more than the average (80% of the class, compared with less than 60% statewide).
    I am not perfect, and there are many who would verify that ☺ I humbly ask that you would not take my blogs as an indictment on those who do not have my point of view, and I ask that you would give me insight on how I might begin to improve my writing in a way that would not come off as close-minded and judgmental. I really am not trying to come off that way.
    I only write in support of diversity because I have studied much on how diverse schools benefit everyone.
    However, my support of Option B does not only stem from this. I mainly support Option B because it makes the most financial sense, and it adequately addresses the need in the north Dekalb region. I think building bigger high schools (2500+ seats) is better than building smaller high schools in multiple ways: more academic offerings, more athletic offerings, and more adequately maintained facilities (especially given our budgetary constraints as a district). Please don’t confuse my support for diversity as being the sole and chief reason for opposing a Doraville HS at this time.

  22. Dekalb Inside Out

    More academic offerings, more athletic offerings, and more adequately maintained facilities … that’s all conjecture. Doraville sacrificing a high school so everybody can have better maintained facilities is completely unfounded.

  23. There are pros and cons to small and large schools. The benefits of having smaller schools have been researched and written about ad nauseam (I should do a blog). They show that smaller schools tend to be safer and generally better places for students to learn. Graduation rates are generally higher, greater teacher satisfaction, small schools are more flexible, there is less one size fits all, etc…
    I also thought I read somewhere that: smaller clusters with shorter commutes will allow for more efficient transportation for students and a whole host of other reasons … that are still valid.

  24. Ms. Morris, you wrote a blog about kids at CCHS being rasist towards the CK students and you ask how you better write so not to come off wrong? Don’t write junk that generalized a whole group. That is being part of the problem. As an educator you give up some “right” to make your feelings known. And I say this as an educator. Doesn’t matter that you do this outside your classroom, students should NEVER know where you stand politically.

  25. The difference is also the benefit of well-planned construction of a 2500+ student school that is built with adequate common areas and facilities, versus adding classroom additions to reach 2500+ students in retrofitted buildings.

  26. Smaller Neighborhood Schools Please

    I attended a middle school and high school with 2500+ seats, and it was awful! When schools are that large and no one really knows each other that well, the population naturally splits into jocks, band geeks, math nerds, drug addicts, etc. You have the Mexican lunch table, the black lunch table, etc. Everyone separates based on outward appearances. My husband attended a Dekalb high school which was much smaller and went to a K-8 neighborhood school. Based on his experience, it is evident that class sizes allow for positive interaction between people who aren’t exactly the same. I envy his high school experience. But Dekalb converted all its high schools into middle schools in the 90s just like the ‘expert’ policy makers recommended. And now we are all driving crazy hours across town and waiting in gigantic carpool lines, and our kids are leaving huge middle schools in tears (hence the reason we withdrew our children from Henderson and enrolled them in private school). We have half the high schools and three times the people. Huge middle schools are the worst thing that happened to education in the entire century. The second worst thing is busing kids out of their own neighborhood so that they’re delivered to a school with a mass of strangers. I’m sick of people listening to policy makers rather than their own kids. Or listening to policy makers versus their own personal experiences. All private schools are now K-8, and these private schools out perform public school kids easily. Private school kids spend their after school time studying or participating in activities – not being bused. The tuition at most private schools is actually less than the amount of tax money spent for each public school kid. Well it is a shame because it looks like policy makers could care less what the public thinks and do what they want anyways – even when people show up at these school meetings angry as hell shouting for a different plan in unison. Policy makers just fake a few public surveys of ‘stakeholders’ and truck 7 cross keys kids across town to splost meetings telling them which plan to support – before other regions even know what jacked up plans are going to be shoved down their throats. It is a situation where they do what they want anyway and ask us ‘what are you going to do about it?’. Things will only change if people get so fed up, they withdraw their kids from the public system completely and only elect people who promise massive change so that things function like they used to. Things will only change if more people pay for private school. I can see today’s churches all being used for small private or public schools everywhere in the future. These small schools could combine their students after school and carpool to local parks or public stadiums to form large sports teams. We are stuck in this mindset that we need 30 acres for a school site when America used to have one room schoolhouses. I wish it was as easy as making a demand like Frederick Douglas recommends. I think it is more about rejecting change shoved down our throats and being willing to fork over $10,000 a kid for private school or homeschool anddo something else. It is about actively opting out of a system that no longer works and then starving that system of tax money until that system finally changes in a positive way to draw people back in again.

  27. “Insanity,” you have eloquently stated one of the fundamental flaws and revealing blind spots of your position: you say it ” … is preferable to building one new high school that doesn’t impact anyone. Hello?”
    Building a new “Doraville HS” actually affects MORE students and creates MORE changes to MORE clusters in MORE regions costing MORE money and causing even MORE anguish in MORE households. Period. If fear or rejection of change were a criteria in my thinking, I’d switch “sides.”

  28. I see so far commenters are more interested in personal invective and ad hominem than discussing the substantive issues and questions of our region’s elementary schools and what we can do about the overcrowding.
    Or, are we going to put our heads in the sand?
    What should we do for Cary Reynolds? This is an issue with or without the promised 2nd “Cross Keys” ES.

  29. Stan should host a region 1 town hall meeting at Cary Reynolds. All of the region should see what the mayor of Doraville describes as ‘deplorable conditions’ and all of Region 1 and DeKalb should advocate on behalf of these students and their 20! Trailers.

  30. Kim: I see where you are coming from but I have to disagree with your thought process. Building new disrupts “NO CLASSROOM” instruction time. I am guessing you have never have had to live through a school construction? I have, two of them to be exact. Moving to a new classroom unexpectedly because the power had been cut to your room, packing up your classroom three weeks before school was out because the contractors wanted to get a jump start on the work to make sure they were done by the first day of school, and constant heavy machine equipment outside your classroom window that your students want to see work, and you as a teacher can not talk over. Contractors walking in and out of your classroom and school is very disruptive and distracting.
    Also, building new can be done quicker, usually in a year to 18 months instead of a minimum of 24+ months when you have to retrofit schools.
    So, I am in favor of disrupting students lives and schedules, JUST ONCE, instead of a daily disruption for our students for a minimum of 2 full school years.
    Look at Cobb County, Mountain View ES is getting a new school because of growth and age of the building. Guess what Cobb bought a retired driving range down the street from the MVES and started construction this past school and will be ready in August 2017. They did the numbers and the research and decided this was what was best and safer for their students. Why can’t we demand the same for our students?

  31. Hi Lynn. Yes, construction is very disruptive and this is another dimension to the argument. Though I have not “lived” through a construction site-as-school as an educator or student I did have the privilege of watching daily the progress of Evergreen Construction at Cross Keys in 2010/11. While there is no doubt it was disruptive it also was carried out well. Both Tucker and CCHS were sites of complete rebuilds during school year operations and I KNOW it was painful but Turner seemed to manage the sites ok during the transition. So, yes, we agree construction is disruptive.
    The argument I’m pushing back against up there ^ is about “disrupting” MES and “North Brookhaven” areas where much of the resistance to Option B is leveled. It has been a regular, common objection and it completely ignores how disruptive Option A type solutions are for Dunwoody, east Chamblee, Doraville, Tucker, Lakeside and Cross Keys. There is one reason why Option B was supported by more secondary school councils across the region.
    Lastly, if greenfield development were as easy in DeKalb as Cobb and Gwinnett, I’m guessing we’d be looking at greenfields. We really are not for the most part and the few options that might be examined would cause even more pandemonium in terms of redistricting.
    Fair point of dispute.

  32. All: regarding the “large vs small” school debate … I think this is a perfectly valid debate. However, the “small school” camp is completely ignoring the fact that we ALREADY have many HSes exceeding the “small school” enrollment and will continue to do so. For me, the argument against “large format HS” is a moot point: we already have high enrollment schools WITHOUT the facilities to support the population and we need to address them directly and expeditiously. Don’t want new construction for classrooms? Do what they do in Gwinnett then and fill up your school property including parking lots and athletic fields with trailers to meet the demand. That is always an option. Check out North Gwinnett HS for reference. It opened in 1958 just like Cross Keys. The difference is that the County and the community continuously invested in their school maintenance and are happy to have trailers to support the >3,000 enrolled there.

  33. Lynn is correct and Gokce is wrong. You cannot retro fit these schools without impacting every single kid in District One. Why can’t you understand that Gokce? If you build a new high school, you will impact the students who will move to a new high school, yes. But that are far less students and they will be impacted one time – to move to the high school. They will NOT, I repeat NOT HAVE TO ENDURE CONSTRUCTION EVERY SINGLE DAY!
    BTW, You’ve still not answered my question. How is retro fitting every single high school in district 1 with construction on a daily basis at each of these schools superior to a one time build that kids experience on the day that it is finished instead of every hour of every day for two years trying to retro fit existing schools?
    P.S. If Option B passes, you won’t have to worry about overcrowding at CCHS. Folks will be leaving in droves vs. dealing with the construction and a school of 2,400 on property and facilities designed for 1600.

  34. Kim:
    I am glad that you had the opportunity to “watch” the construction and live through it. Construction, while school is in progress, is not what our students/teachers/and staff need. Test scores go do while construction, teacher morale drops, and stress levels rise for everyone.
    I had the opportunity of meeting the GC for Tuner (Tucker HS) at the Starbucks in Tucker while Starbucks was doing a rebuild while school was in session. He was amazed that on one ever got hurt during the whole build out phase. He always kept saying how unsafe it was for everyone involved and how he would not do it again. It’s amazing what buying a cup of coffee and thanking him gets you.
    Now let’s look at Lakeside, Hogan Construction and the county’s inability to hold Hogan accountable. Hogan did not put tempered glass in the doors. They used regular everyday glass. Guess what, a high school doing what high school kids do and used their foot to open the door and missed. He kicked the glass, leg went through the glass pane and the student could bleed to death if it was not for a quick-thinking teacher who knew how to make a tunicate out of a belt.
    Also, I would love for anyone to walk the woods behind Lakeside. On my long runs, I will find cafeteria chairs back there in a circle. I have found a couple backpacks and stacks of students papers. How are they getting the chairs out without no one noticing?
    A retrofit does not work because there are too many entrance and exit points that can not always be monitored by security, safety concerns that should be addressed can easily be missed when a contractor is in a hurry to finish a project, and I will say this always, our STUDENTS and TEACHERS come safety and the ability to do their job should always come first.

  35. Here is my suggestion in the absence of support for my view (no point in torturing ourselves over a disagreement, right?): Doravllie HS boosters need to work it out with Kingsley, Hightower, Huntley Hills, Oakcliff, Pleasantdale, Evansdale and Henderson Mill neighborhoods. These are the communities that would form a Doraville cluster. Also, these are the neighborhoods some seem to think are more appropriate to leave their current clusters to form the new cluster than to have Dresden or Cary Reynolds join CCHS and AP ES join CK.
    What’s that? None of those communities want to leave their current clusters either? That’s right and thus the impasse.
    Stan: Is it time for a townhall with the communities everyone here seems to want to matchmakers for, in fact? Wouldn’t that be simpler than having all of us “outsiders” telling them what to want and arguing with each other in their absence?

  36. Insanity: “P.S. If Option B passes, you won’t have to worry about overcrowding at CCHS. Folks will be leaving in droves vs. dealing with the construction and a school of 2,400 on property and facilities designed for 1600.”
    Lol. Fear, loathing and mis-information. CCHS went through a complete rebuild on site and doesn’t seem to be suffering. Did it suffer in transition? Of course. Also, CCHS was rebuilt with core services to support 2,000+ from the get-go. I begged DCSD to build out the full classroom capacity then. Ignored. Why? We are paying for two decades of bad decisions.

  37. Is the DCSS concerned whether parents are opting out of the public school system? Probably not. Interesting fact about both the Cary Reynolds Elementary and Secquoyah Middle School. Both were designed by a young John Portman. Preservation and upkeep of these schools adds much to Atlanta History.

  38. When parents opt out of public schools, the school district won’t feel the pain until the money follows the student.

  39. Dear Kim,
    I can’t ignore how easily you dismiss the “suffering in transition” at CCHS. You also easily dismiss the community’s legitimate concerns about going through another major construction project, on an already too-small campus.
    I guess we are supposed to welcome a second “oops” construction project, happening less than 5 years after the opening of the rebuilt school in 2014, knowing full well that the new addition will give us only a whopping 32 more seats than the projected 2022 enrollment.
    Also, CCHS was NOT rebuilt with core services to support 2000+ from the get-go!
    That is why the DCSD concept to add 600 seats at CCHS includes additions to the kitchen, cafeteria, and media center. I think we lose 4 classrooms and have to bump out the exterior wall just to get the minimum square footage that 2400 students require.
    The CCHS community just wants an adequately sized campus. If the E-SPLOST-V project list is approved in December, then only $21 million, with ZERO allocated for campus expansion, is a done deal.
    Why is it so wrong to want this to be addressed NOW, rather than going willingly into a plan that we know is inadequate? No matter how the reclustering is done, CCHS needs to be a facility that can serve everyone’s needs and where teachers and staff are happy to be, not one where teachers must “float” between classrooms and worry about finding a parking space.
    Hasn’t the broken promise of the second Cross Keys cluster elementary school taught us anything? The “trust me” approach didn’t work for these elementary students, who are being re-clustered into the Chamblee cluster. I hope they enjoy their trailer park experience in elementary school because it is likely that there will be trailers at CCHS – although I don’t know where! – when they are ready to enter high school.

  40. Here is something that might help them decide. Go to the DOE website and download the 2016 graduation rate by subgroup file. In the 2nd tab they can filter it to look at the Hispanic subgroup only. Then sort it by graduation rates for the Hispanic subgroup. To save time, sort it from low to high so that the poorest performers are at the top. Dunwoody, Lakeside, and Chamblee are among the worst schools for the Hispanic subgroup, not just in Dekalb, but in the state of GA. Filter it again by English learners and the rankings won’t change much.

  41. Anonymous – I do not dismiss the challenges or discomfort that comes along with construction. I do, though, believe they are necessary given the state of things. And that the community rejected the additional capacity in 2011 is no one’s fault and certainly not a reason to do the right thing now and leverage the built services to serve area children.
    “Also, CCHS was NOT rebuilt with core services to support 2000+ from the get-go!”
    This is a fact and we’ll not get very far arguing about it. At construction site plan and at multiple times since I have asked what the core service capacity was in the design and the answer was/is 2200 if memory serves. This means the cafeteria and they gymnasium complex were designed to support that number. If you have another source, please cite it.

    Here is the link to GA DOE page with graduation rates by subgroup for 2016.

  43. Kim, interesting that you bring up needing to “check” with the other affected schools when you keep pushing option B which will greatly impact CCHS and when we as a community state we don’t want this disruption you attack. Why do you get a vote on what happens in our hood? You want a change at CK, advocate for that without including us! Who asked APES if he get wanted to be pulled from their cluster? If “memory serves” they were told they needed to go for diversity reasons! Totally against DeKalb policy AD!

  44. Anonymous, first, I’m just as much part of the CCHS cluster as a property owner and as a parent. So stop acting like I’m from the dark side of the moon.
    Second, yes, Option B greatly impacts CCHS. So it does with CKHS. What is the point? “We” in Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville have created this mess over the past twenty years and now it falls to us to clean it up.
    “we as a community … don’t want this” isn’t really accurate, is it? Ashford Park is part of CCHS cluster. Huntley Hills is part of the CCHS cluster. Do they not count in your view of CCHS cluster? That’s 2 out of 3 communities in OUR CCHS cluster that actively support Option B. If anything, it is your position that is in the minority in the cluster but I still respect your choice to advocate for it.

  45. Also, Anonymous, on “Kim, interesting that you bring up needing to “check” with the other affected schools …” – you may not know my reputation for being smug. My suggestion to check with those communities affected by a “Doraville cluster” was rhetorical. We already know that they are not interested and they are notably absent from the “Doraville deserves a high school” movement.

  46. Sagamore parent

    Did anyone notice that 95% of the people who showed up at the last town hall for the Splost money debate were SAGAMORE parents who did not want to be redistricted out of LAKESIDE High? And how they all hate plan B because it is designed to move them? Lets talk about anything but that…. Let’s talk about trailers that aren’t really bothering people. Let’s talk about whether to have one new school or twenty renovated schools. Let’s talk about chairs in the woods or a glass door. Let’s pretend that people in Brookhaven wanted plan b when they actually wanted plan A. Let’s speak for the Doraville people who haven’t really said anything either way. Hello? What about the giant Sagamore elephant in the room? The Sagamore people have noticed that they’re trying to build a new high school next to them within a massive traffic intersection even though Lakeside is right by them, and they also notice that there’s a giant hole in the high school map located around Doraville. Doraville just makes sense from a map perspective. Plan B does not.

  47. Kim,
    Let’s be fair about APES. It is a well-documented fact that “someone” came to them and said that they would be redistricted to CKHS and that there wasn’t any way for them to stop it – regardless of where a new HS would be built. Furthermore, this same “someone” promised them a ‘brand new, state-of-the-art high school, with top notch education programs’ if Option B were to be approved. Something tells me that if someone called together the parents of elementary school children throughout Doraville and told them a similar story they would get pretty enthusiastic…

  48. Hi Hilary – that is Option A or Option C. Reach out to Evansdale and Henderson Mill and just see how much enthusiasm you find. I’m thinking it will be right up there with Sagamore’s level of enthusiasm for leaving Lakeside.

  49. As for Ashford Park, it is much more straightforward than the sinister implications you make. DCSD has been very clear they were going to “re-cluster” Cross Keys in all cases. AP folks didn’t need to be told that the building being a couple of miles from CKHS more or less tells the story. As CKHS is to loose some enrollment and was to be filled with other students it is obvious to everyone that the students nearest CKHS would be first in line. Not the same dynamic as a hypothetical.

  50. … and lastly, I think the parents of students in Doraville are enthusiastic about the prospect of attending CCHS and well they should be – state-of-the-art, closer, with all the programming and extra-curricular they could ever imagine. No??

  51. Sagamore parent

    The response to Sagamore complaints is ” Sagamore doesn’t want to be redistricted but neither does Evansdale.” The difference is that Evansdale is 6+ miles away from Lakeside. School sites are being chosen for diversity. Not for where schools are needed. Has anyone looked at a map? Planners should be asking “Where are the holes, and where are high schools needed.” But our planners are only asking “where do white people have to be moved to have an equal 30% white 70% brown ratio.” This is so maddening and racist. DeKalb pretends that 95% of that meeting wasn’t sagamore parents with identical t shirts. All I can say is no one trucked 7 Doraville kids up to the meeting and told them to vote for option A. But Rebekah Cohen trucked 7 cross keys kids to the meeting and told them to vote plan B as shown on her Twitter account. I’m so sick of this fake-democracy and having our neighborhood completely ignored. The DeKalb website still claims everyone’s main concern is split feeders. When everyone was screaming to keep their kids in their local neighborhood school. This process is such a joke. We all have to care about the liberal goal of diversity (even though we already have it) while completely ignoring the liberal goals of reducing traffic, encouraging walking or biking, environmentalism, and listening to the people. A Doraville school is needed. Why don’t we do your fake quick jacked up democratic process up there??

  52. Why build a new CK. My understanding it already had a $20 million renovation. Why not split the cluster build a new Doraville HS and a new CK middle school? why disrupt any other school. CCHS is working as is, leave alone. Leave Lakeside alone. Why isn’t that a solution?

  53. Sagamore parent, I understand your frustration at the recent ‘assumed student moves’ that show that 250 students leaving the Lakeside cluster, but part of that frustration should be directed at your Elemenatary School Council that pushed for a Modified Option B plan and posted that voting recommendation in the school newsletter. The Doraville High School Option would have been Option A.

  54. Keeping Pleasantdale in LHS will not help the Pleasantdale kids, keeping Hightower in DHS will not help the Hightower kids, and putting Cary Reynolds into CCHS won’t help the Cary Reynolds kids. Those three schools all have lower graduation rates than CKHS for the Hispanic and English Learner subgroup. These kids are better off going to a new HS that can emulate CKHS. It is better for EVERYONE if Sagamore goes back to LHS and Pleasantdale goes to a new Doraville HS.
    Below are the graduation rates for the 4 high schools affected:
    School Name- Reporting Label- Graduation Rate
    Lakeside High School- English Learners- 26.3
    Dunwoody High School- English Learners- 31
    Cross Keys High School- English Learners- 56.8
    Chamblee Charter High School- English Learners- Too Few Students
    Dunwoody High School- Hispanic- 57.6
    Chamblee Charter High School- Hispanic- 59.5
    Lakeside High School- Hispanic- 62.5
    Cross Keys High School- Hispanic- 70.2

  55. Sagamore parent, Forgive me, but I do not believe I told my students to do anything except come to the meeting. I’m trying to make sure my community has a seat at the table. If I hadn’t brought those students, no one from the CK cluster would have been represented at that meeting. I don’t understand why you’re upset that I brought students. These same students were at other meetings where the majority of parents supported Option B, so if they got the idea for support Option B, it came from their parents. There were also only a few of them and a couple hundred Chamblee/Dunwoody families. By bringing my students, I clearly wasn’t trying to persuade the vote in favor of Option B. I was just trying to make sure my students were involved.
    It might also be interesting to note that I formerly supported the idea of a Doraville HS, but I became much more supportive of B after I heard the perspective from the parents in the community. I also began to realize that DCSD was willing to build schools bigger than 1600. If we were still operating under an infexible 1600-student school model and if we had endless money, I would be supporting a Doraville HS. However, as I believe 2500+ seat high schools are better for everyone (see above reasoning), and as I see DCSD is open to building bigger high schools, my support remains for Option B.

  56. Kim,
    CCHS will be a new school for these kids to attend. But you forgot…no green space, not enough room for everyone to participate in band, chorus, art, eating lunch at breakfast time, oh and over-crowded from the get-go. And oh yes, there’s the element of being lost in a sea of 2,500 kids. Sure it is a new building, but there’s a better option for them that is also new, but doesn’t have all of the negatives.

  57. Sagamore parent, I totally understand your frustration. I also believe that there are more scenarios possible than folks are either thinking about or being directed to thinking about. I may be crazy (and they all said, “Amen!”) but I think as these projects are built there will be recurring, strife-ridden, and surprising redistricting discussions from Dunwoody down to Clarkston/Stone Mountain.
    Why do I think this? Because our school plant is a mess! Take a look at this rough illustration I just slapped together using GIMP: (thank you, Stan!)
    This is our area high schools with a rough, ~2-mile radius [corrected per KG] drawn around them starting at Dunwoody. I think this speaks volumes regarding how problematic our current attendance areas and sites are. My only point is that we have a very serious set of problems to face because of our history and our physical plant.
    The only way the “leave CCHS” and “leave LHS” alone camp gets what they want is for CKHS to maintain its current zone which no one suggests as the solution. The only other possible approach, and one that has been championed by MES parents, is to move towards the old DeKalb model of neighborhood scale HSes and build out the new plant on that scale, including a new Doraville HS and a new “Brookhaven MS” along with significant additions at Dunwoody and Clarkston among others.
    In that scenario, CKHS still probably serves parts of Briar Vista and/or Sagamore in the west while Evansdale and Pleasantdale also get picked off from LHS via a Doraville HS. LHS in that case likely doesn’t need more classrooms. Some Dunwoody neighborhoods near Georgetown probably end up in CCHS. So there’s no “intact” in that plan either and those populations do not want to move either.
    I know it is of little or no comfort but I think we are in a situation where it can appropriately be called, “damned if you do; damned if you don’t.” The Dr. Dolittle “Pushme-Pullyou” also comes to mind…

  58. Dear Kim,
    I wonder if the Cross Keys families who will be switched to CCHS know that
    1 – CCHS does not have Construction, Auto Repair, Cosmetology, Nursing, Dental Science, or Manufacturing Career Tech programs.
    2 – If DCSD builds its 600 seat addition at CCHS as proposed, there will be no outdoor gathering or even breathing space for the 2400 students and 150+ staff members.
    3 – If Dan Drake’s 2022 enrollment projection is off by more than 33 students, CCHS will beyond capacity when the remainder of the Northern Cross Keys cluster comes to CCHS. But wait – DCSD broke its promise for a new elementary school in that area, so no one should be concerned about a lack of planning for the high school classrooms they deserve. Trailers in K-5, trailers in high school.
    Please don’t paint the 2400 seat CCHS as the best thing ever. CKHS has the Career Tech programs because that population asked for them. There certainly will be no room to add any of these programs at CCHS.
    ALSO, it seems to me that you argue that the preferences of Doraville families is all that matters. Ashford Park, deal with it. Sagamore Hills, deal with it. CCHS families concerned with a totally too-small campus, deal with it. Chamblee businesses concerned with the increase in traffic, deal with it. Doraville families have been treated badly and it is to your credit that this is no longer hidden. But two wrongs do not make a right.
    You seem to be happy to just offer the Doraville families a crowded school that looks nice. They will be so dazzled by the new building that they won’t be bothered by the overcrowding or lack of excellent Career Tech options. I see this as an insult to the Doraville families as well as a total disregard of the concerns of existing Chamblee cluster families.
    Great educations can happen in spite of bad facilities. It happened for years at CCHS with the old building and its mice and roaches, and it is happening now at Cross Keys. But why in the world should a community willingly accept a plan that results in bad facilities?
    Why can’t DCSD offer the Doraville families – and the Chamblee families – something better? Add land at CCHS so that the site is adequate. Yes, I think that a Doraville high school makes so much more sense. But if this battle is lost, please give your support to making sure the legacy of E-SPLOST-V isn’t a beautiful set of buildings on a tiny campus surrounded by traffic jams.
    Surely DCSD can do better.

  59. Anonymous^
    All excellent points. The elephant in the room is the magnet. It is very clear that just as soon as those 33 seats are filled they will move the magnet from CCHS…

  60. Anonymous – we are 100% in agreement that CCHS should benefit from land acquisition to support the growth. I have said so repeatedly and will continue advocating for that. So on that we are good.
    On your first points, I have to correct some of your facts:
    1. The CTAE programs you mentioned are available to any HS student, including transportation, from Dunwoody, Chamblee, Tucker, Lakeside, Druid Hills, Stone Mountain in addition to Cross Keys – TODAY.
    2. CKHS did NOT ask to host the CTAE programs. On the contrary, the faculty and community were adamantly against the plan as it took away instructional space from the attendance area population. The CTAE programs were SHOVED into CKHS by the Lewis/Pope administration so they could sell off the land at DeKalb School of Technology-North. The famous millions spent on CKHS renovations – hahaha – the majority was spent on demoing the 4th hall and replacing it with the CTAE programs as a convenience to Dr. Lewis’ plans. It was an insult the those arriving and to those receiving because it short-changed CK students and teachers. Lovely programs – not asked for and directly harmed CK’s housed, standard curriculum.
    You are attributing many things to me. I speak openly and try to do so clearly so as not to be misunderstood. I stand by what I say and stand always ready to be corrected on points of fact.

  61. Hilary, your point about the magnet program getting pulled once CCHS is at or above capacity in 5-10 years is spot on. In fact, someone mentioned to me that one of the school board members actually said that would occur once CCHS is at capacity in the future during a recent conversation about the SPLOST V vote. Also, there is a gaping hole in projected 2022 attendance numbers between middle and high school at Cross Keys (above and beyond the 3 – 4 grade difference) . My speculation is once CCHS is overcrowded in 2022 and beyond, the magnet will be yanked and moved to Cross Keys where there will likely be excess capacity. That being said, everyone should beware of that very real possibility, it could be yet another bait and switch.
    As for APES folks, I feel bad for that group. A woman from Ashford Park attended the recent Chamblee Governing Board meeting where the Jesters and others spoke. Her public comment stuck with me….she stated that they were told in order for the new Cross Keys re-clustering initiative to be viable, that some other school would need to go with APES, but now they don’t have anyone (post Sagamore backlash). It was a poignant comment and very telling of the predicament those folks find themselves in. I’m an MES parent, but know several APES families. I can tell you that many in the northern/Chamblee end of the APES attendance area are not interested in going to Cross Keys, nor should they be forced to as a lot of them live much closer to CCHS than CKHS. In fact, if you map the distance from APES, it’s at least a half mile closer to CCHS than CKHS. So, the comment about those closest to Cross Keys getting moved from Chamblee to Cross Keys due to proximity is a bit misleading in my opinion and doesn’t take the whole APES attendance area into account.
    It’s really unfortunate to me that the Chamblee cluster couldn’t have banned together to “Keep Chamblee Strong” from the beginning and fought to keep all three elementary school feeders at CCHS. Let’s say that Option B is chosen and an addition is made at CCHS to house more students in 2022. Why is it wrong for these three elementary schools to want to remain where they are, just like Dunwoody and Lakeside cluster elementary schools? Sure, with a well thought out addition, CCHS could help relieve more overcrowding and take additional CKHS students in, but for some reason that is not politically correct, i.e. doesn’t meet the desired diversity mix so it’s never been an offered option in any scenario. Why not? I want everyone to understand, this is the mantra the CCHS cluster has been hearing from the beginning of this process and it’s not right.
    Regarding Doraville, I personally would like to hear what those residents want in their community. And, I don’t mean what Rebekah, Kim or the Doraville Mayor want them to have. It would be really nice to hear this information directly and unfiltered from any outside influence. I do like the town hall meeting approach, and if we could get the Dec. 5th vote delayed a couple of months, maybe organizing something like this could become a reality everyone could learn from.

  62. .
    Round 3 Public Meetings

    Round 3 of the public meetings was the big discussion between Options A, B and C. The August 25 public presentation was in the gymnasium at Cross Keys HS followed by public break out sessions. At the end of the break out sessions, each person selected Option A, B, or C. I managed to get this image from one of those sessions.
    Following the all the round 3 public meetings, the consultants charged with running the study sent the Board of Education a list of Key Takeaways. One of them was “Overwhelming support for Option A among those who indicated a preference
    I can only assume a majority of the people who attended that public presentation at Cross Keys HS favored Option A. By the way, there were no school councils sending out daily emails before the presentations encouraging people to vote for Option A … this was real and unfettered feedback.

  63. I would like to point out that the online survey had identical results as the public meetings … at least up until the last few days when various school councils started sending out emails asking their mass populations to vote for Option B.
    Public Input Sessions

    Online Survey
    68.8% – Option A – Doraville Cluster
    21.5% – Option B – Building Additions / Split Feeders
    9.7% – Option C – Doraville Cluster and Move Magnets

  64. Lots of good information and comment on this blog. If the chaos that the school district can reign down on communities isn’t proof positive that we need independent school districts, I don’t know what is. This sure doesn’t look like local control to me. The vast majority of people want Option A, a Doraville Cluster.
    Kim, as you said, as a taxpayer and a parent, you are as invested in Chamblee, or any other school for that matter, even if you live in the Cross Keys area. That goes for the rest of us too, if we are to be consistent. And, given the fact that Doraville has a relatively small population when compared to Chamblee, Brookhaven, and Dunwoody, there are more taxpayers invested in whether Doraville should have a cluster than even within the city of Doraville. This is not to mention the taxpayers without children in the schools that no one has even bothered to ask. This will affect them in the pocketbook and in their quality of life.
    Those advocating for Option B should acknowledge a few things. The reason that some clusters and schools ended up saying they want an “almost Option B” was driven by the administration. Kim, you have worked for years advocating for what you see as in the best interests of Cross Keys. That’s fair. Layer on top of that, a few parents that do not have experience with how DeKalb operates but believe the things that the administration tells them, both the good and the bad. Turns out, the administration played them. Deals were cut. Backroom discussion were had. All along, the vast majority of tax payers were cut out from this discussion and didn’t even know it was happening. Still don’t.
    During all the years of advocacy for Cross Keys, I never heard that achieving some racial mix was the goal. Now, advocating for Cross Keys seems to mean that everybody’s communities have to be turned upside down. The CK Foundation’s mission is ‘every opportunity for every child”. With kids crowded into additions on tiny campuses, the opportunities for every child there will be smaller. Kids living within walking distance to their school will be rip from their community. Yep, some kids in Doraville will go to a closer CCHS that will be beyond crowded but they could have gone to an even closer Doraville High School. Traffic isn’t even a thought and the school district won’t bear this cost or burden. All of this for what?
    Thai’s point, about the success rate at Cross Keys for Hispanic and English Learners was spot on. All of this for what? The answer seems to point to worse outcomes for these children. The only winners seem to be the loudest advocates for Cross Keys because the changes they want may improve their property values. I say may, because these changes are likely to further erode attendance in public schools in the northern part of the county. The cost is a loss of community, quality of life, and more for the rest of us. More homeschoolers. More private schools. More great PTA moms moving to other counties. This will bring more pressure for independent school districts, a new county to form, or some other intervention from the state.
    To all those who support Cross Keys. The rest of us do too. Please don’t ask us to sacrifice what we think is great about our communities in order to improve Cross Keys. Rebuild and rebrand it. Support the rest of us in keeping out schools at 1500. Our campuses can’t support 2000+. Please stop asking us to do this. Please realize that traffic and quality of life are important to us. Let’s come up with a plan for a new Cross Keys, a new Doraville HS, and the elementary schools to support this.

  65. Sagamore Parent

    OK so only Cross Keys views and Doraville views matter. Sagamore views don’t matter. Our Sagamore Elementary school council was rigged from the get go. All that matters is a single letter our council wrote that I haven’t even seen. Hundreds of parents in T-shirts with their yard signs and money donated for Sagamore’s cause don’t matter. Shoving this pre-planned agenda down people’s throats with faked activism is the only thing that matters. Got it!! St. Pius here I come. I will never in a million years have these Cross Keys reverse-racism activists teach my kids!!!

  66. I don’t think I received a Sagamore Hills ES school council position statement. You should talk to them about that.

  67. Stan, has there been any discussion about the parking garages that will be needed at LHS, CCHS, and DHS with these additions? I cannot imagine anything worse for security and safety than a parking garage at a high school. I envision daily fights, attacks, drugs, and sex. It will cost thousands a week to patrol the garages sufficiently. They are also an easy place for strangers to hide and approach students unless there is full-time security to ensure only school staff and students are allowed.

  68. Seems like parking garages are asking for trouble. However, Tucker has a parking garage and I have not heard of any problems. I believe the conceptual design marked the the new garages as employee parking garages. That being said, I don’t think the City of Chamblee is going to let them put a garage at CCHS.

  69. Stan, given the many problems surrounding this ESPLOST process in Dekalb, aside from seeking legal counsel, is there a state organization Dekalb residents can speak with regarding the administration’s questionable actions throughout this process? I am not knowledgeable about the chain of command and whether this is something worth pursuing.
    Also, I would like to know more about the upcoming bond referendum early next year. If the current plan is approved next week, the next step is the bond referendum, correct? What happens if Dekalb voters do not approve it? What impact does this have on how DCSD moves forward with SPLOST V projects? Personally, I plan to vote against the referendum and hope others will too. I’m not giving this administration anymore taxpayer funds to be so horribly mismanaged.

  70. Local school superintendents are the top dog in the state. The Georgia Department of Education takes an advisory role. In theory, superintendents are supposed to report to the local Boards of Education (Governance Team) … if the public doesn’t like what the superintendent is doing, they can replace their board member.
    Sadly, as Nancy Jester wrote about in The Myth of Local Control, Governance Teams are dominated by board members with “Stockholm Syndrome” or they are accomplices in the abduction of local control. All of this power comes with a hefty contract that insulates superintendents and gives them a golden parachute at taxpayer’s expense even if their tenure is marked by failure.
    The original E-SPLOST vote in may included a $200 million bond referendum backed by E-SPLOST. The administration is now seeking a millage rate hike (I think) to pay for another bond backed by that millage rate hike. I’m seeking clarity on that. Currently getting questions answered by the Superintendent takes 2-3 weeks. I should know more by Friday.

  71. Trailers Versus Traffic

    If plan B is allegedly better for eliminating trailers, and plan A / Doraville is better for eliminating traffic, I would go with plan A all the way.People talk about school trailers like they’re some horrible thing from the third world. I went to a high school with multiple trailers, and they didn’t bother me in the least bit. They were actually quite spacious and quiet and had loads of daylight. I enjoyed the two minutes I got to walk outside to get to them since I didn’t see a lot of daylight in high school. What really pissed me off in high school was sitting in an hour of traffic each day to get to and from school. It was such a waste of the little free time I had. I always asked myself why schools were built so large so that people would be forced to wait in traffic. I purposefully moved to Decatur to avoid all that Fulton/Dunwoody traffic because it was only 15 minutes to get to work. What ticks me off is how they hired some Fulton/Roswell firm to arrange where Decatur kids should go to school without doing a single traffic study – and how they literally added an hour of traffic to my day’s future schedule. If I didn’t mind hours of traffic each day, I’d have one of those 8,000 square foot Roswell houses too. As it is, I chose to live in a 1500 square foot home near my job around the CDC to avoid traffic. My current house is much darker and much more cluttered than the spacious trailer that housed my high school English class. But I chose to live here to avoid traffic and live in an awesome neighborhood with a great neighborhood club. It is close to restaurants. It is close to my office. People in the Lakeside all hold these same values of what life should be about. It’s less about pretty ‘white’ people houses and more about a lifestyle where traffic almost still functions, where you can get to the city action in about 30 minutes, and where great friendships are made in real neighborhood. I am infuriated that some arrogant school planners sucked me into their crappy Dunwoody-traffic lifestyle minus the mansion by siting our school next to an insane I85 junction. This is the Dunwoody lifestyle crap that I worked so hard to avoid and that planners should be hired to eliminate. It is as if their only goal is to break up our neighborhood because it is too white. What they don’t get is that Decatur residents aren’t ‘house poor’ like Dunwoody, and they will budget for private school to shorten the school commute time. We frankly do not care about Cross Keys trailers. Even the Cross Keys people do not care about the trailers, because they apparently need fake activists like Rebekah Cohen to speak for them so that plan B goes through with faked public support. Everyone has trailers. Trailers aren’t bad. Look outside. Traffic is.

  72. Trailers Versus Traffic

    Thank Education Planners, LLC for your new horrible lifestyle!

  73. Stan, I found the entire ESPLOST bond referendum here:, and see the language on pages 10 and 11 regarding the embedded $200 million bond approval you referred to. So, we have no recourse on that point. If DCSD is now seeking a millage rate increase as you also described above, do the taxpayers get a vote on that? It pays to read through the entire bond referendum which includes all of the fine print.

  74. Good Question. There are a number of ways this could go down, and I have a few questions into the superintendent about which we he intends on doing this. His response to my questions was that it would take 3 weeks to get an answer … so I should know by this Friday.
    Separate Millage Rate
    If we create a new and separate millage rate, that would have to come before the voters in a referendum.
    Current Millage Rate Hike
    Every year the board sets the millage rate. The board could raise the general fund millage rate and pay for it with the general fund.
    Excess Funds
    There is currently almost $400 million in operating surplus. We could use the existing operating surplus to pay for the bonds. Given the history of DeKalb, I’m guessing they will try to jack up the millage rate.

  75. The graphics that Stan put up there really make clear how crooked this process is and how the county is NOT listening to the will of the people. This entire thing was rigged from the get go. The county always wanted option B. The theory was that if they moved the magnet out of CCHS in option C, but otherwise make it IDENTICAL to Option A, then the votes for a Doraville High School would be split and Option B would win. How do I know this? Look at the dates on the drawings for all the school expansions – early summer. Before ANY PUBLIC MEETING TOOK PLACE. So, they must have really gotten worried when they saw these numbers come in. After all, that wasn’t consistent with the prearranged strategy! So, then all of a sudden we heard, “The votes are only for guidance. The public meetings are only for guidance.” But still, they had to be freaking out down in Stone Mountain. So, they enlist noble foot soldiers like Kim “Man of the People” Gokce and Rebekah “Everyone at CCHS is a racist” Cohen-Morris to community organize and get not just some people but swarms of people to start voting in this online poll. Not sure if the poll was always set up to vote more than once or if this feature was “turned on” when this potential tragedy was noticed. But the response happened almost overnight. And my, what a turnaround! Somehow, something that was being outvoted 3 to 1 quickly becomes the majority. ITS A FREAKING MIRACLE! Gokce started talking about “how proud he was of the Dunwoody cluster because they had changed their racist ways and seen the light that Option B was the really the best solution.” Morris chimes in on her blog about “how horribly racists the students at CCHS are and how the only way to stop this is by moving more CKHS students to CCHS.” With the new polling results that show Option B narrowly squeaking out a victory, the county’s tune changes. In the recommendation presentation, the county now says that a big input into the decision was “the votes from the online survey.” Of course it is! The survey ended up being how they wanted it to be!
    Come people wake the heck up! This is Dekalb County Schools at its best. The Steve Green administration is no better than the Lewis/Pat Pope version of Dekalb County. Well done

  76. To that end, I will complement the county and praise the work of Gokce. The guy is a bulldog – the problem is he only cares about Cross Keys and doesn’t see the big picture. He and the county were successful at pulling the wool over the eyes of an entire elementary school – Ashford Park. He enlisted the Brookhaven mayor and made all kinds of promises. Of course, the house of cards started to fall apart when Sagamore Hills (another one of those “white” schools) didn’t follow the plan. My understanding is that they were able to get a few parents on board who endorsed the idea and thought they had Sagamore in the bag. Then the rest of us found out about it and all hell broke loose. Then hell broke loose on the north/west side of the district when the CCHS plans and Dunwoody High plans were revealed and were found completely lacking by putting out completely unrealistic scenarios of these massive structures on small little lots. This thing is a disaster.
    Will the county see their ill-conceived ways and change to an Option A model? Based upon living here for 20 years and seeing what they’ve done, I highly doubt it. If you want to make some money, build a private high school in Chamblee. If these plans go through you’ll have demand coming out the wazoo.

  77. Insanity’s summary of events is a good one. My question is general in nature. Given how this ESPLOST process has unfolded, do other Counties in the Metro area employ the same questionable tactics and processes for ESPLOST votes and project list compilation, or is this level of seemingly deceptive practices particular to Dekalb County? I grew up and went to public school in Gwinnett County many years ago, so I don’t have any firsthand experience with other districts on this topic, and I am curious.

  78. Insanity says: “Gokce started talking about “how proud he was of the Dunwoody cluster because they had changed their racist ways and seen the light that Option B was the really the best solution.”
    For someone who claims I slander people you sure do a lot of slandering. What you say that might have credibility just fades to background noise when you make up such hateful nonsense.
    Dunwoody has been a regular source of moral and direct support for me and my efforts on behalf of BuHi kids since 2009. I would name names but since you seem to hate anyone who supports these kids I’ll do them a favor and let them remain nameless. Go Wildcats!

  79. Survey Says – look no farther than your own home county! Gwinnett puts out map recommendation without prior public input, spends a month letting people complain, hosts one central public comment session and then lays down the law. They have new schools opening and disrupting school zones this coming academic year. See:

  80. Thanks Kim, but the link doesn’t work. And, I’m not interested in the canned info coming from the Gwinnett School District. I want to hear from anyone who reads this blog that has first hand experience with other districts and whether their processes are seemingly transparent or not.

  81. Ah! Makes sense. Sorry about the bad link, too.

  82. Gokce – Maybe if you stood by and were consistent with your statements in other forums, you’d have more credibility. You have used this overcrowding as a way to “balance out the white kids, higher socio-economic kids” from day 1.
    This is from the “Brookhaven Redistricting Forum” on Facebook and shows how Gokce praised SOME of the Dunwoody schools for not going with an Option A solution because it implies that they would “keep the low income kids” out of Dunwoody. Read for yourself.
    Kim Ellis Gokce On the contrary, it’s a strong endorsement of “Option B” type solutions. “Option A” type solutions offer Dunwoody and Lakeside the perfect opportunity to recluster their only significant Title I kids into a Doraville Cluster. I discussed this with both cluster council members and they rejected the idea of a Doraville Cluster. Kudos to them both.
    Kim Ellis Gokce It would actually be very convenient for Dunwoody to “lose” Hightower and parts of Kingsley. This would instantly solve the overcrowding in their cluster high school. Once they understood what kind of cluster this would create in a “Doraville Cluster,” I believe they saw that as unacceptable.
    Kim Ellis Gokce Again, kudos to both communities for “taking the high road” even though it means they have to take additions.
    So, Gokce tells me I’m being hateful when all I’m being is honest here. Facts are stubborn things.And again – even in the post above, Gokce says I’m being hateful. I ask how? I’m not being hateful sir. I won’t call you out on what you are really being here, but at best you are inconsistent.

  83. Insanity, where is the racism claim in all that? I stand by all those comments. Thank you for collecting them for us here.
    All you have to do is look at Stan’s blog here to find all the evidence to support my statements. There are intensely committed individuals who would NEVER let these low income kids into their schools if they could manage it.
    I have always and continue to assert there is bias against families who rent and low income families’ kids. Still waiting for your apology for suggesting that I’m race-baiting.

  84. Dekalb Inside Out

    Dunwoody School Daze accurately reflects the Pro Option B crowd. They are getting people riled up by telling them they’re getting redistricted. Aside from Dunwoody Mom popping over here once, all I see them do over there is ask each other questions they can’t answer and complain about redistricting with Option A.
    90% of the Option B crowd from Dunwoody to Huntley Hills to Lakeside is about the fear of redistricting.

  85. Ah….I know this conversation well Insanity, back from September 16th to be exact. It’s very interesting that it was stated by Kim himself that an Option A style solution would instantly solve DHS’s overcrowding issue. Given that statement, explain again why a Doraville area cluster isn’t the best solution to relieve not only Dunwoody’s overcrowding, but also that of Lakeside?

  86. And to readers here who are not yet bored to death with the personal attacks from Insanity I would like to also explain that the source of the quotes above is a private Facebook group. So let it be known that I say publicly and privately the same confounding things. The beauty of being truthful and candid is you don’t have to worry about being trapped by folks who stalk you. Thank you, Insanity, for helping build my credibility and clearing up that bit about “racism.”
    Insanity, make it easier on yourself and do not make assertions you later have to go and clear up.
    Back on topic … anyone willing to join me in formally requesting that the “2nd” new Cross Keys elementary school be put back on the list? I’m actively engaged in the topic. If so, drop me a note at or call 678-361-4200.

  87. Survey Says, great question! That is, if one wants to ignore all the negative impacts in other regions of an Option A approach. Let’s not repeat what we’ve already apparently debated on Facebook, shall we? I fully support this statement and think it addresses all the complexities and dependencies of the situation overall – not your slices of concern:
    Back on topic … anyone willing to join me in formally requesting that the “2nd” new Cross Keys elementary school be put back on the list? I’m actively engaged in the topic. If so, drop me a note at or call 678-361-4200.

  88. Can you bullet point those negative impacts for us?

  89. Kim,
    I would definitely be interested in joining your efforts to get the second Cross Keys ES back on the project list. What is your approach?

  90. Kim, I am supportive of the Cross Keys Elementary School as well. I think you’ll find a lot of common ground on this topic!

  91. Kim, I am supportive of the new Cross Keys Elementary School as well. I think you’ll find a lot of common ground on this topic!

  92. Getting a Doraville ES back on the list
    1. Confirm that it was supplanted by the Indian Creek rebuild
    2. Find out the drivers/data points for Indian Creek getting a rebuild
    Cary Reynolds ES
    While we’re at it, can we find out why Cary Reynolds is slated for renovations and not a rebuild? Every data point I can find shows that Cary Reynolds is in more need of a rebuild than Indian Creek.

  93. Stan, really? Ok, but I’ll assume this question was posed for argumentative purposes only as you have heard my objections I’ve shared here and elsewhere for months.
    Here the top five reasons why an Option A cluster is not the best choice in my view:
    1. It is a theoretical HS the location of which may, in fact, not be feasible. Unacceptable risk.
    2. Should a site be located it could be lcoated within 1-2 miles of the Gwinnett line – we have too many schools like this already, including CK, Tucker, Arabia and others. Poor long-term service location and limiting planning option.
    3. It would place a high school within 1-2 miles of the CCHS site. Poor capital planning.
    4. It would leave “half” of the BuHi population at the current CKHS facility. Continued inequities for the population “left behind.”
    5. It would create a fourth HS with the requisite overhead in terms of human resources, operational overhead, and capital maintenance. Unnecessary expense and a long-term cashflow drain when three HS solution arguably can address the issues.
    Are there counter arguments? Of course and that’s why it’s called a debate. None of this is new but you asked for it.

  94. Hilary – good! Direct advocacy via telephone calls to the BoE and Dr. Green’s office. Direct emails. I’ll be including this in my statement planned for 12/5. I encourage others to do so!

  95. Survey Says, I’m glad to hear that – whatever else you may not like or know about me let me swear fidelity to seeking the common denominator we all share in public education. This is the heart of my zealotry: public education is the only avenue for the young people I advocate for to find their way to an elevated state in life. My kid and probably the kid of every dedicated parent who cares enough to spend time on this blog are going to do fine. I worry about those a the bottom of the social scale. That’s my bias.

  96. Stan, re: Cary Reynolds – I strongly believe that it would be in the long-term interest of DCSD to make the site of the “new Cross Keys ES” Cary Reynolds/Sequoyah lots somehow. I have heard this is less than ideal from a planning perspective but to that I say, “too bad!”
    If there’s anyway feasible to make the project replace, in fact, not augment Cary Reynolds, I believe we should push it hard!

  97. Uh Kim…..
    When you say things like that you are proud of a certain group of people because they are voting a certain way, you imply that those who weren’t for Option A as being for keeping people “Separate.” I can find the your infamous “brown people” quote if I have enough time. But some of us have day jobs that require us to put in time there.
    And folks the private group that Kim mentions on FB is hardly private – it’s got 1000 people on it – 997 to be exact. It’s called Brookhaven Redistricting Group and it has people from Brookhaven Chamblee Dunwoody and yes, even little red haired stepchild Sagamore on there. It’s kind of quiet there because people are likely afraid to speak their mind, lest they be called “hateful” for having a different opinion.

  98. Insanity, the term you are looking for is “gray” kids. That is what I call our BuHi kids in terms of the all-too-often black vs white / north vs south politics of DeKalb County. One of my many frustrations with DeKalb is this dysfunctional heritage. It one of the primary reasons CK/BuHi kids have been left in neglect for so long.
    To save you further research on your work day (I’m on a vacation day today) here is one of many references I’ve made to these “gray” children of BuHi.
    As for Facebook, ok. It’s a Closed Group. A big one, sure. My point is I don’t have two faces or two messages. Now can we please leave these poor people alone on your judgment of my character? I can introduce you to my mother if you want to complain to her. The rest of the folks here shouldn’t be burdened by our little love spat.

  99. Kim,
    The bullet point list above is appreciated, but hardly compelling enough to sink $80M that create tangible negatives, not a list of risks.
    As for your comment above re: Cary Reynolds/Sequoyah site, I couldn’t agree with you more!! I’ll take it one step further and say let’s create a beautiful new K-8 Academy on that site and convert Sequoyah Middle back to a High School – voila! No need to hunt for or buy expensive land. That space has ~35 acres, if we can cram 2,400 high school kids onto 20 acres at CCHS, we should have more than enough room for a creative solution on the CRES/SMS site. Then we build a nice new middle school for CK and no one is left behind, no mega schools, plenty of room for everyone – and all within budget!

  100. Hilary- Brilliant!
    Survey Says: in my experience DeKalb is shady! When ATlanta Public schools was looking to redustrict the Buckhead schools everyone lost their minds! APS listened! All
    Of these schools got 2 Jd campuses and kept their communities together. ERicers got a whole new school. Amazingly, this trickled to the middle and high schools. A community that had for decades sent their children to private worked together to keep middle and high strong. Now they are schools the communities are proud of and feel good sending their children.
    Now, they redistricted a huge ESOL population from garden hills to smith. Guess what. It’s not working. Proper programs and staff were not in place to help these children or parents. See when Garrden Hills hired teachers those teachers usually spoke Spanish. Smith did not see this as a need with their current staff so..
    guess who else suffers. Your average learner. Not the gifted/ high achiever, not the. Hold with identified disabilities or learning disorder; the child that is your average learner. These kids always pays the price Now parents are pulling their kids and going private. Good for them they can afford. Many of us can’t.
    What happens inside the school is more important than the outside!