Saturday, April 4, 2009
Check out these high school numbers
These are the new enrollment numbers for DeKalb County high schools for the 2009-2010 school year. Our high school total enrollment has dropped another 1,610 students. We now have at least 4,500 available (empty) seats. That's incomprehensible! Oddly, we have serious over-crowding at some schools (Lakeside has 21 trailers) and cavernous, half-empty buildings elsewhere. Even more oddly, the Board of Education is still planning massive classroom additions to Martin Luther King, Jr. HS and Miller Grove HS. MLK appears to be in need of expansion - as they are OVER capacity by 446, however, the brand new Arabia HS, with an initial capacity of 1,650, and an eventual capacity of over 2,000, will take in most of the overage from MLK - along with many more from Lithonia, which is only over capacity by 45. (Plans for an addition there have been wisely dropped.) Remarkably, Miller Grove is also slated to receive a multi-million dollar addition, even though they are currently under-enrolled by 330.
The classroom additions to MLK and Miller Grove are unnecessary. They are not fiscally responsible. The money should be spent where there is currently serious over-crowding with no escape (Arabia is not a feasible choice for Dunwoody or Lakeside students due to the 25-30 mile commute each way) - or the building is so old and decrepit as to be deemed unhealthy and/or unsafe -- again Lakeside, Chamblee - and to a worse degree, Cross Keys. Southwest DeKalb is also seriously over-crowded, and since it is already a magnet school, it's improbable that terribly many of SW's students will transfer to Arabia's magnet program.
I urge you all to demand an audit of the planned SPLOST spending to prove that the current plans are in the absolute best interest of the students who must spend their days in our buildings and the wisest use of taxpayer dollars. I find the decisions by this board to be too often political, especially regarding the situation with Cross Keys - a majority Hispanic school which has been virtually ignored by our BOE. The Board needs to revisit the SPLOST 3 budget plans as demographics have changed considerably. Currently, the additions to MLK and Miller Grove are a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.
*I used the lowest capacity number for Arabia (which holds from 1650-2100) - I guessed the capacity of Open Campus at 1,000 and DSA at 500 (both very conservative) - I couldn't find data for those schools published anywhere.