Friday, July 10, 2009

Why is Cross Keys STILL in Limbo?

How Low Will They Go?


To access the full size photos in this album, click here and push the play button.

Below are a few notes from the Friday, May 1, 2009 Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting Minutes
Jay Cunningham, Chair

Committee members Paul Womack, Eugene Walker and Don McChesney were present. Staff member Marcus Turk was present and PTA Council President Nathaniel Paxton and Organization for DeKalb Educators (ODE) President David Schutten were also present.

SOME DISCUSSIONS ITEMS

Ms. Pope said there is asbestos present in the Open Campus building and it would take $30 million to renovate the building. Ms. Pope would like to close the Open Campus building because of its appraised value of $18 million. Ms. Pope noted that there were only 60 students at the Clarkston Center and that it would be relocated. She said DISPAC will remain in Building “A” until it can be moved to the William Bradley Bryant Center for Technology. Ms. Pope mentioned the administrative offices needed a great deal of work.

Dr. Walker stated the Cross Keys High School community is troubled by the development in the area. He inquired should the money be spent as recommended on Cross Keys or should we go in another direction? Ms. Pope thinks we should move forward with the renovations for Cross Keys with the idea of a different designation later, possibly a technology school, military school or school of the arts. Ms. Pope noted the DeKalb County Planning Commission does advise us of developments. She stated they build anyway without real input from the school system. Mr. McChesney made a report of the Cross Keys demographics and DeKalb County Board of Commissioners plans for the area. Ms. Pope stated the Board needs to approve the surplus plan for the future. Mr. Brown asked should we tear down some buildings and convert to green space?


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well, now I decided to have a look for myself at the condition of Cross Keys HS and the surrounding area including Woodward Elementary so I signed up for one of Kim's group tours of the place. All I can say is – Yowsa! The only thing I can compare this horrific, terrible, unkept, crumbling school property to was some of the very impoverished areas of Brazil I witnessed when I traveled the countryside back in 1986 when they were in the middle of an economic crisis. I was shocked to witness homeless people living under cardboard shacks in the underbrush of the Brazilian jungle. That’s what has been going on at Cross Keys, folks!!! Homeless people have been living in the underbrush and trespassing (and urinating and defecating) on the grounds of Cross Keys High School!

There are huge plywood panels lining the fencing which are covered in graffiti. The fencing is mangled on all sides, the sidewalks and buildings are certainly ripe for condemnation and in FAR worse shape than Open Campus. There are many broken windows, some of which have been replaced with some kind of plastic. Now, granted, as Kim reported here a few weeks ago, due to a clean-up effort initiated by ICP Officer Josh Fritz, crews did finally show up with backhoes and cleared the underbrush, kudzu and debris from a large swath behind the ball field that encompasses a ravine leading to the sewage drains and a creek. Miguel Martínez of Mundo Hispanico posted a photo essay of the operation, deemed "Operation Urban Camper". The Brookhaven Reporter also published the story.

At any rate, after my tour of the area, I have to agree with Dr. Walker on this. We would be out of our minds to even attempt to renovate these buildings. The school owns 37.4 acres for Cross Keys and 13.6 acres for Woodward (the front doors between these two are steps away). Oddly, Sequoyah is posted clear out in Doraville, very near I-285, nearly 7 miles from Cross Keys and Woodward. That’s crazy. Make Sequoyah the Military Academy. Can we not bulldoze all of the 51 acres currently owned by DCSS at the Brookhaven site, and rebuild a campus composed of all three schools? Could we not make Cross Keys 2 or 3 stories instead of the rambling, dirt eating monstrosity it is now? Can we not recreate the Chamblee or Tucker Middle School model next to it or at least somewhere within reason? Can we not renovate Woodward into a nice, airy, cheerful elementary school for the children in this area?

Developers have already purchased at least 3 of the apartment complexes surrounding Click to EnglargeCross Keys. Cortland Partners has great ambitions for the land and are currently in
the County Planning Process proposing to create a new, Town Center type of development called Symphony Park (you can find Symphony Park under the apartments tab). This area is a 15 minute walk from the Brookhaven Marta station and a couple of miles from the glitz of Buckhead. In fact, the Lenox Park development (former Standard Club) is directly across the street and donates landscaping services to keep up the curb appeal of Cross Keys, since it faces their development. This development is what is apparently causing new apprehension about renovating Cross Keys. It seems that some of our leaders are afraid that we will lose students or that perhaps it could be better to sell the property since it is so valuable. But there are almost 900 students in Cross Keys High School who, according to teachers I have spoken with, are excellent students and delightful young people. They deserve a quality community school to spend their days in, not this decrepit, depressing, disgusting, unhealthy old dinosaur of a school house. Our school board needs to get in gear and make some decisions. My personal recommendation is to “do a Tucker”, meaning build a brand new facility on another portion of the property (it’s an enormous plot of land) and then tear down the old buildings and use that land for an auditorium or stadium of some kind. I am not a professional developer or architect, but I believe that if consulted, a creative developer could come up with a wonderful plan.

Please keep in mind, even though our current administration has built some real showcases in the past 5 years, they still turn a blind eye to the condition of Cross Keys and make what has proven to be so far, empty promises. I have to ask, is it because the population at Cross Keys is largely Hispanic immigrants? I would have hoped that a black leadership who has spent the last 30 years combating racial inequities would at least be sensitive to the plight of these Hispanics. The school conditions these students are enduring certainly must rival or surpass anything our current black leadership had to endure in the past.

I am appalled and ashamed to live in a school district that allows children to attend third world campuses such as Cross Keys. This school has been #2 on the list of priorities for SPLOST 3 since November, 2006, yet nothing has been done. A forensic review from Rubina and McGeehin dated December, 2005 cites Peachtree MS as usurping $16M from the “above the line” projects, and the project size inflation for Miller Grove, New Tucker and New Oakvale also used more than their predicted share of funds. Under the direction of Stan Pritchett (an educator, not a construction manager) these projects became showcases, devouring SPLOST dollars, leaving little for everyone else. For example, Miller Grove’s projected cost was $22 million, yet in the end, it cost over $28 million. Schools like Cross Keys kept getting sidelined. Our school system's SPLOST 2 ineptitude continues to cause pain and angst for many students and teachers in our older buildings as we wait our turn and watch the money disappear.

In April at a public meeting at Ashford Park ES, Patricia Pope promised the community that the new RFP would be opened to bid, reviewed, and signed in a matter of weeks. She also promised that there would be an additional briefing for the community on the proposed plan and schedule for the SPLOST III project once a contractor was named. It is July and no additional update has been forthcoming, no public briefing and to my knowledge no contract signed. Is Cross Keys about to slip down the priority list yet again?

I encourage you all to drive there and walk the property and ask yourself, would you send your child to this school every day? Would Crawford Lewis? Would Pat Pope? Would Mr. Mosely? Would Don McChesney? Our board reps need to put all other projects on hold until they do something about Cross Keys. This has become a complete embarrassment.

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To access the full size photos in this album, click here and push the play button.

117 comments:

mykidsmom said...

I wonder if the delay in any decision with regards to Cross Keys has anything to do with the school consolidation and school closing plan we are supposed to hear about in August?

Cerebration said...

Well, that would explain the past few months, but what about the past few YEARS?

mykidsmom said...

IMO, and I hate to have to believe this, but as you pointed out, Cross Keys is predominantly a Hispanic student body.....We can draw our conclusions, but I think your point is correct, cere.

Cerebration said...

To further explain some of the photos --

We begin the slideshow at the athletic fields behind the many, sprawling, decrepit school buildings. There is an embankment to the right in the photos that leads to a dirt path. The embankment and path belong to DeKalb County School System. The land to the right of the path belongs either to private owners or DeKalb County. The embankment sloping to the path was an area identified for clean-up in “Operation Urban Camper”, a clean-up project initiated by community police officer.

This photo essay shows how much overgrowth has been cleared on the embankment. The school side of the embankment used to be as dense as the county’s side. It’s a start. But boy, is there more to do. The rest of the slideshow takes you on a tour of Cross Keys High School – inside and out. You should be able to see the crumbling, messy, leaky areas in many of the buildings. There is a photo of an old television monitor. These dinosaurs were recently given to the teachers so that students could actually watch Channel 1 News.

There is also a shot of a switch in the ceiling that says “high, low, on, off” – this is how teachers work their AC in the classrooms – they must go out into the hallway and poke a yardstick into the ceiling tile, hopefully mashing the button they want.

Additionally, there are photos of giant interior AC units with freaky silver ductwork flowing to the outside. There’s a dead, overgrown “garden” swarming with yellow jackets, broken windows, sidewalks, tiles, and doors. There’s an interesting behemoth steel box from the 60’s that serves as a “lift” down the stairs for handicapped students. (I want someone from the state who doles out the IDEA stimulus money to see this.

You may also notice that there isn’t a “SmartBoard” or “Prometheus Board” to be found, just well-worn dry-erase boards.

We didn’t get photos of the gymnasium, it was locked up, however the story is that the gym was condemned “for a while” after the mezzanine fell. This mezzanine was supposed to house the workout equipment – given to Cross Keys by a private school after they played against them in football and realized the Cross Keys team didn’t have workout equipment. In fact, at first the school system almost put a stop to that by stating that the school could not accept the gift, however in the end they acquiesced and allowed the gift. However, it is now set up in a back hallway and part of an office space on the other side of the cafeteria (nowhere near the gym.)

This school sprawls – it has several one level buildings spread out across the property, which in my opinion, and the opinions of the teachers I spoke with, need demolished. Let’s do a “Tucker” at Cross Keys. Let’s build a really nice new high school on the athletic fields and then move the students and tear down the old buildings. There are a couple of buildings that currently do not look like they are in use at all, so those could be torn down asap as well. Moving the main building to the back of the property would also create some space between the high school and Woodward Elementary, which is just a few hundred feet away and faces Cross Keys gymnasium. Let’s even leave room to build a new Sequoyah Middle School on the property and let the marines have the current one. It’s located 7.5 miles away – nowhere near the community it serves.

DCSS is merging the High School of Technology North into the Cross Keys High School and guess how – trailers! They recently moved several modulars onto the tennis courts to accommodate the new students, in addition to the six trailers already on the property. Can you imagine the outrage had they attempted this with the High School of the Arts merge into Avondale? They spent $10 million carving out a suitable space for those 284 students for this fall. Meanwhile – still not one shovel has turned at Cross Keys.

Anonymous said...

Good writeup! Who is the Mr. Brown mentioned in the notes section?

The plain truth is schools usually get what their communities advocate for.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: I appreciate what you have done with this essay and slideshow - I do not believe that many people really take the time to "see for themselves." Speaking on behalf of Cross Keys HS is really speaking on behalf of the "voiceless."

I have toured the grounds myself as I have tried to learn the history of Cross Keys and cannot understand how leadership has let it go this far. It is a 20 year effort that won't be undone overnight.

At its peak, this school of 800 served 2200 students and incorporated communities as far north of Peachtree as Historic Brookhaven, Windsor Pkwy, Lynwood Park/Silver Lake, and all the way to Peachtree Golf at Ashford Dunwoody.

Today, all of Brookhaven with the exception of Woodward ES' tiny district is now served by Montgomery ES (overcrowded), Ashford ES (overcrowding - received their first trailers this week) and Chamblee HS (overcrowded).

@Anonymous: "Good writeup! Who is the Mr. Brown mentioned in the notes section?"

Thomas Brown is on the BOE and is the current Chair.

"The plain truth is schools usually get what their communities advocate for."

That is true. In the case of Cross Keys their attendance lines have separated it from its natural center of support in Brookhaven. The elongated, and tortured district runs from the Fulton Co line in the heart of Brookhaven to the Gwinnett Co line narrowly along Buford Hwy and outside I-285. Where it borders Chamblee High's lines in Brookhaven, aging apartments are deftly drawn into Cross Keys zone via Woodward and Montclair ES.

A large chunk of Cross Keys zone is PDK Airport making the district an even more narrow strip than the district map reveals. If you we were to blot out the PDK aiport from this zone map, it would look like two districts joined by an umblical cord ... and that's what it is with the remnants of Sequoyah HS (now MS) and Cross Keys HS. It appears to be a district intentionally or negligently designed to be void of organized stakeholders and the results we can see for ourselves.

The neglect has been so systematic and for so long, I think DCSS has painted itself into a corner right here in Brookhaven. There is no painless way out of this mess.

Close Cross Keys HS? And ship the 800+ kids where? And don't forget there will be an incremental increase in attendance from this Brookhaven area area if it goes Chamblee or Lakeside - not really feasible.

The school must be re-built and the district re-constituted - anything else is irresponsible.

Now I all fired up again ... sigh. The question of "declining" attendance for Cross Keys in light of re-development on Buford Hwy is a red herring.

Ashford Park ES just 3 years ago was on a short list for closure targets due to under-enrollment. What happened?

Sembler bought the sprawling Peachtree Garden Apartments on P'tree Rd and with it "swept away" 15-20% of the ES students. The current BOE would have bet that Ashford ES would have been even more under-enrolled and they would have been wrong.

Not only do many of the displaced families try to find a way to keep their kids in their current school, the community around the school saw an opportunity to "turn around" the school. Enrollment shot up and now Ashford Park ES has a very active and organized community behind it.

The same thing will happen at Woodward ES and Cross Keys HS if DCSS and the BOE restore these schools through construction, community outreach, and yes, attendance lines. Rant-out!

Kim Gokce said...

P.S. If you are in or out of Cross Keys district and want to be "plugged in" to community efforts, I have just opened a publishing "Group" at Community Radar for CKHS supporters. It's a small start but it's a start ...

Cross Keys Supporters

Ella Smith said...

I cannot believe that they are not going to address this situation.

I think we will find out in August.

Open+Transparent said...

Cross Keys is still in limbo because 1) the parents and surrounding community are not politically organized, so the DCSS Central Office doesn't give a damn about it or Seqouyah, and 2) the BOE rep's for Cross Keys haven't done diddly to demand better facilities.

So now, it's denigrated to a facility that is beyond repair, and needs to be demolished. It's more than an emarassment. Crawford Lewis and his inner circle ignore the schools in the Buford Highway corridor. And it ain't going to change until the area's residents get organized and demand change.

Luckily, Kim G. is around to help make that happen!

Anonymous said...

O+T nailed it. 0% parent participation, 100% language barrier, low voter turnout -- BOE reps don't give a shi% about Cross Keys and its feeders. It's a disgrace that BOE reps stump about "equity and access" for all kids then absolutely turn their backs on those that really need their help the most.

Kim Gokce said...

@Ella: "I think we will find out in August."

Unfortunately, I think we already know. I know that Dr. Lewis indicated that his team will be making consolidation and attendance lines recommendations to the BOE but I have to believe it's status quo for Cross Keys.

Don McChesney who "owns" the school on the BOE District #2 has very clearly and publicly stated that the BOE has reviewed the situation at Cross Keys and will proceed with SPLOST III reno and DeKalb Tech North move as planned. But, he elaborated that in light of the "uncertainty" about Buford Hwy gray field development, they will do so in such a way that they can "pivot" as future circumstances evolve.

Now, I do not know what is really going on but "pivot" implies left/right and up/down direction. So, I have to believe that he is not convinced that this HS is viable as a traditional HS for Brookhaven and is waiting to see what the "community" demands and how development on Buford Hwy evolves.

Trouble is, development on Buford in the current economic environment may be 5, 10, or more years away. Trouble is, due to re-districting, there is but a tiny corner of Brookhaven left in Brookhaven's HS.

So, if the BOE will defer additional decisio-making about Cross Keys until the "Buford Hwy situation" is more clear, to me that means status quo for the school for at least the next few years in terms of construction and attendance.

As I have said elsehere, I am shamelessly using the SPLOST III investment to re-introduce Brookhaven to Cross Keys HS. I thought this project would demonstrate DCSS' commitment to the school. It seems to be actually emphasizing DCSS' enigmatic positions about the school and highlighting deeper problems that $16 +/- in renovations won't remedy.

Kim Gokce said...

@O&T: "Luckily, Kim G. is around to help make that happen!"

While I appreciate the hat tip, I can only guarantee one thing that will happen this upcoming school year as I bring Brookhaven area mothers, fathers, and volunteers to Woodward and Cross Keys: they will be moved by the incredible kids and faculty. By all testimony, these schools have the most well-behaved and motivated kids you will find in DeKalb.

Every day that I interact with the Cross Keys students and staff, I am more amazed at their quality and more frustrated at their status.

This year will be the turning point or the swan song for Cross Keys.

Cerebration said...

For a contrary look at DCSS, read this article touting the glorious attributes of Arabia Mountain HS - which is predicted to hold 1600 students this August -- and you can bet - we will be reporting on their ACTUAL enrollment!

Back in the 1970s, there was only one high school in southeast DeKalb – Lithonia High. But today the region is the fastest growing part of the county. This will be the area’s sixth high school.

“Last time I counted, MLK had more than 30 trailers,” said School Board member Jay Cunningham, in whose district the school sits. “Growth is outpacing the school system. This school will go a long way in helping us with a major overcrowding problem.”


Yeah, right!

http://www.championnewspaper.com/local34.html

Ella Smith said...

I cannot get the article up but I thought that the demographic report shows that the schools population is going down in the southside of the county.

There were some questions about it at the last school board meeting.
AYP students leaving has really hurt the southside of the county.

I am disappointed in Don is he does not stand up for Cross Keys. I have to believe he will. He was so supportive during the election. I am hopeful for something good.

Cerebration said...

I am concerned that he won't. Rumor has it that there is actually discussion to wait until SPLOST 4 and build a brand new Chamblee HS and merge Cross Keys in with Chamblee.

That would be stupid. First, you will end up with one of those large scale high schools with 2200 or more students. Then the location wouldn't work - Chamblee is on a congested road on 14 little acres of land. Cross Keys is on 37.4 acres of land off the beaten path a bit.

Don is waiting to see what the county approves for zoning in that area. I think he may believe that if 3 apartment buildings are torn down for Symphony Park, we may lose a lot of students. But of course, we wouldn't lose too many, there are still many apartments in the area - PLUS - we could actually rezone Cross Keys into something that doesn't look like an anemic amoeba.

Kim Gokce said...

@Ella: "I am disappointed in Don is he does not stand up for Cross Keys."

We'll have to see - I don't think you solve the problems in this area without a) new attendance lines and, most likely, b) new construction. It's these things or close the school before it brings a law suit on us all.

Let's face it, addressing Cross Keys in a holistic fashion would require a visionary leader who believes public education in Brookhaven is under served and that is willing to fight ... and hard! There would be very organized and vocal opposition to an expanded Cross Keys HS.

It would also require that all parties follow-through on their promise to "do it differently" going forward. That is, making decisions in the best interest of ALL students and from a system-wide perspective, not neighborhood by neighborhood in a reactionary way.

I haven't seen evidence that either is on the way but I keep my eye on the horizon and keep speaking up for these amazing kids and teachers.

For me, Cross Keys situation is the canary in the mine shaft for DeKalb's politics of education ... there is every opportunity and justification for doing the right things in Cross Keys' case.

Soon we find out if there is the will ...

Cerebration said...

Although Cross Keys 11th grade students struggled some on the English and Social Studies sections of the GHSGT (they do have the largest ESOL population in the county) take a gander at their math and science scores -- those are straight up knowledge - no cultural knowledge needed like English and SS.

Science percentage passing test

Georgia 86

DeKalb 82

Cross Keys 84

Chamblee 93

=================

Math percentage passing test

Georgia 92

DeKalb 88

Cross Keys 92

Chamblee 97

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration: "GHSGT"

Yes, and do not forget that Chamblee has a legion of AP students and the Magnet effect.

The students and faculty at Cross Keys are quietly doing amazing things in that haunted house down the street from me. Shame on us ...

Anon South Side said...

Perfect example that the building while important does not stop the learning.... I'm glad that the staff and students of Cross Keys has the ability to still learn in the mist of learning in unacceptable conditions.......

This is another example of people speaking up and nothing being done about it.....it's shameful.

Cerebration said...

Ella, you are correct in thinking that enrollments are down in South DeKalb. Not only that, but enrollments are projected to grow in Central DeKalb. The demographer predicted the most growth in the Lakeside, Dunwoody, Tucker area until 2016.

We printed an article here a while back showing the available seats in our high schools - it's over 3,500!

It's wild to think that the board still plans on building two of the three previously planned additions to fairly new schools in SW DeKalb, even though they have also recently built Arabia HS in the same area, which can eliminate the over-crowding, if they would only choose to use it for that, instead of deeming it a "magnet" school.

This is a terrible waste of taxpayer money -- while other schools such as Lakeside, Chamblee and Cross Keys are crumbling and in serious need of repairs. Lakeside apparently has an architectural plan (it's overkill to add 28 classrooms to that building, IMO though) - but Chamblee and Cross Keys still wait for some attention.

I think you'll find this chart and article interesting.

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/04/check-out-these-numbers.html

Cerebration said...

In fact, if you would like to download the demographers projections, you can find them here

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/~planning/demographer.asp

What I garnered from perusing the reports is that the projections say that Miller Grove will continue to decline in students until 2013 and then may grow at around 2% per year until 2016.

SW DeKalb will decline until 2014 and the will only grow slightly for a couple of years.

Lithonia pretty much holds steady.

MLK will decline until 2012 and then grow over 4% for each of two years and then grow by 2% in 2016.

There are no projections for Arabia - I think this is because the demographer was unaware of the plans for Arabia - which calls all of the above numbers into question, IMO.

Tucker will decline a bit each year until 2012, then grow over 4% for each of 2 years and then decline again in 2016.

Chamblee is up and down, but not much either way, leaving their enrollment steady.

Druid Hills will have consistent growth from 2011-2016 (from .5% to 7.7% annually.)

Dunwoody is projected to grow wildly from here on out - from 5.8% to over 11.3% each year until 2016.

Lakeside appears to remain steady until 2012 and then will have a small bit of growth (2.5%, 1.4%) until 2014 where they will grow by 5.4% and 4.3% the following years.

And Cross Keys is projected to grow quite a bit --from between 4 and 13% each year from 2010 until 2016.

Of course, ALL of these numbers do not even begin to consider AYP and now State transfers - these numbers are strictly based on demographic projections for the community.

Cerebration said...

Here's the quote --

High School Attendance Areas
By the early to mid part of the next decade the high school enrollment for the
district is projected to be approximately 4,500 students above instructional capacity. To
remedy this situation the district should strongly consider building new high school
facilities and /or expanding several of the current high school buildings where land and
logistics permit. The area with the greatest need for this expanded capacity is the east/east
central section of the district and the north/ north east (Dunwoody- Tucker-Lakeside)
region.


As you can see - we are actually now UNDER enrolled, because we built FAR too many high school seats in the wrong parts of the county. We have huge numbers of available seats in some schools, while the schools the demographers projected growth for remain crowded. And the school system is now trying to entice us to drive 25+ miles per day to send our kids to the new school they built clear down by the Rockdale border!

Open+Transparent said...

Not only is the system wide enrollment shrinking, if the DCSS Central Office actually gave a damn about enforcing residency requirements, and not allowing DCSS employees who don't live in the county to bring their children to school (an untaxed $12-15,000 per year benefit), then the enrollment would be 1000-3000 students less than it is now!

Open+Transparent said...

I'm guess 500-1000 of the non-resident students are from Clayton County alone.

Cerebration said...

Well, we only have a few more weeks to find out the final enrollment at Arabia. Of course, they may have to resort to enticing students from nearby Clayton and Rockdale - since they aren't getting any takers from way out in North DeKalb - due to the commute.

Kim Gokce said...

I know we are supposed to be a "data-driven" system but I have to add that we cannot ignore common sense. Here is what I mean ...

In the case of Arabia, if the leadership in the school delivers on the academic promise for this school, they will not have to worry about recruiting transfer students - families will move into the district.

The "Build it and they will come" theory is scoffed at by many in DCSS because they think only in terms of construction. What I mean when using this phrase is bettter stated as "everyone loves winners."

Even in my little corner of DeKalb parents decide to pick up house and move as little as 3000 feet to get into Chamblee's district in Brookhaven because of the perception of this school as "premier."

During redistricting 2 years ago, every neighborhood around here aggressively petitioned to move into Chamblee - we're talking about the walk zone for CKHS! The people know that DCSS isn't committed to Cross Keys success because they can see it with their own eyes every day. We don't like to admit it ... but MONEY TALKS! And the sore lack of investment in CKHS speaks volumes.

DCSS seems to have been chasing it's tail trying to provide "choice" when I think the vast majority of families would choose their "home" school if they were succeeding.

In the case of Cross Keys, the school's physical condition has become so pitiful, convincing families in district to come back isn't going to be easy. Like I've said in many posts, we talking about decades of neglect - it will take dramatic leadership to change any time soon.

If our Brookhaven communities see DCSS "white-washing" Cross Keys via the SPLOST III renovation, it won't convince anyone that there's a future at the school. I'm telling everyone to take a second look at Cross Keys. If when they do they aren't impressed with the investment's results, status quo.

Every since I moved into this area in 2003, the predominant assumption has been that Cross Keys will be closed. Who wants to join a dying cause?

DCSS had better take one last, long look at its strategy (or lack thereof) for Cross Keys HS. It begs for a new vision and the entire region's problems with overcrowding could be materially improved with good planning at the Cross Keys site.

Our system cannot serve the demand for public education in our area today ... how will they with Cross Keys gone? The western edge of the county needs a well designed high school cluster that will be able to "stand on its own" in terms of community support. The Cross Keys property is the right place to do this for the long run.

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration: I took the liberty of inserting an aerial view I use to address these topics with my neighbors. I think it will help readers not familiar with the area.

Cerebration said...

that is very helpful, Kim -- Folks, if you don't know - you can click on Kim's map and it will take you to a bigger version for better viewing... better yet- I really recommend that you take the time to go there and walk around the property - it's enormous! (Especially when compared to dinky 14 acre Chamblee...) This is one property we shouldn't let go of.

Kim Gokce said...

Also, to clarify the lots and referenced sizes. It looks like there's "ONLY" 40 acres. Was this a Reconstruction land grant? I wonder where the mule went?

Here's what's in the tax rolls:

Woodward and the CKSH Baseball lot:
20.02AC Parcel 18 198 05 001

Cross Keys Bldg Complex lot:
18.60AC Parcel 18 198 01 046

North Cliff Valley Way frontage:
2.00AC Parcel 18 198 01 042

mykidsmom said...

Have all of the projects other than brand new schools scheduled to open in August been put on hold? There has been no movement that I can see to start the addition at Dunwoody HS and this was scheduled to begin last winter.

Cerebration said...

Have you ever noticed one of my favorite quotes on the right hand column here on the blog?

It says, "Irony Trumps Everything"

Proof - the quote below is taken from an article about Arabia HS way back in August, 2003 - from SouthFace - an Environmental Roundtable --
http://www.southface.org/web/programs&events/SART/sart_archive/sart_archive-2003.htm#august

"The Arabia Mountain School allows Dekalb County to set an example of energy efficiency to other school systems as well as many new generations of students."

They obviously hadn't seen Cross Keys.

Cerebration said...

mykidsmom - I think they are wringing their hands. (Re-read the meeting minutes at the top of this article.) They are discussing all kinds of new ideas, I've heard - which include redistricting and possibly building a new school in the north and consolidating... they are very much off the rails and without a map, IMO. Either that - or they have all kinds of plans 'shovel ready' but just forgot to schedule the community meetings to share the excitement!

ps - Kim - remember - Woodward ES - which is tucked in the 'armpit' of Cross Keys adds another 13+ acres to the total!

Cerebration said...

I hope that you are all able to get both slideshows onscreen at the same time (Cross Keys in this article and the DCSS Beauty Shots on the right hand column). It's astounding to visually compare the conditions at Cross Keys side by side with some of the fabulous renovations and new construction in other parts of the county.

Anonymous said...

PEOPLE, YOU DON'T GET IT. CRAWFORD LEWIS, MARCUS TURK AND THE OTHER SCHOOL SYSTEM ADMINISTRATORS DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT ANY SCHOOL IN THE BUFORD HIGHWAY CORRIDOR OR HEAVILY LATINO AREA.

One Fed Up Insider said...

I totally agree with Anon 8:07...

I was at a student council meeting where Dr. Lewis stated how proud he was that he had visited ALL the HIGH schools in the DCSS system.

That is until , and I can't remember the student's name but they were a CKHS students, corrected DCSS in front of everyone.


You better believe that Clew and company where at CKHS the next week.

Cerebration said...

oh my gosh! He completely forgot about them? I want to cry!

One Fed Up Insider said...

I did it for all of us.

One Fed Up Insider said...

And still do as I run by there everyday for the last 15+ years. It really breaks my heart..

So I know that it is easy to blame Clew and company but we have to dig deeper than the administration that we have know.

Does this go all the way to Halford or was he gone by then?

Cerebration said...

I don't know - but anyone who grew up in Atlanta will tell you that Cross Keys was THE Premier High School in all of Atlanta. That was before they coined the phrase "Premier DeKalb". Grads from CK who went to UGA were well-respected, for education and sports. One of my friends who just turned 60 said wearing a Cross Keys letter jacket around UGA was the tops!

Kim Gokce said...

@cere: "Grads from CK who went to UGA were well-respected"

as they should be now ... as pscexb brought to my attention, Corey Butler was a recent CHKS grad - just finished up at UGA as captain of b-ball team and on his way to med school at last status.

"ps - Kim - remember - Woodward ES - which is tucked in the 'armpit' of Cross Keys adds another 13+ acres to the total!"

That 13 should be included in the 20acres I doc'd above. There are only the three land lots on the map. I believe any DCSS documentation may confuse the matter since it may refer to the school sites rather than the lots. Where's your number from?

I would defer to the tax assessor's map because it matches the "reality" I see on the ground.

Baring additional info, I say it's still "ONLY" 40 acres total :)

themommy said...

I think CK and the area schools easily begin their decline during Halford's last years. Academically, they were already showing poor test scores, 20 years ago when I was house hunting. I know people who moved around that time out of the area to different school districts.

One of the biggest errors, and I think that some people realize it now, of the SPLOST program was building such state of the art schools and leaving no money for renovations.

With the exception of a couple of elementary schools, no school has been given a full face lift from SPLOST. Even now, we are still piece mealing, fixing the bathrooms here, the lighting there.

What should have happened was that new schools should have been built to the most basic specs and system should have started renovating the older buildings.

Finally, one of my children's schools was due new bathrooms this summer. It is July 11th, no work has started. We were promised that this project would be completed this summer -- it was already a year late.

Dunwoody's project is way behind, they are just finishing the design portion.

Cerebration said...

You're correct, themommy. On top of that, they found that they had made more promises than they had money for in SPLOST 2 - so they came up with this "above the line" and "Below the line" designation for projects. (They refer to them in the forensic audit as ATL and BTL.) If your school was somehow deemed "above" the line, you got the money. Many of these projects were politically decided. For instance, Lakeside had $2 million in that budget that disappeared and there was $16 million in that budget for restroom renovations that also disappeared. Neither one of these (and other projects) ever reappeared on SPLOST 3 - they were line items gone forever.

We had really, REALLY bad management of SPLOST 2 money, which is why I am such a supporter of Pat Pope. However, she needs help - her job is enormous. There should be a planner - someone with the "vision" for construction, renovation, needs and attendance lines and a construction manager over all of the projects. She's doing both - and that's why it's so hard to get an audience with her.

(ps - Kim - my numbers are from the DCSS planning department - they say Cross Keys has 37.4 acres and Woodward has 13.6 - for a total of 51 acres.)

Cerebration said...

I'm also very sorry to have to say, I do think that there is a racial component to this. Our school system has struggled for three decades over racial equality for blacks and whites. That's the focus - blacks and whites. Back when the original Supreme Court case was filed, the system was only 5% black and we were forced by the court over the next 26 or so years to integrate and prove equality in access.

Today, the system is 75% black. Hispanics now represent 10% of our student population (about the same number as whites) yet there is no mention of equality in access for them. (Additionally, we have 3-5% Asian as well as immigrants from all over the globe.) Our school system has changed dramatically, yet the focus continues to remain on equality for blacks.

Time for some new-millennium thinking! There is a SERIOUS lack of support for these Hispanic students. They have a crumbling, horrible facility, very old supplies (tv monitors, wipe boards, handicap access, books that are falling apart, workout equipment DONATED BY A PRIVATE SCHOOL RIVAL, a formerly condemned gymnasium, no auditorium, homeless people living on the property ...) yet this is not a front page issue for our (nearly all black) administration. It really does seem as if they don't care. The fact that Dr. Lewis thought he had visited ALL high schools in the system - while completely FORGETTING about the existence of Cross Keys is evidence of his lack of concern.

Get in the car - drive by Cross Keys and look around inside - then drive down by Lithonia, MLK, Southwest DK, Miller Grove, Stephenson, Towers, and our new crown jewel, Arabia and let me know if the inequity doesn't jump out and bite you. It's so far beyond obvious it would be laughable if it weren't so incredibly sad.

Anonymous said...

There are no Latino administrators at Cross Keys despite its being 75% Latino. I thought that perhaps there was a limited pool of Latino administrators to hire from, until I read that a Gwinnett school fired a Latino principal, and promptly hired a Latino to replace the principal.

It is clear that DCSS has no consideration for CK in its administrative hiring. The principal has no experience as a classroom teacher. Only 1 staff person speaks Spanish.

That being said, the school has a crack ESOL department. DCSS could have gotten grants and recognition for developing ESOL methods in such a perfect model school. But alas, none of that happened.

Finally, if the community really wants to develop support for CK, then it'll need to be done in very culturally sensitive way. Not at all like the hamfisted, biased moves made by DCSS>

Anonymous said...

Well said Cere, just ask a teacher about the late great Springboard. ESOL teachers at training howled about how inadequate and inappropriate it was for the Latino student. The usual response was "this prepares students for the CRCT, and our ESOL students have to take that test don't they?"

When it was suggested that it needed to be modified, and add hours of work for ESOL teachers, it was declared that teachers had to follow the program as structured if it were to work. Teachers pretended to follow it for a year and then all but abandoned it in those schools with a large ESOL population. More millions down the drain.

DCSS has been unconciously racist for years.

Anonymous said...

What's that aout the CK principal having no classroom experience??? WTF?? I thought every principal has to have at least 3 years in the classroom!

There are so many potential Latino principals and administrators in California, it would take just a little bit of smart recruiting to bring them here. The DCSS Central Office is completely devoid of Latino, Asain and South Asian staff members. Crawford seems to like a high majority black Central Office staff, and that's the way it will stay as long as he's in charge.

Cerebration said...

We'll double-check on that - not sure it's true.

Cerebration said...

As far as the Supreme Court supervision - I found this 1986 decision by the court very interesting - in light of how Hispanics are fairing today under our black leadership.

"While there will always be something more that the DCSS can do to improve the chances for black students to achieve academic success, the court cannot find, as plaintiffs urge, that the DCSS has been negligent in its duties to implement programs to assist black students. The DCSS is a very innovative school system. It has implemented a number of programs to enrich the lives and enhance the academic potential of all students, both blacks and whites. Many remedial programs are targeted in the majority black schools. Programs have been implemented to involve the parents and offset negative socioeconomic factors. If the DCSS has failed in any way in this regard, it is not because the school system has been negligent in its duties."

"Despite its finding that there was no intentional violation, the District Court found that DCSS had not achieved unitary status with respect to quality of education because teachers in schools with disproportionately high percentages of white students tended to be better educated and have more experience than their counterparts in schools with disproportionately high percentages of black students, and because per-pupil expenditures in majority white schools exceeded per-pupil expenditures in majority black schools. From these findings, the District Court ordered DCSS to equalize spending and remedy the other problems."

Anonymous said...

It is true that the CK principal has no classroom experience. She came from Gwinnett, where she was an assistant principal at Norcross HS. I think the 3 year rule only applies to administrators promoted from within the county.

And one administrator is of Latino descent. Her mother is Latina and her father is African-American, but I have never heard speak Spanish to students or parents.

Let me tell you something about the administrators and other staff at Cross Keys. The staff keep the school running, not the administrators. There were several mornings last year when walking into the front office, I hear the phone ringing, see visitors in the front office, and run into substitutes waiting to find out their assignments. And NOBODY was there to answer to phone or help the visitors and substitutes. Most teachers get to the school earlier than the principal. Thank GOD the kids are good because if they weren't, I don't even want to think about what it would be like there.

Teachers have taken responsibility for projects that should be taken care of by the administrators. For example-the spring administration of the EOCT. Clearly an administrator's job, but when an ESOL teacher expressed concern that some ESOL students would not be given the extra alloted time they are entitled to, she was essentially told that was the way it was going to be. Unless she came up with a better plan. Which she did-for the students. As a result, she was taken from her classroom for about 3 days to "help" with the organizing the testing. And by the way, TWO administrators were assigned to be in charge of the that testing. And the thanks this teacher got? A free Subway sandwich from one of the administrators.

One administrator was conspicuously absent last semester. It seems she was working on her doctorate. That's quite the magical excuse. She didn't have to fulfill such administrative duties as attending athletic events, being visible in the hallways, consistently handling discipline referrals. I cannot even imagine a teacher trying to pull this kind of student: "Sorry. I can't teach my classes today. I have a paper due tomorrow." That would not be tolerated.

If ANYTHING positive is accomplished at CK, I can guarantee you that 95% of the time, it's because of the teachers, the amazing counselors, and other staff members who take an interest in the school.

Cerebration said...

I absolutely believe you anonymous. I met several Cross Keys teachers while researching this post and let me tell you - I wish my children had had these teachers. Cheerful, dedicated warriors they are!!

Ella Smith said...

There is no doubt we need a new school in the Lakeside-Druid Hill-Cross Keys Area. I still project a new high school will be built on North Druid Hills Road and that is why there is no construction at Cross Keys. I do not feel Cross Keys is being left out but a bigger nicer vision is in the works. A new school with a new name and a new vision for the future. I would like to see the property where Cross Keys is become a new middle school. That would be nice also. Again, I believe some schools in the south side will be closed and I believe Cross Keys as it is now could be closed and Briarcliff as it is now could be closed and new school built due to the tendency for the new flight movement from the south side of the county due to No Child Left Behind.

It is so sad to me that a school like Lakeside that was one of the top schools in the county according to Newsweek though all of a sudden is not even in the top 1000 schools in the nation within a one year period. Now the community has not changed. The community children going to Lakeside have not changed. The standards did changed slightly but what really changed what the attendance lines of the students attending Lakeside High School. This is a perfect example from a different propective thought that just moving to a new school does not mean that the child's scores will go up. In fact Lakeside High School's Standing Went done. It is my understanding that the discipline at Lakeside has gotten much worse. One of my son's friends was talking about a student who got mad at his teacher for writing his up so he through a brick through the window at her because he was mad at her for writing him up. I do not know about you but I was very upset to know that things like that were going on at my son's school. I teach special education and I do not have students who would do things like this. I do not know what to think about this.

Cerebration said...

Ella, where do you get these ideas of what is going to happen? Are there meetings going on that we're not aware of - because according to the minutes at the top of this post, as of May 1, they had absolutely no plans in place at all. Please re-read the minutes that begin this post and let us know if there is more that we don't know. There are hundreds of students in limbo while the board dinks around...

(Too many fires to put out -- cheaters, suicides, military academies, yada yada...)

Cerebration said...

Specifically,

Dr. Walker stated the Cross Keys High School community is troubled by the development in the area. He inquired should the money be spent as recommended on Cross Keys or should we go in another direction?

FACT: No one I know in the Cross Keys community is troubled by the development in the area. Who EXACTLY is he referring to? Sembler? Don McChesney?

Ms. Pope thinks we should move forward with the renovations for Cross Keys with the idea of a different designation later, possibly a technology school, military school or school of the arts.

Renovations? They have only $16 million budgeted for this project - there is no way to bring this building up to the standards of South DeKalb - this plan seems to be nothing but a fluff job.

Ms. Pope noted the DeKalb County Planning Commission does advise us of developments. She stated they build anyway without real input from the school system.

What happened to the "collaboration" everyone promised during the campaigns?

Mr. McChesney made a report of the Cross Keys demographics and DeKalb County Board of Commissioners plans for the area.

Where's the report? There are no details in the minutes, other than he made a report.

Ms. Pope stated the Board needs to approve the surplus plan for the future.

What surplus plan? Whoever wrote up these minutes did a random job. There are no details. No supporting information.

Mr. Brown asked should we tear down some buildings and convert to green space?

What Mr. Brown? There is no Mr. Brown listed on the attendance list. Who is this person suggesting that we convert someone else's school property into green space? I'd like to know if Mr. Brown has walked the property or if this is just more random brainstorming.

THERE IS NO PLAN...Except to move the students from the High School of Technology North into trailers on Cross Keys tennis courts. End of plan.

Cerebration said...

This is what has actually, apparently been sort of approved (conditionally approved) --

There was a question regarding the spending of $20 million on Cross Keys High School based on the student enrollment. The Committee recommends the approval for spending the $20 million on Cross Keys High School pending Ms. Pope’s recommendation for future programs at Cross Keys High School.


SO - it's acceptable to spend $10 million on 284 DSA students - but they question the $20 million to fix up Cross Keys....(which is not enough to make this place respectable.) PLUS - where is Cross Keys on the Auditorium/Career Tech list? How about the now, $40 million slated for Lakeside's 1600 students? Isn't that proportionate? How about Tucker's $40 million? Arabia's $40 million? Towers HS multi-millions? (They only have 1000 kids in a facility that can hold almost 1400.) Clarkston is no bigger than CK and is getting a total reno, auditorium and career tech addition...

Flimsy excuses!

Cerebration said...

The irony is -- enrollment at Cross Keys is low because the school board kept redrawing the attendance lines cutting out all kinds of neighborhoods and sending those kids to Chamblee! (Which is now over-capacity by about 300, ironically!)

mykidsmom said...

And continued irony - if it were not for adding a Magnet program into Chamblee HS, it would have been closed due to low enrollment.

Someone missed the boat a long time ago in setting up proper attendance zones in that area.

Anonymous said...

Is Cross Keys' blind chemistry teacher still teaching? With due respect and admiration for a talented teacher with a handicap, it seems that either the students in the class would be shortchanged by participating only in "safe" experiments, or endangered by participation in all. Got to wonder if Clew knew he'd get the least amount of parental feedback by placing this talented educator there. As for the School Board Members: As long as it's not in my back yard...

Cerebration said...

Obviously, you've never seen a biology or chemistry lab at Cross Keys or Lakeside -- they don't exist. Good luck trying to find a microscope newer than one from 1964. Very, VERY little lab work is done in our older schools. (The kids just try to "imagine" it.)

Anonymous said...

Ella ~

Word @ Lakeside is that the reason they fell out of the Newsweek Top 1000 is because the principal didn't respond to MULTIPLE attempts from Newsweek to obtain information/statistics/data. The school has not "fallen from grace". The principal didn't bother to send Newsweek the information they repeatedly asked for.

My guess is that with a new principal at the helm, Lakeside will "miraculously" jump back into the Top 1000 next year. Something tells me that Joe Reed will take the time to respond to Newsweek.

Let's wait and see...

Dekalbparent said...

Do I understand Lakeside is slated to receive $40 million in additions/renovations? Am I misunderstanding - is it that $40 mill was promised and has not materialized? Don't misunderstand me - the condition of Lakeside is pretty awful, and 20 trailers is appalling.

DHA is getting $10 million for 250 students...

Druid Hills is allotted $11 million for renovation, (1350 students), which will not add much more classroom capacity, because some classrooms have to be enlarged (to come up to state regs) at the expense of other classrooms (sort of a 2 - for - three trade).

Additions are slated for schools built recently with falling enrollments

I'm wondering who is deciding what each school needs, and how much to allot. Are the figures coming out of the ozone? Or where?

Anonymous said...

DHA is getting $10 million for 250 students...

Coincidence? Judget for yourself.

One of the BOE members has a long history with DSA, and it's not one of the "usual suspects".

Cerebration said...

I don't know the exact figure for Lakeside, but it's substantial now. First, they are getting an auditorium/career tech package (which, an auditorium is promised for every high school except Cross Keys) then there's new money for a renovation, and new money for an addition of 28 classrooms. (Plus money to bring the track and tennis courts and pool back up to snuff.) I think this classroom addition will make Lakeside enormous - and will remove the need for 22 trailers and make room for hundreds of AYP transfers (which is basically why they currently have the trailers).

If you build it, they will come, right?
-----------

Plus, yes, there has been $10 million in the budget for the move of DSA into Avondale. This project is supposed to be going on and ready in August. It consists of renovating the portion of Avondale that DSA will use. Avondale folks aren't too pleased - one lady spoke to the board saying that basically, they're only working on the 3rd hall on back...

But hey - there was also $10 million in the budget to move Open Campus out to the Mt Industrial facility (which also had it's own budget.)

It's all very random. But I figure, if Lakeside can finally get fixed - there's hope for Cross Keys and Chamblee (which is also in pretty bad shape with no auditorium.)

Dunwoody is also supposed to be in the design phases of the auditorium/career tech plan with some classroom additions.

Druid HIlls already has an auditorium, so they were allowed to use their $11 million as they needed. I don't think they got additional money for renovations but I could be wrong. That building was originally built in 1927!

And yes, it's very irritating that they are still planning an addition to Miller Grove. (MLK probably needs it, but MG is under-enrolled.) However, if Arabia had served as it was originally pitched - to alleviate over-crowding in that area, then perhaps even MLK wouldn't need an addition.

And SW DeKalb is now going to get an auditorium. They really need one apparently, but since this was never originally on SPLOST 3, you won't find it budgeted.

Cerebration said...

I don't know which board member you are referring to, but Dr. Lewis is a huge proponent of DSA. Remember now, that he made Pat Pope get drawings made of a Performing Arts Center and HS so that they could "shop it around"? Total budget looked to be $85-$100 million. Guess the recession nipped that discussion.

But maybe these constant attention diverters are the reason Pope can't stay focused on the list at hand.

(The Military Academy was another Lewis idea that demanded tons of her attention. Not to mention that he had her office raided and is having her investigated by the DA. I'm amazed she can get anything done at all while having to answer to all of his demands.)

Anonymous said...

I don't know which board member you are referring to, but Dr. Lewis is a huge proponent of DSA.

Go to the DSA webiste;

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/dsa/student_index.htm

Look at the last link on the left-hande side under "Students".

Cerebration said...

Oh, Jim's story is a complete heartbreak and he is doing all the good things he can in memory of his son, who was apparently an amazing and talented young man. Although Jim certainly supports the arts (his son was a student of the arts and would have been highly successful), I'm certain that Jim wouldn't allocate money to students there, while purposely denying it to others. He's not that kind of person at all.

I think the Cross Keys, Lakeside, Dunwoody, Chamblee situations are the way they are because the people in charge of the facilities keep pretending that these are works in progress -- when actually, they are not. (Well, apparently, Lakeside has drawings and a plan now.) Therefore, other board members assume there is movement and construction where there is not.

The members of the facilities committee are all new board members- Womack, McChesney and Walker. They are believing what they are told. Members of the Cross Keys community need to communicate with these three to clue them in that this school is viable and deserves respect. The way I read the last minutes I can find from this committee is that they are basically back to "brainstorming" about Cross Keys. There doesn't appear to be a hint of an actual plan.

Cerebration said...

The Redovians gave out many scholarships this past April - to students all around the metro area - they should be commended.

31 students from the following schools sent in applications for our 2009 TRMF Summer Scholarships: The DeKalb School of the Arts, North Atlanta, North Springs, Pebblebrook, Tri-Cities and Carver Performing Arts Schools.

Anonymous said...

I'm certain Mr. Redovian would not intentionally divert money. However, he certainly does not appear to be an advocate of the schools he represents or putting pressure on DCSS to complete the promised projects within his district.

Cerebration said...

That's apparently what needs to happen with Cross Keys. Supporters, go ahead and contact Don McChesney, your Board Rep for Cross Keys -- Let's hope he steps up to the plate for "his" school!

don_mcchesney@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
Hm# 404.635.5393
Fax# 404.634.6421
Term: 2009-2012
District #2

Cerebration said...

People in District 1 - (Chamblee & Dunwoody) contact Jim Redovian about your schools -

jim_redovian@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
Home: 404-392-2593
Fax: 770-351-0001
District 1
Term: 2007-2010

Anonymous said...

Anything Gene Walker says about Cross Keys should be taken with a grain of salt considering he's practically a Sembler employee. I thought Walker would be demanding a brand new Cross Keys and a complete site update too, since that would make it another selling point for Sembler's Town Brookhaven.

Kim Gokce said...

@Ahonymous: "since that would make it another selling point for Sembler's Town Brookhaven"

How would that work? Do you mean to appeal to potential residents of Town Brookhaven? The Sembler property is in Chamblee HS attendance ...

Dekalbparent said...

@ Cere -

I forgot about "build it and they will come"...

It is amazing to think they will actually add space to schools so there is room for transfers. Is it possible they are actually paying attention to the demographer's report and planning for a growth in population there?

[Possible thought process on someone's part]
If there is a BIG school in the area, and redistricting is done, that could take care of the growth in population in Lakeside / Dunwoody / Chamblee. That would shut the parents up about crowded schools with out having to renovate schools that need it.

Or maybe it justifies CK disappearing.

Maybe I'm being paranoid.

Cerebration said...

I've come to the conclusion that nothing is outside the realm of possibilities of what DCSS will do.

fedupindcss said...

Years ago, I asked a DCSS administrator why construction projects here were so far behind, while Gwinnett, Cobb, etc. were building away. His explanation was that due to the desegregation lawsuit the county was stopped cold on building, and as a result also stopped most major yearly maintenance projects as well (they used to have a rotation of painting, re-roofing, window replacement, etc.). His take was that all this stuff built up and that after the suit was gone, the county had to not only build new schools, but also catch up on old maintenance (left so long that it had gotten worse).

Cut to last January, when I asked another administrator the same question. Guess what? I got the same answer! Six years had passed, but they still keep the same excuses when it comes to building projects. We need to wake up and realize they will never, ever dig out of this hole without state intervention.

To Ella and Anon 9:18--Lakeside is back on the list; several parents contacted Newsweek, who in turn contacted the school to get the info (Newsweek admitted they should have followed up when they did not get it). Seems a lot of schools in GA didn't send it in initially, because the list of GA schools has grown by a lot.

Cerebration said...

"due to the desegregation lawsuit the county was stopped cold on building, and as a result also stopped most major yearly maintenance projects as well..."

??? I don't understand that explanation whatsoever - it makes no sense! The Supreme Court did not demand that DCSS stop building or maintaining their schools....how weird a response.

Anonymous said...

"since that would make it another selling point for Sembler's Town Brookhaven"
How would that work? Do you mean to appeal to potential residents of Town Brookhaven? The Sembler property is in Chamblee HS attendance ...


If and when the attendance lines are re-drawn, CK could include Town Brookhaven. But the Central Office will probably continue to have the same crazy attendance lines in that part of the county. Anyway, Cross Keys is close enough to Town Brookhaven for Gene Walker to watch it very closely for his emplyers, er, Sembler/Jeff Fuqua/Angelo Fuster.

Anonymous said...

Cere: The lawsuit forced DCSS to start the magnet program, add teachers, and bus kids all over the county. It didn't provide any funding for this. The district used any money it could "find" such as that which was previously earmarked for maintenance and repairs.

Cerebration said...

Oh - that makes sense, guess I was being too literal.

themommy said...

Actually, the Judge did forbid new construction, because he didn't want DCSS manipulating school capacities I believe.

At least one (now gone) board member has told me that Friedman and then Halford could have gone back to the Judge and appealed that part based on the exploding growth in S. DeKalb. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they choose not to.

So, finally, when the order was lifted, we were so far behind.

Also, Halford was vehemently opposed to tax increases. This attitude is ok, if you are meeting your system's needs, but he focused so much on not spending money. However, by the time Brown took over, Halford's reluctance to raise taxes had caused almost all our safety net money to be spent and Brown had to quickly rebuild the reserves or we could have had accreditation issues.

Cerebration said...

I found some interesting court documents on the subject -

11
Redan High School, which has a predominantly white student population, has been operating in excess of its capacity since the 1978-79 school year. The number of students attending Redan has continued to increase at such a rate that they exceeded the school's capacity by 808 students in the 1984-85 school year. As an interim solution to this overcrowding problem, school officials have added portable classrooms to Redan on three occasions. As a more permanent solution, the school board decided to construct a new facility to accommodate the excess of students. Under this "Redan II" plan, Redan's attendance district would remain unchanged. Students in the tenth through twelfth grades would continue to use the existing Redan High facility, while students in the eighth and ninth grades, who previously would have attended Redan High, would use the new facility. This arrangement would be unique in DeKalb County because it has no middle schools.

12
The plaintiffs in 1983 filed the motion that is the subject of this appeal seeking to enjoin the defendants from expanding the capacity of Redan High School by adding portable classrooms and constructing a new building. The plaintiffs alleged that the increased capacity of Redan, which would accommodate the existing overflow of white students there, avoided reassignment of those white students to nearby undercapacity high schools that were predominantly black. The school board's solution to the overcrowding, the plaintiffs argued, was intended to avoid desegregation and indeed would have a segregative effect. The plaintiffs argued that this avoidance of segregation--even if unintentional--violated the 1969 injunction requiring that the construction and expansion of school facilities be carried out "with the objective of eradicating segregation and perpetuating desegregation." Pitts v. Cherry, Civil Action No. 11946 at 7 (N.D.Ga. June 12, 1969) (currently sub nom Pitts v. Freeman ). The plaintiffs proposed several alternative solutions to the Redan overcrowding problem. These proposals sought to relieve the overcrowding by redrawing the boundary lines of certain of the schools' attendance districts. The attendance districts as redrawn under the plaintiffs' proposals would require some students, who previously would have attended Redan, to attend other, undercapacity high schools within the DeKalb County School System. Unlike the defendants' plan, the plaintiffs asserted, these proposals would have a desegregative effect and would carry out the defendants' duty to eliminate the vestiges of its previous dual school system.


So - there you have it -- they were prevented from adding capacity to all white schools, when capacity existed at all black schools...

http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/755/755.F2d.1423.84-8286.html

Cerebration said...

And a bit more if you're interested --

JUSTICE BLACKMUN, with whom JUSTICE STEVENS and JUSTICE O'CONNOR join, concurring in the judgment.

It is almost 38 years since this Court decided Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). In those 38 years, the students in DeKalb County, Ga., never have attended a desegregated school system even for one day. The majority of "black" students never have attended a school that was not disproportionately black. Ignoring this glaring dual character of the DeKalb County School System (DCSS), part "white" and part "black," the District Court relinquished control over student assignments, finding that the school district had achieved "unitary status" in that aspect of the system. No doubt frustrated by the continued existence of duality, the Court of Appeals ordered the school district to take extraordinary measures to correct all manifestations of this racial imbalance. Both decisions, in my view, were in error, and I therefore concur in the Court's decision to vacate the judgment and remand the case.


http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0503_0467_ZC2.html

Cerebration said...

"The majority of "black" students never have attended a school that was not disproportionately black."

You could insert "Hispanic" for "black" and the statement would ring true. However, I don't think the Hispanics at Cross Keys are so much concerned about racial equality within their school walls as they are just having a high school building that would be generally as acceptable as the rest of the high school buildings in the county. This squalor that they attend school in is reprehensible. They are also the only high school never mentioned on the list to receive an auditorium/career tech package. And now that the High School of Technology North is moving in - I would think that a career tech wing would be forthcoming.

I guess I may have to go down to the High School of Technology South and take some pictures there to compare with our offerings in the north. Sigh...

Course offerings at HST South consist of -
PROGRAMS (12)

Auto Collision
Auto Service Technology
Computer Information Systems
Computer Systems (CISCO)
Construction
Cosmetology
Early Childhood Education
Electronics
Healthcare Science Technology
Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation
Public Safety
Video Production

Go to their website and click on the picture of the school sign. You will get a Powerpoint that highlights their many programs.
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/techsouth/

Cerebration said...

One more find - from the Court of Appeals - March, 1985

To the extent consistent with the proper operation of the system, the County Board will, in locating and designing new schools, in expanding existing facilities, and in consolidating schools, do so with the objective of eradicating segregation and perpetuating desegregation.

Anonymous said...

The photo gallery of the Cross Keys campus is so informative and eye opening, but I ask you to check it out in person. You may shed a tear when you walk the campus in person and see how the Central Office has failed so miserably with the complete disregard of facilities and grounds there. Anyone know who is in charge of grounds maintenance for DCSS? I've seen schools throughout the state and our schools here in DeKalb are by far the worst maintained.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: "I would think that a career tech wing would be forthcoming."

Looks like not so much ... the modular classrooms recently installed on the tennis courts are to house the Tech School this year. Trouble is, some of their equipment won't fit through the doors much less be supported by the flooring of those units. Perhaps I'm missing something on this point but it doesn't look good for Tech North for the foreseeable future ...

@Anonymous: "You may shed a tear when you walk the campus in person ..."

How about this for a tear-jerker ... those big, ugly chair lifts in the slideshow don't work! If there are any kids in there who rely on wheelchairs, they are being wheeled outside the building to get around in all weather, year round.

I'm the one who always wants to believe the best of folks ... I'm starting to have a crisis of faith ...

Cerebration said...

Way to go, Kim!!! To view the WSB report, click on this link --

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/20053962/index.html

Ella Smith said...

Celebration it is my understanding that one of the reasons that the Dekalb County School System got so far behind on some school facilities is that they did not take federal funds like Gwinnett and other counties. For instance, all the other counties around took federal funds and added an additional gym to their schools which is so needed to benifit your Health and PE programs where not a single High School in Dekalb County has two gyms. I do not believe any high school in the surrounding counties just has one gym. This also limits the abilities to offerour children with excellent Physical Education classes which is horrible. We do offer our children in high school second rate PE classes because we do not have the facilities. We do not have tennis courts, and nice tracks at many of our schools.

The money it took to transport the students back and forth due to the lawsuit was costly but the county also won a lawsuit and won back money from the state.

I think we do not have new buildings because of decisions of our past school boards and schools administrators. They chose not to get federal money for construction. There decisions now are very costly to our children who have some horrible learning conditions.

Cerebration said...

I don't know the history on anything like that, Ella. I would hope that no one actually turned down free money! But you are correct in your assertion that the board has not been proactive in demanding building maintenance.

Speaking of gymnasiums. The story of Cross Keys gym is that there was a mezzanine level that surrounded the gym around the top. It collapsed. There are still remnants of the destruction caused from the collapse.

I also told you what I know about the workout equipment donated to them by a rival private school.

Take a look at the photos. Their outdoor running track is old, cracked and has weeds growing up in those cracks.

They do have two tennis courts - but the trailers for HSTN are now sitting on them.

The photos also show some of the terrible condition of the grounds and the other buildings on the property, which don't even seem to be in use.

Of course, I didn't even get to see if they have a decent assortment of band instruments or uniforms.

Or football equipment.

Or any of the other things many of our other high schools take for granted. For instance, the TEACHERS at Miller Grove have their own workout room! How nice...

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: "however the story is that the gym was condemned “for a while” after the mezzanine fell."

I can clarify this one - I've seen the mezzanine. The mezzanine did not fall but was compromised by a large hole in the concrete flooring. I think the gym was closed at one point while they determined if it was safe (from collapse). So, the mezzanine is still off limits to my knowledge and still has a nice hole from which you can look down to the gymnasium floor.

In any case, no weight room there! The athletes at Cross Keys are really to be applauded for their accomplishments with what have to be the poorest facilities around - anyone know of worse I'd love to hear it.

The ROTC marksmanship team goes to compete in shorts and casual wear toting low-end rifles against teams with full range gear and $2200 rifles.

Sheesh, I have to stop looking at the glass half-empty, right? Their most recent student commander won a full ride via Navy ROTC. She will be at GSU and GA Tech.

Kim Gokce said...

@all considering donating novels or $$$ for novels for CKHS, I'll throw in an incentive - you can be my guest at an upcoming girl Indian's basketball game:

Looking Back: Hard-luck Cross Keys girls press on (ajc.com)

greenie said...

I am glad y'all are all on this. Kim, are you offering group tours? I didn't realize. I think we need to get more people to them - maybe try to get the PTAs from other schools that are more involved to speak up for CKHS.
Is there a chance that we can get Mundo Hispanico to help us get a one-time push from community parents to say and do something?
Kim - I can't figure out how to JOIN Friends of CKHS from the link you provided to the group
Cere - I have photos from inside the gym but don't see an option to post a photo here. I know I'm supposed to be able to post, but not sure how. will try that next.
Re: the collapsed floor in the mezanine - it's really just a large hole that indicate structural instability. Unfortunately, they have actually left some nice gym equipment up there, but no one's allowed to use it. the hole is about a foot in diameter.

Cerebration said...

Quoting myself (how weird is that?)The irony is -- enrollment at Cross Keys is low because the school board kept redrawing the attendance lines cutting out all kinds of neighborhoods and sending those kids to Chamblee! (Which is now over-capacity by about 300, ironically!)

Back in the day of the lawsuit, a school apparently could not engage in new construction to accommodate over-crowding if another school (with minority-majority, which at the time only meant black) had openings. So really - if the same ruling still applied, DCSS would not legally be allowed to add on to Chamblee, when Cross Keys has available space... think about it!

Cerebration said...

Really, substitute Chamblee for Redan and Cross Keys for an "under-capacity" black school in the Supreme Court ruling quoted in my post on July 14, 2009 9:14 AM

Eery.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I am one of the teachers at Cross Keys and have been for 20 years. Many of us have grown frustrated and have become hoarse, no longer able to voice our concerns. So, I can only say thank you from us and from our fabulous kids!

Anonymous said...

Son of awcomeonnow with an overview of Symphony Park:
Folks, you need to start throwing questions at the Dekalb County Comissioners about areas that are full of delapidated multifamily in the county.
The most specific question is WHY CAN IT NEVER BE REPLACED WITH DENSELY PACKED OWNER OCCUPIED SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL?
Can't they at least make a section of these developments single family? At the very least make 250 units owner occupied townhomes, much as I dislike them.
I strongly believe that all of these "mixed use" developments are presented as such so that the bond financeers (bondits, to those tuning in late) can generate as many fees as possible from a given piece of property. Symphony Park would likely be financed through both the development and housing authorities, with the checks for seperate authorities inevetably going to the same address.
I think that owner occupied housing is being left out of the mix because tax advantages for developers/ fee generation for bondits would be partially ommitted if the housing mix made any sense.
Buford Highway has 60 complexes along it, the vast majority of which are fairly ancient by Atlanta standards. Couldn't they at least put some single family somewhere in place of all these abominations?

Anonymous said...

Son of hogging the blog (sorry).
When they want to, the Dekalb County school system is capable of
renovating buildings in record time, with proper materials, and on a reasonable budget.
The shining example of this is Robert Shaw Theme School, which was accomplished in 3-5 months. I think that the renovations to the old Lithonia High (now middle) school were completed in a timely manner. The former Stone Mountain Middle School (now theme school)
was completed in a reasonably short time also, although I think it might have actually opened later then planned. It can be done, but you have to watch the DCSS like a hawk.
Otherwise, they might pull another fast one like the years ago renovation of Avondale Elementary: it sat uncompleted for two years. The firm they had hired took the money and ran. The firm's name ( I wish I was making this up)
was something like:
"The Billy Bob Construction Company".

Cerebration said...

I see in today's paper that DeKalb County Commissioners are voting on low-cost housing initiatives for builders.

WHAT: The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will have a public hearing on a proposal to give developers incentives to build low-cost housing.

WHEN & WHERE: The hearing starts at 10 AM, Tuesday, Juy 21 (tomorrow) at the county government's Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, in downtown Decatur.

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU: The proposal would allow developers to build more units per acre if they provide "workforce" housing for workers earning 60-125% of the county's median household income.

Cerebration said...

Also, referring again to Don McChesney's and the Board's "concern" that attendance is "dropping" at Cross Keys -- I would say that interestingly, even with their gerrymandered attendance zone Cross Keys is more highly utilized than McNair (1124 students in a newly renovated building that holds 1701 with a new auditorium and $25,000 worth of statues of mustangs.)

Funny - no one is calling for closing or selling or otherwise doing damage to McNair. Under-enrolled by 577 (66% capacity).

Same for Avondale -- even with the merger of DSA, and a renovation (at least for the DSA part of the building) they will still be seriously under-enrolled.

Same with Clarkston (now under total renovation with auditorium) Under-enrolled by 326 (74% capacity).

Same with Towers - total renovation with a new auditorium, etc... Under-enrolled by 321 (76% capacity).

Dekalbparent said...

What Title 1 can cover (WARNING: LONG)

From Title 1 section of website of Hillsboro (FL) County Public Schools:

All public schools receiving Title I funds are district schools operating as Schoolwide Programs. Schools utilize Title I funds to enhance the regular district instructional program. Schools use funds to:

* add highly qualified staff,
* support parent and community involvement efforts,
* improve staff development,
* purchase additional instructional materials and supplies,
* add technology and needed equipment.

From State of Idaho guidelines:

Allowable Uses of Funds

Some allowable targeted costs are included below. This is not an exhaustive list. See the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), 34 CFR Parts 74-86, for the complete list.

- Employee salaries and benefits — that are for time devoted to the performance of the Part A program, as described in the approved Consolidated Plan Application. LEAs must maintain appropriate time distribution records for any employee who works on Part A duties but also has other duties. The recommended limit for administrative salaries/benefits and other administrative expenses is what are reasonable and necessary for the proper and efficient performance and administration of the program. Idaho suggests that no more than 10% of the allocation be used for administrative purposes.
- Professional development — if specifically related to the Part A program, designed to meet the specific educational needs of Part A participants, and supplements rather than supplants, state and local training. Teachers whose professional development is paid by Title I, Targeted Assistance, must have Part A participants in their classroom.
- Supplies and educational materials — if reasonable and acquired/consumed specifically for the purpose of the Title I-Part A program. The LEA must document the details and location of the supplies and the reason for the purchases.
- Equipment — if 1) necessary to effectively operate Title I-Part A programs, 2) existing equipment will not be sufficient and 3) the costs are reasonable. The LEA must document the details and location of the equipment and the reason for the purchases.
- Travel and conference costs — if specifically related to the Title I-Part A program and not to the general needs of the LEA or school and are reasonable and necessary.
- Maintenance/operation costs — (such as janitorial and utility costs) to the extent that costs are not otherwise included in rent or other charges for space, are reasonable and necessary for the success of the Title I-Part A program, and are distributed on an equitable basis.
- Rental/lease of buildings — if the space is necessary for the operation of the program and space in publicly owned buildings is not available.
- Interest on lease purchase agreements — if in accordance with cost principles of OMB Circular A-87.
- Refreshments for parent meetings/trainings — if reasonable, particularly when such sessions extend through mealtime.
- Indirect costs-- if approved and on file with the Idaho Department of Education and costs included are in compliance with EDGAR.
- Financial incentives and rewards to teachers who serve students in the Title I schools identified for improvement, corrective action and restructuring for the purpose of attracting and retaining qualified and effective teachers. In making this reservation, the LEA cannot reserve more than 5% of the Title I-A allocation. However, it may reserve “such funds as are necessary” from the Title II, Preparing, Training and Recruiting Highly Qualified Teachers and Principals program for this purpose.
- To support ongoing training and professional development, as defined in Title IX (ESEA General Provisions). Equitable amounts must also be provided for participating private school parents and teachers.

Cerebration said...

For some reason, DeKalb ends up returning Title 1 money almost every year. LOTS of money - A million or more... one of our Board members, Pam Speaks, was director of Title 1 for DeKalb County Schools - maybe she can enlighten us - Someone in her district - please ask her sometime.

BTW - Everyone - make sure that you either attend or watch the Board meeting this evening -- 6PM at the Freeman Center, Building A, 3770 N Decatur Rd
or on Comcast Channel 24.

No Duh said...

Well, what about the new Tucker High School? It's designed for close to 1,800 capacity. Last year, THS had 1,450 enrolled. Wouldn't that make THS 19% underutilizied on opening day?

I know Womack has mentioned to individual community members the possibility of some redistricting to THS. It would make total sense to expand the THS district to include Pleasantdale Road. The school basically sits on the same road (with a name change only). Talk about a cost-effective bus route!

Cerebration said...

Didn't know that about the new Tucker capacity, No Duh. I guess they're hoping that the old axiom, "If you build it, they will come" rings true! (Same for Arabia!)

Meanwhile, Cross Keys sits.....

Anonymous said...

If you still haven't had a chance to visit Cross Keys, inside and out, please do. You'll be shocked at its condition, and its potential. It's a huge property, and has been intentionally neglected by the Sam Moss Center, or the Sam Moss Center staff is incompetent.

Anonymous said...

http://championnewspaper.com/cross_keys.html

It's amazing how much time and resources Ron Seebree and the DCSS Athletics Dept. throws at the top football programs, like SW DeKalb and Tucker. The other programs that don't win, we'll, you're SOL.

Cerebration said...

Maybe Cross Keys needs to consider renting out their sports fields for private leagues ---

Check this out --


http://www.georgiasportsleagues.org/events/index.php?date=2009-09-13

Co-Ed Fall Flag Football09-13-2009
Georgia Sports Leagues presents the Co-Ed Summer Flag Football League at Henderson Middle School.

Season Start: September 13, 2009

Season Length: 10 Games + Playoffs

Style: Co-Ed Screen

Location: Atlanta, Ga

Entry Fee: $500.00

Free Agent Fee: $50

Contact Mark (678)799-0159 for more information or to register for the season
Location: Atlanta, GaFor more information contact Mark Nations via phone at (678) 799-0159 or via email at mark@georgiasportsleagues.org.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: "Cross Keys needs to consider renting out its sports facilities ..."

This is a good idea but only the gymnasium floor for basketball is marketable - the rest of the facilities are passable as practice facilities and not particularly good ones at that.

I've been pitching to public and private organizations the idea of partnering with DCSS for recreational and sports facilities. There seem to be interested parties but it remains to be seen if DCSS will accept such a partnership. My thinking is if they are not willing to invest and manage, let someone else do it!

Until someone invests some money in the poorly maintained football/soccer field and the truly special but poorly maintained baseball field, I'm not sure they're marketable for league play.

As of now, they are used heavily by un-managed and unauthorized leagues and individuals. Until they are managed properly, I'm afraid progressive suggestions like yours will remain only an idea.

Stay tuned and let me know about any contacts - I've noted the one above for future reference - thank you!

Anonymous said...

"Georgia Sports Leagues presents the Co-Ed Summer Flag Football League at Henderson Middle School."

---

This is pretty darn infuriating. I've tried to rent DCSS athletic facilities, but have been told by DCSS staff that they are only available for practices, not games, due to some legal reason.

But "Georgia Sports Leagues" is using Henderson Middle, and some adult baseball league uses Shamrock Middle for games and practices.

You see when it comes to DCSS, Crawford Lewis, and DCSS Athletics, it's all who you know. if they don't want ya, they'll say there's a policy. blah, blah. But if they know ya and like ya, you're in. Lewis is a big joke.

Dekalbparent said...

Doesn't a futbal (soccer) league play at Adams Stadium on weekends? I see lots of cars and people in the stands.

Emory Univ used Druid Hills' practice field for summer camps. So it appears that DCSS is OK with some organizations' use of facilities.

Anonymous said...

Dekalbparent (not "DeKalbparent?"), what you're seeing at Adams on Friday and Saturday nights is football. Lakeside and other nearby DeKalb schools that don't have their own stadiums play there.

Anonymous said...

All, I do not believe that DCSS will rent out any field to non-DCSS teams, except for school sanctioned club teams and some YMCA youth sports.

Emory uses the DHHS field because it has a long standing agreement with the school that may date back to when Emory transferred the property to DCSS. Emory installed the lights, grass, watering and drainage systems.


Kim, if you want to get a private organization to spruce up the fields at Cross keys, you would have to go through DCSS and its new (and poorly drafted) gifting policy.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:28, you are wrong. There are DCSS schools where the principal allows fields to be rented. I'm not sure whether its DCSS Central Office approved, but I've seen it happen many times, and not just at Henderson Middle or Shamrock Middle. There are Latino soccer associations using Sequoyah, Adams Stadium and Chamblee. It's possible that some of the schools don't even know there fields are being used on weekends for soccer.

The DCSS Athletics Dept. has always been a mess. They care about football and basketball, and everything else is secondary. And they play favorites again and again and again. it's all who you know.

Cerebration said...

I think renting out our fields everywhere is a fab idea. Why not? As long as it's managed well and doesn't cause damage to the grass, etc. Adams stadium sits around unused 90% of the time - it could serve as a really great community events stadium - we may even wish to consider enclosing it and really making it a professional venue!

Anonymous said...

At anon on 9/19: DCSS Athletics doesn't care about any of the sports teams. Football and basketball are the only money makers in the county--if it weren't for those 2, there wouldn't be any $$$. And if you didn't already know, since all of the stadiums are shared--all of the revenue generated via ticket sales goes to DCSS athletics and is then split among all the HS & middle schools for their athletic budgets. NONE OF THE SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS RECEIVE THEIR FAIR SHARE based on the attendance of their games. Tucker, Stephenson, SWD, & MLK pull in a majority of the spectators in football yet they still have to buy any extra helmets, uniforms or equipment that is needed outside what is allocated. So even Cross Keys athletics benefit from the larger schools teams because of the revenue sharing. Don't even get me started on the concessions which all goes to one company and not the schools! If only each school had a stadium--the schools in Henry County & Gwinnett rake in $$$ hand over fist because they receive all the proceeds from concessions & ticket sales, which goes towards maintaining all of their athletic facilities. Also, as a football parent & booster, I can tell you we work out butts off to raise money for everything our team has extra including helmets, game meals, field maintenance--we're luck if they our field is cut, and a host of other things, the same way other clubs at the school have raise money including cheerleaders, BETA Club, ROTC.

fedupindcss said...

Anon 1:08--You are correct about football as a moneymaker, but not basketball. I remember several years ago Charlie Henderson of Athletics had a powerpoint showing which sports made money for the county, and number two behind football was middle school track! For some reason they charged to attend that, but they did not charge to attend high school track meets (I think the explanation was that parents stop going when they get to high school, probably because it takes so long). The rest of the sports were way behind those two in revenue.

Cerebration said...

I once heard that the Dunwoody football coach mows his own practice field at the high school - he likes to keep it really nice.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a new thread about DCSS athletics with posts from coaches, parents, etc.

The DCSS Athletics Dept. operates in a manner unlike any other school system in the state. There are some very shady contracts. CEO candidate Stan Watson was part owner of a company that had a contract with DCSS Athletics, but he sold his interest when he ran for CEO because he knew it would have been a point of contention during his campaign.

DCSS Athletics should have its own advisory board, with members appointed by the BOE. I don't know who is in charge of maintenance for DCSS Athletics but that person should be fired, because most are in pitiful condition.

The BOE has looked the other way regarding DCSS Athletics for far too long. There's too much inefficiency, cronyism, shady contracts, favoritism, etc., etc., etc. It's badly broken and needs repair.

Cerebration said...

Great idea. I remember once that Emory Lavista Parent Council held a meeting on the subject of athletics - I'll see if I can dig up the minutes from their website and we can start there.

Also, anyone remember that Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn had a sports supply business? She sold lots of equipment and cheerleading gear to schools -- while serving on the board of education.