Sunday, September 27, 2009

Arabia - Are they getting more than their fair share?


Kristina Torres wrote a column (press release) in yesterday's AJC titled, "DeKalb hopes Arabia becomes new model school". My stomach rolled. Model school for who? I am more than disgusted by the fact that so many millions ($53 I believe) went into this very special "magnet" school, when so many others are still either crumbling, aging, energy-wasting behemoths or over-crowded newer schools built for and full of "regular" kids. Arabia is the money-eating Pac-Man of pie charts - gobbling up more than it's fair share of resources per student - diminishing even the per student spending of DeKalb School of the Arts, DESA and Kittredge.

Arabia, in all it's glory, had to beg, borrow and steal in order to garner enough students to save face. I would challenge the powers that be to investigate each and every student's actual home address to ensure that the school is in fact, filled with DeKalb county residents. I wonder this, since the school is located in a little niche pocket way down in south DeKalb within 2 miles of the Henry and Rockdale county borders, yet over 25 miles from Lakeside, Druid Hills, Tucker, Dunwoody, Cross Keys, Avondale, Stone Mountain, etc - virtually inaccessible to a majority of county schools. Arabia is the Hail Mary pass made by Crawford Lewis to hide the fact as reported by Torres that, "Only 30 percent of DeKalb’s 22 high schools met federal testing goals this year. It was 39 percent in 2008." He is just certain that this crown jewel will cover the hideous failures elsewhere.

As we have reported here, Arabia was built and approved with the stated intention of alleviating over-crowding at near-by schools (all under 5 years old) - Martin Luther King, Jr HS, Lithonia HS and Miller Grove HS. However, in the end, Crawford Lewis and his leadership team deemed this school far too special to serve as just another neighborhood school, so they created several "magnet" programs within the building (in addition to the 500-600 allotted slots for locals). They did this in spite of the fact that Southwest DeKalb high school is a coveted (over-crowded) magnet school about 5 miles away. And still - all three of the aforementioned schools remain overcrowded and on the list for additions using SPLOST 3 funding!

Now we have reports from students at Lakeside that they don't have Environmental Science textbooks because all of theirs were sent to Arabia. Lakeside has overcrowded, large classes - some of which are being held in the cafetorium. Chamblee HS has a textbook shortage and well, we all know the story about the horrible condition of virtually everything at Cross Keys. I gasped when I read about Arabia's white boards connected to the internet -- and then shed a tear for Cross Keys "wipeboards" - the old white things all stained and cracked from years of use.

DCSS hates it when we shed light on the condition of Cross Keys, Lakeside, Chamblee and others along with the empty promises made to these communities - but I say - if you want to stand in the sunlight and take all the glory for the beautiful Arabia HS - then you also have to stand at the gates of the ghetto and take responsibility as you lay your eyes on the truth of what so many others have to endure under your leadership. Leadership whose motto seems to be "the best of everything -- for some."

98 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Cere. Your words are truthful and are coming from the heart. I just wished that Building A would look at this instead of their big fat pocketbook at the end of the month.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I read that article in the paper this morning. I literally lost any appetite for breakfast. Sickening.

Cerebration said...

To quote Kristina (actually, DCSS PR dept for Dr Lewis) "Then the boom went bust. Enrollment eased. And the public school, which is located outside I-285 in southeast DeKalb, opened last month with a very different plan: A state-of-the-art, $48-million facility boasting some of the newest and most challenging high school magnet programs open to students countywide. If they decided to come."

That's their story and they're sticking to it I guess.

If that is really the case - then why are ALL of the other schools in the area - including SW DeKalb still scheduled for multi-million dollar additions?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Do you think they will be an "Arabia"-type school in the North or Central part of the County?

Nah.........

fedupindcss said...

This is a continual problem in DCSS. They spend on the fun extras (themes, magnets, academies, etc.) before they deal with the nuts and bolts educational issues. By trumpeting DCSS's multitude of "choice," the administration has sidestepped taking the harder (and less sexy) steps of improving education county-wide.

Bottom-line: they need to scrap all the choice programs, go back to neighborhood schools exclusively, and get everyone up to speed. This is a massive waste of time (our kids') and money (ours).

Cerebration said...

I'm thinking the people who are taking advantage of Arabia, DSA, etc would disagree. They don't have a problem with the fact that far more money is being spent on their child. Really. They think this is totally fair.

Anonymous said...

Here is my real question. If Arabia Mountian is suppose to be the crown jewel of the county..... Why are so many Building A, Building B, and Sam Moss people sending their kids to Chamblee, and Lakeside?

Anonymous said...

Oops.. Forgot to add, If they are not sending their kids to DESA, DSA, KMS, or Arabia, what kind of message is that sending to others in the community that they live in?

fedupindcss said...

Actually, the single biggest problem with the choice program in the county is transportation. When Kittredge was started back whenever, it was not such a huge issue getting from one end of the county to another. Now, it is almost impossible for kids from anywhere other than DHHS to make it on time to Fernbank for STT.

We refocus a massive amount of money from instruction to transportation. And we put a huge number of extra cars on the roads for those who don't want to deal with the super-early bus schedule (or get home after 7:00). The irony of Arabia being "environmental" is that by nature of its location and its designation as a magnet it adds to the worst component of our environmental issues, burning of fossil fuels.

Ella Smith said...

I agree that too much money is spent on choice programs and we need to fix our community schools. However the push at the federal level is more choice programs and Magnet Programs so I do not know what the answer is.

I think that the amount of money spent per pupil at Arabian is discriminatory toward other children in the county. There is not a grant for this school. This school is no different than a community school to my knowledge and should have the same funding. North Springs is a Charter School but besides from the Charter grants we received from the state we do not get additional money from the county because we are a Charter.

It would appear that more money is being spent on children in some areas of the county than others. Why is this happening? It is not an option for individuals in the far north to send their children to this school? There is no way I can drive 2 hours a day and get my son to an from school and work. However, Arabia gets more money per pupil than my son's school from the county. This is not from the state. This is discrimination. Is it a Title I school? Does it get Title I money?

Cerebration said...

Even the regular bus schedule has a lot of waste. For example, in my neighborhood, the Oak Grove bus comes around at 7:00 am. It gets the kids to school by 7:10 and they sit in the cafeteria for 30+ minutes waiting for school to start. Guess what - no one rides it in the morning. They drive their kids over at 7:40 am or just before school starts at 7:50. If they would just back up the schedule 20-25 minutes, plenty of kids would ride. Most of them ride the bus home though.

Check out the bus schedule - one driver only picks up 7 students in the morning!

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/busroutes/esoakgrove/am_routes.pdf

Cerebration said...

Ella, I don't think the day to day spending at Arabia is more per student - they have the same FTE allowances. I'm just saying that the school system spent SPLOST (sales tax) dollars on this beautiful building and has pulled a bait and switch and made it "special" - a magnet program (for the most part) that most students will have to apply for. They are not going to use it to alleviate over-crowding at area schools as promised - those schools will suck up even more SPLOST dollars for additions. Still - the junky 40-50-100 year old schools sit - waiting - crumbling.

Oh - but some of them do have architectural drawings. Drawings that have taken several years to produce.

The spending is highly inequitable. Especially where auditoriums are concerned. The south end of the county has a half-dozen nice auditoriums to use for performances. We have one - at Druid Hills - and it was built with private funding and is quite small.

If this school had served to alleviate the need for additions on the other schools and had drawn from attendance lines as originally sold, then about $25 million would be freed up to use to fix the crumbling buildings and build auditoriums up in the north. But as Ross Perot says, the giant sucking sound continues.....

Anonymous said...

And this is surprising !? This has been happening for years with DSA and Kittridge. Arabia is just the most recent example of poor decision making on expenditures from DCSS. Were they hoping to lure or retain students on the south side? Anyone, know what the enrollment is at Wadsworth? Sorry, they are all too busy flocking to choice schools on the north side. It isn't that parents need to learn of this..... Either they feel powerless to do anything or don't care enough to try and organize to do something, Not until Lewis is gone will anything potentially change. I like the man, really do, but he is in way over his head and cannot continue to please everyone without investing in neighborhood schools.

Dekalbparent said...

Forgive me, if you need to - Im in a really poor mood...

So, we have this (some say appetite-killing) story in this morning's paper. We here on the blog are able to point out the inequities.

Clearly the AJC is DCSS's bully pulpit.

Where is our bully pulpit? Is anybody in the media listening? no matter what we say, we come off like whiners...

Dunwoody Mom said...

I'm with you Dekalbparent - I'm still furious hours after reading this "article"

This is how I envision this going: The DCSS writes the article and sends it Kristina Torres. She "cleans it up a little" so it's sounds as if the article were written by a legitimate journalist and puts her name on it. No one who really did any research on this could write such drivel.

Cere should send what she wrote to Kristina. Let's see if the "real" story gets out.

You know it won't.

Dekalbparent said...

Is there a reason not to send it to Maureen Downey - Get Schooled?

Can we send her the whole thread?

Anonymous said...

I sent this to Kristina already today:

Regarding Arabia Mountain High (and probably some others near county borders):

Kristina—you stated without authority nor attribution that the Arabia population is “on track”. What does that mean. Sounds to me like a generalization that a school official would make.

School population is the issue (not some nicey-nicey about the school):

What the school system doesn’t want you ask is:

What is the school’s student capacity?
What does the number 1400 mean compared to capacity?
How many students have come from outside the county—a subject of interest since the state just passed a law allowing it (with a robust debate)? Not to mention that the school sits on the Henry County line and close to Clayton.

Meghan—you wrote an article about the diaspora of students from Clayton early this year. Every county with the exception of DeKalb was willing to expressly tell you what its policy is, how many Clayton students came to their counties and what they were doing to identify cheaters and send them back to Clayton (in the case of Henry).

DeKalb got away with stating “we don’t keep track of the numbers from outside the county”.

So it is reasonable to suspect that schools with empty seats are indeed taking on a significant number of out-of-county students—and given the controversial nature of the subject—it would be in the business interest of the newspaper to investigate. It is also questionable that a state-of-the-art school paid for by DeKalb taxpayers would be underutilized by its own citizens and be “marketed” to other counties.

Other:
Kristina—
It is also of interest to a lot of people to find out how many students are traveling from supposed “successful” schools (Lakeside, Chamblee, Druid Hills, Dunwoody).

Lastly:

Why was this article written? Why now? What’s the context? Who wants you to write this article?
Context is everything.

Anonymous said...

To Ella Smith, South Dekalb County residents have had to deal with discrimination far longer than those of the northern area. Let's face it, why would residents from the southern areas bus to schools 25 miles away if not for better curriculum and opportunities not offered in their areas?

So now that the playing field is becoming somewhat level (equal opportunities in all areas) there is an issue. I think the real issue has to deal with color but you're all trying to blanket it in other complaints.

You all would prefer segregated schools so just admit it. You don't want South Dekalb County students (predominantly black) bussed to your areas and you sure as hell will not bus your (white) students to South Dekalb County.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Let's face it, why would residents from the southern areas bus to schools 25 miles away if not for better curriculum and opportunities not offered in their areas

No school in the north has EVER, EVER had a school like Arabia.

Please enlighten us as to the better curriculum and opportunities available to the northern schools that are not available to other areas of the county.

Quit playing the race card.

Quit playing the race card,.

Cerebration said...

oh lord, here we go again. We can never have a discussion here without the race card being thrown down.

I'm sure you won't believe me - but here goes --

DeKalb County schools are only 10% white! They are a majority black - over 75%! And there are about as many Hispanics as whites - about 10% too. It would be impossible to segregate schools nowadays! We have plenty of blacks who actually live in the district they attend up here too!

Do me a favor. Drive around and check out Arabia, MLK, Miller Grove, Lithonia, SW DeKalb, Towers, etc and then take a tour of Lakeside, Cross Keys and Chamblee and come back here and tell me we are just whining.

Anonymous said...

The AJC is so in C. Lewis' hip pocket they're probably on the DCSS payroll somewhere. Following the comments on Kittridge and tranportation - my neighbor informed me that Oak Grove has lost approximately 20 students in both 4th and 5th grades to Kittridge due to families from south Dek. not willing to put their little ones on the bus at 6 am. Oak Grove Elem 4th & 5th grade classes have lost enough students since the start of school to lose a teacher. Causing classes to be reformed 6 weeks into the year. A very traumatic event for an elementary student.


My Lakeside high schooler said the class was told by their Environmental Science teacher the reason they don't have enough text books is because they were all issued to Arabia Mtn. where every student is required to take the class. It's almost October and the school is still short text books in several subjects and classes are still being rearranged to get the student numbers to comply w/ state laws. 9th grade geography class teacher drew a compass on the board and listed east and west incorrectly. I kid you not, my son's friend took a picture of it on his cell. Just confirms I made the right decision w/ my younger child to go to private school.

Cerebration said...

An you're correct, Anon. I would never bus by kid 25 miles to school - I'd move first.

Anonymous said...

oh pleeeeeeeeease - spare me the race card again, i would think by now it is obvious to most that there are schools in the north end of the county with more resources than others and schools in the south end of the county with more resources than others, why can't people get it ? these schools are sucking precious ( and limited ) resources away from our own neighborhood schools. regardless of where you live in the county. as long as we continue to allow ourselves to be pitted against each other as the "haves and the have nots" with all of the accompanying inaccurate information no one has to acknowledge the inequities in our system. come on you guys, get out of the old perspective and think about the allocation across the system not just north and south !!

Anonymous said...

amen anon @ 7:52, early on I was drawn to this blog as a way of discussing the issues that affect us all, not north, not south--but DCSS which I believe as a whole is a crappy school system--including the "so called jewels". Over the past several months its been one big bitch session about arabia mtn, the southside gets this, the northside has that. How often do any of you regular posters, other than Kim, venture out to the other schools or even suggest pulling together with parents from MLK, SWD, McNair or Towers(which if you truly visited--you would know it is a dump also) to band together to help solve the problems facing us all as parents.

Dunwoody Mom said...

anonymous, you do realize that there is not one majority white school in DCSS?

btw, Kim reached out to this blog and the community. Members of this blog and the community responded for Cross Keys. When have the schools that you mentioned reached out?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Someone is eager to turn this discussion away from Arabia Mountain onto race. I wonder why? Afraid the real issues will be brought to light?

Cerebration said...

If any of you would like to write an article for posting - it's always an option. I say this all the time - write it up as a Word doc and email it to us -
reparteeforfun@gmail.com

We would love to hear the story and the data from your perspective.

BTW - I have been to Towers and it is light years better than Cross Keys, Lakeside and Chamblee. Heck - Towers has an auditorium. SW DeKalb is crowded and needs an addition - they are getting a performing arts center. Haven't been to McNair or MLK (which is only about 5 years old), but I did spend the night at Redan once during a breast cancer walk. And - my company has hired their high school band to perform at a corporate event.

Let me ask you - Did you even look through the pictures of Cross Keys? (Which BTW - as a majority Hispanic school that is virtually ignored, is in my opinion, a victim of racism as bad or worse than the black schools that filed a lawsuit back in the 1960s). Cross Keys is a part of the north end of the county.

But you are correct, the school board and school system leaders have created a scarcity mentality and they (perhaps purposely?) toss out crumbs and occasional large chunks of pie and sit back knowing that we will all fight over it like hungry wolves.

Cerebration said...

And if you are understanding my issue with Arabia - it is in defense of the overcrowding at MLK, Lithonia and Miller Grove - which is what the original stated purpose for building Arabia was - to relieve the over-crowding in these schools. MG is no longer crowded, but MLK sure is - and there's no reason for kids to be crammed in trailers when there is a gorgeous new high school within 5 miles that could take them in -- except the school system has instead chosen to shut "regular" students out of Arabia - opting to open as a magnet school for those who apply and get accepted.

themommy said...

Ask your board members and insist they give you an answer-- How is it fair that the magnet schools continue to get extras when everyone is doing without?

KMS has two band teachers, an orchestra teacher and a music teacher for under 500 students. If even ONE of the elementary schools in their district is doing without music because of a lack of points then the board member should realize how illogical this is. If Dr. Lewis says one more time it is up to the principal about how they spend points without mentioning that sometimes they are choosing between a reading specialist or a music or art teacher, he is being a bit dishonest.

Here is a list of the board members email addresses... drop them a line and ask -- and remind them that it is about time to do the budget for next year.

thomas_bowen@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
zepora_w_roberts@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
jim_redovian@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
don_mcchesney@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
sarah_copelin-wood@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
h_paul_womack@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
jay_cunningham@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
pam_speaks@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
eugene_p_walker@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Ella Smith said...

Thanks for setting me straight Celeb.

I still see that sending all the books to Arabian as discriminatory. Why should this school make sure all of the students get books while other students in other schools do without. Why does this school get priority? All the studemts should be equal with receiving books. Arabian students should not get priority nor Chamblee. In fact it is unacceptable for students not to have books at this point in the year.

I see no race issues at all. It is not about race. I see it more as choice school get priority. I also see more money being spent possible per pupil at Arabian due to all the new supplies and equipment provided at the school. Think of all the new science equipment that is at Arabian. Should your children at Miller Grove, Chamblee, Lakeside, Columbia, Towers, Lithonia, and Cross Keys have access to the same equipment. I see students throughout Dekalb schools not getting the same opportunites as students in magnet and choice schools and this to me in not equal treatment. I see this as unfair treatment. This has nothing to do with race. It has to do with allocation of funds equally throughout the school system. It has to do with each school receiving the same equipment regardless of the age of the school.

Ella Smith said...

WE all have the same problem with Cross Keys getting its fair share due to it being a minority school and that minority is more Hispanic at this point. We do want them treated fairly.

I would like to see all school in the county with the same equipment. Being a new school does not mean that you deserve all new equipment and an old school deserve all old equipment.

Cerebration said...

hear! hear! Well said, Ella!

Anonymous said...

Ella, The Mommy,
You are both so correct, but for some reason parents have not been willing to take up this issue with the board members. Or, if they have it has fallen on deaf ears. I tend to think that each one who has ventured out to speak up is treated as if they are the only one who has that opinion, that they are likely a "choice" sore loser and that they are being heard. This is crap...... I am in hopes that since we are experiencing some painful belt tightening, parents will finally, finally find a way to unite and say enough to the unfair allocation of resources. The Dunwoody Crier had a recent post about the Kittridge inequities and I don't think anyone even responded. So sad, if you are brave enough to speak up it means that you aren't happy with what you have......... I wish that someone could develop an organized effort to take on DCSS about this issue,I have not gotten anywhere with my board member.

Anonymous said...

Everyone thinks that Arabia Mtn. is just all shine. Well Arabia Mtn. even though DCSS is saying that all the Environmental Science books went there .. where are they? Because they have started to give students the book on CDs. Arabia Mtn. has a weight room but no weights for the athletic department to use. Arabia Mtn. has a keyboard/piano lab but no keyboards or pianos. Arabia Mtn. has a Broadcast Video/Drama Room but no Broadcast Video or Drama equipment, Arabia Mtn. has 9th graders being taught by a teacher that teaches 10th grade naturally. Arabia Mtn. the technology school of DCSS can barely get the technology to work. So before everyone states that Arabia Mtn is the jewel of DCSS that is not the case, because they lack also.

Anonymous said...

Big Picture--
Arabia is part of a REDEVELOPMENT STRATEGY along the South RIver.

Hint:
Crawford Lewis and Dr. Walking Conflict (DDA) are members of the Commerce Club.

You guys are falling on deaf ears because there is a larger strategy in play--Come one come all and Live/Work/Play (and bring your kids to study at gold plated school). South River is "gold" for reinvestment.

Kim Gokce said...

Random thoughts/questions about choice/magnet/etc. ...

What if the leadership actually thought they would be criticized for NOT making Arabia's facilities and unique programs available countywide?

If programs like those at Chamblee, Kittridge, etc. continue to show at the top of testing and accolade lists, wouldn't DCSS want to protect and/or expand similar formats to show "improvement" or "achievement?" Good press releases and bragging rights would be fairly scare for DCSS without these schools, no?

I suppose my observation is that while these types of decisions may not be in the best interest of the kids or the County's parents it very much seems to help the DCSS PR effort.

Kim Gokce said...

... and another quick one ... if Arabia is intended to be a model, what is Tucker? I do not know the chronology of these two new school planning efforts but they seem on the surface to be in no way related/coordinated designs.

Anonymous said...

It will save millions in architect fees if DCSS uses the Arabia Mountain High plans on all future new high and middle schools. Yes, there would be some changes for topography, lot size, etc., but every new middle and high school should be just like Arabia, especially when considering the energy savings and improved air quality.

Gwinnett County schools have two plans for elem schools, two for middle's, and two for high schools. They don't blow money on brand new architect plans for every school, even though long time insiders and Friends of Crawford like architect Robert Brown would freak if DCSS didn't have a new plan for every new school.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 11:36 -

What you have to say about Arabia Mountain HS is intriguing - DCSS would have us believe that it is a sparkling example of the school of the future, but your post tells us that Arabia Mountain is suffering from some of the same ills the other schools are. What does this tell us about DCSS? That they can't deliver for ANYBODY? That they will fudge the truth (see the AJC article from yesterday) and broadcast their fibs to the public?

I have repeatedly written to the BOE members asking them to look into what is being reported by our bloggers here (North, South, East and West DeKalb). Crickets, or an assurance thst "things like this are complex, and our administration really does have the best interests of the students at heart, and really, it's getting better, blah, blah, blah."

Cerebration said...

Yes, very interesting post about Arabia, anon. I have heard others say similar things. The is something about following through that is an issue. I wonder if the school system overall isn't suffering from corporate ADD.

At any rate - I do know that one reason the school board voted to extend Lewis' contract was due to the fact that certain board members insisted that test scores and graduation rates have improved under his leadership. But according to Torres' quote, "Only 30 percent of DeKalb’s 22 high schools met federal testing goals this year. It was 39 percent in 2008." Not so true after all. And graduation rates - well, now, how are they being calculated?

Personally, I think there is simply a comfort level between Lewis and the current board reps - these old - years long - relationships (steeped in controversial racial issues managed by the Supreme Court of the US) are what is driving our school system today. I can't wait for the day that younger, open-minded, professionals from successful areas of the country take on our school system.

Kim, I guess I haven't explained my issue with Arabia clearly.

Arabia was sold to voters as a school that was needed to relieve over-crowding at MLK, LIthonia and Miller Grove (all of which are only about 5 -7 years old). Everyone agreed. And then, they realized that this was an opportunity to create a separate, magnet, "special" program and they created this whole idea of a quasi-private high school for those who don't want their children mixed in with the "regulars" from the neighborhood schools - this is not coming from whites. So they get their beautiful, quasi-private school for high achievers with uniforms, but since it's only 5 miles from SW DeKalb - another quasi-private school for high achievers (albeit a crowded one) - they "open" it up countywide. Which is laughable for anyone north of I-20 really, since the school is located out in the farthest, tiny little corner of DeKalb and would create an hour commute for many students in DeKalb.

Now - returning to the issue that Arabia was supposed to address - overcrowding at the 3 nearby schools (all within about 5 miles of Arabia) - and guess what - it no longer will relieve their overcrowding and these schools will still need to draw off millions upon millions for additions - additions that wouldn't be needed if Arabia had served as proposed. Millions that could be spent revitalizing old, crumbling schools elsewhere - but won't. Therein lies the rub for me.

So - yes, I'm thinking the redevelopment theory is the one that makes sense. I would love to see who owns acreage in that area.

Cerebration said...

Basically, it was the biggest bait and switch ever purported on taxpayers in the history of DeKalb - well, except for maybe Vernon Jones' over the top performing arts center...

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: "Kim, I guess I haven't explained my issue with Arabia clearly."

Oh no - that has been very clear and very much valid. I guess my musings are a feeble attempt to understand in a forgiving light what looks like madness from the outside. Not suggesting it isn't madness - just having trouble digesting and accepting it.

Other than the "South River" development theory, what other explanations can we come up with ... I really want it to be something other than unethical, borderline illegal, decisions by our officials.

Kim Gokce said...

... continuing ... so, yes, I'm outraged about the bait and switch and I'm struggling to find an explanation for the actions.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that many people who post to this blog do not have their facts straight.

First of all in the operating budget for Arabia Mountain there is no more money allocated per pupil than other schools. Most magnet schools receive no extra per pupil money. However, four schools do ranging from two dollars per student totaling less than $800 per year to $20 per student totaling $11,000 per year.

Every new school gets one-time equipment and stocking budget from SPLOST funds. SPLOST funds are spent in priority order and approved by the school board.

There are some majority white schools in DeKalb County, one elementary in the Shamrock feeder has 64% white enrollment. There are also several elementary schools where white students are the plurality.

There are 160 students in the environmental magnet program at Arabia Mountain.

Most students at Arabia Mountain come from the surrounding area. All of them would have had to come from other schools since Arabia Mountain wasn’t open last year. Students do come as far as from Lithonia and Stone Mountain. Once the school adds a senior class, it will be full. Part of the difficulty in filling the school was the rigorous requirements. Personally, I cringe every time we build a school that hold over 450 students. I prefer small schools but unfortunately the state of Georgia does not.

You may remember that while DCSS was under court order no school construction was allowed. Once construction was permitted we needed both new schools to meet county growth and most of the existing schools were old and in need of many repairs. At SPLOST II the needs for new school construction and renovations was double the amount of money thought to be available. Then the tax digest didn’t produce the amount predicted further reducing what could be done. It will be many years before DeKalb County catches up with SPLOST expenditures-until that time in a democracy, every section of the county sees its need first and the school board decides.

It seems to me and I have no facts for this that the northern part of the county thinks that the schools are mismanaged and that their schools should get more money and attention. The southern part of the county where no construction could legally take place for years thinks that if they just had schools like those in the north part of the county they would be fine.

The truth is that Lakeside and Druid Hills consistently outperform most schools in the county with the exception of the two magnet high schools, Chamblee and the School for the Arts. I hope Arabia Mountain becomes part of that small list of very good schools.

Race, in our history, brought us to this point. We may not think race now but that history shapes us. In a county where the census says we are 43% white and 54% black only 10% of our students in public schools are white. In some ways that probably helps us from being more over crowded. If all those white students came back, where would they sit?

Dunwoody Mom said...

anonymous 2:54 - Hopefully "themommy" will address your "facts" concerning magnet schools She does it much better than most.

There are some majority white schools in DeKalb County, one elementary in the Shamrock feeder has 64% white enrollment. There are also several elementary schools where white students are the plurality.

Actually, when I posted that I mean majority white high schools in DeKalb - there are none. And I doubt there are any majority white middle schools either. So, the race card does not play here.

Dunwoody Mom said...

. I hope Arabia Mountain becomes part of that small list of very good schools.

Well, it should since they got to choose their students.

Anonymous said...

My child attended private school his since Kindergarten. This was a sacarfice I had to make because I saw nothing in the DCSS that I thought would have helped him academically. He is now a 9th grader. Arabia Mountain High is an answer to prayer for me. I am glad that it is here, near me, and setting the bar and standards high. Long live Arabia Mtn High!!!!

Cerebration said...

I wish someone would explain to me how the fact that Lakeside and Druid Hills perform better on tests is a race issue. Not getting that - never have.

Yes, there are 5 elementary schools (out of 83) that are a majority white. No middles and no high schools though. I guess we were just assuming we were discussing high schools here.

You are correct though, and we discussed earlier, that the per student funding for schools is the same, except that gifted and special education students have a higher FTE value and therefore more dollars per student. This is how Kittredge manages to wrangle their funding - plus they get some kind of bump for having so many gifted students in one school. (I think it has to do with the savings incurred from having to send a gifted teacher around to supplement gifted students in regular schools.)

My beef with Arabia is not about student funding - it's about the fact that it was supposed to alleviate over-crowding and when it was half built, the school system decided to instead make it a magnet.

Also - when they add a senior class - it will bring the total to 1400 - which is nowhere near full. The lowest capacity the building has is 1600 - the highest is 2100. The building is enormous.

And - still - the other over-crowded schools in the area will usurp SPLOST dollars for additions that would not have been necessary. The regular, neighborhood kids were denied access to this school. The system would rather spend money to add on to the other schools than redistrict and rebalance the attendance zones to utilize the all of the additional seats they now have at Arabia.

Here's a question to ponder. Could this be not - white racism - but black elitism at play?

Cerebration said...

Anon - just curious - what was wrong with SW DeKalb? Miller Grove? What is your home school and why was it not good enough?

No Duh said...

It's not about the SPLOST money or the physical buildings! If you want children to get a quality education then put quality teachers and staff in a building (or in a field, or in a cave...)and fill it with kids who come to school ready to learn.

DCSS COULD fix the first part by identifying, acquiring and retaining quality teachers. It COULD thumb its nose at DOE et. al. and FIRE bad teachers, etc. But, it chooses not to.

The Communities could fix the second part by sending kids to school ready to learn. But, that would require the education-minded families to stay in their neighborhood schools and begin cultivating and nurturing values from within. But, they choose not to.

Unfortunately the voters -- throughout the county -- continue to elect unscrupulous Board Members or BOE members who get reelected by showing off the new buildings instead of fixing the real problems in the already existing schools. Voters COULD vote these clowns out. But, they choose not to.

It is NOT about racism. It is about Educational Elitism. The families that place education above all else are scrambling out of their sinking neighborhood schools. They are running for their children's lives.

Educational Elitism knows no color or class. It is the one "ism" that everyone can identify with. But, they choose not to.

Cerebration said...

All true, no duh, and very enlightened. However, when I tour the mess at Cross Keys and see how the kids there make do with little to nothing and then see millions upon millions spent on new facilities and supplies for others I get very frustrated.

This is sales tax money. Hispanics contribute quite a lot to the cause.

Cerebration said...

Anon, tell me true. Go to this link -

Cross Keys is Still in Limbo

and look at the pictures and then tell me really - you really think it's equitable and fair for your child to get a near-private school education when others in the same system suffer in conditions like Cross Keys? (By the way - Lakeside and Chamblee are not in much better condition.)

Really - you think - hurrah for me! What great luck that the school system built this fabulous place for my child! And you can turn a blind eye to the plight of others?

Anonymous said...

"There are some majority white schools in DeKalb County, one elementary in the Shamrock feeder has 64% white enrollment."

I live next to Shamrock, and there enrollment is no where near 64% white. It is a much, much more diverse school. Get your facst right.

fedupindcss said...

No Duh has it right--this is about the willingness for DCSS and the parents of Dekalb to put their money and effort behind neighborhood schools, which will save money and communities. You cannot complain that your neighborhood is terrible and that your child needs to get out when you have never gotten in the trenches and yelled like heck for things to change. I know a lot of people in areas of Dekalb that are a little worse for wear who do heroic work (much like Kim does here) but are surrounded by folks who just want to run instead. Just moving your kid isn't necessarily going to do it--maybe the example you are setting for your kid is that it is better to cut and run than do that hard work.

themommy said...

Anon at 3:43,

How I wish that your figures were on the money (pun intended) about how much is spent on the magnet programs.

Unfortunately, they aren't. However, per the approved budget, it doesn't appear that Arabia Mountain is getting extra funding for its very small magnet program. This irritates me because Chamblee is getting 9 extra locally funded teachers for only 3 times as many students. UGH

If you refer to this document,

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/budget/files/FY2010%20Approved%20Budget%20Book.pdf

and scroll down to each of the magnet programs. Where it lists magnet, multiply the number there by 60,000. This is the minimum of what is being spent extra on teachers for that school.

At the height of the magnet program, including transportation costs, DeKalb was spending 15 million local tax dollars to fund these programs.

You have been misled, I hope not by a board member. By current standards, the magnet program at Arabia Mountain is being ripped off as compared to the other magnet programs. Just sayin!

themommy said...

KMS has some extra teachers because of the number of gifted students in one building. However, they use much of this to keep their class size low -- 18 students when it could be 32. For their 430ish students there are 3 German teachers, 2 PE teachers (there was a PE para until this year as well), 1 art teacher (there were two until this year), 2 band teachers, 1 orchestra teacher, and 1 music teacher. In addition, most elementary schools under 550 students lost their media clerks this year. You GOT IT -- KMS still has theirs.

Much of this is funded by the extra teachers that DeKalb taxpayers pay for.

After the FTE count in October, I intend to ask for an accounting of exactly what staff each school in DeKalb has. If the system isn't forthcoming, I will file an open records request.

It is time for this stuff to stare the board it their face. I wonder if the parents at Murphy Candler elementary school really understand why they don't have a music teacher?

Dekalbparent said...

@themommy -

Not all of the students at KMS arrive with a "Gifted" classification, but one of the things they do as early as they can if test every single one of the non-Gifted kids as many ways as allowed to increase the number of "Gifted" kids on their rolls.

It is not NEARLY as easy to get your kid tested for "Gifted" in any other elementary school - I don't know if it's automatic anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

to add...kms has gifted students 18, sometimes less, while other regular elementary has the max 23 students 30 students per classroom

Anonymous said...

there are other gifted classes and elementary schools in dekalb. they have 23 and 30 students, while kms has way high teacher to student ratio

Cerebration said...

Good points everyone. Overall, I think we can say that we are in new times with new (very tight) budgets and cannot afford to maintain such inequities. We all need to demand that our board reps insist that Dr. Lewis spend his budget equitably.

Dekalbparent said...

Meanwhile, Maureen Downey in today's AJC is praising DeKalb's School Choice programs.

fedupindcss said...

Egad, that woman drives me insane. She has totally bought into the drivel being sold by DCSS, that "choice" is what is going to save our schools, and isn't DCSS so forward thinking and fantastic to offer so many different options to parents. Meanwhile, her kids sit in Decatur schools, which have no choice but which are tiny, have huge community support, and function at a much higher level.

Does she have any idea how much money these choice programs divert, and how few students they service?

And to go one further, would you ever see a series of articles in the AJC that go after DCSS the way they went after Clayton (which, by the way, reminds me of DCSS. A lot.).

Dunwoody Mom said...

Disappointed in Maureen. She's usually more informed about her subject.

There's really no "choice" involved here. One gets into one of these "choice" schools based on whether you're number is drawn in a lottery, how loud you whine to DCSS or your BOE representative or in the case of Arabaia and DSA, your test scores.

Anonymous said...

okay the mommmy, i agree with you on everything - do you think that there are enough people that would join together and show up at an event and demand a response to these levels of inequality - just throwing it out there, i think that there are parents who would fall in behind a leader who can get their facts straight ( you ) - what do you say? cere, how incredible would it be to see the blog give birth to an action plan for an "in your face" situation to the board?
just say when and where and lets see how recruiting efforts go ?

Cerebration said...

Themommy - you really are quite the knowledge source! Care to take on a blog?! At least send me a non-identifiable email and I can give you posting privileges.

Why don't we start with a form letter? We can write one here - and one at a time, copy and paste and make revisions... get it? Then we can all copy and paste and personalize and send it to the board.

Anyone care to start? The next board meeting is Monday, Oct 5th - think we could have it ready by then?

Cerebration said...

When Maureen starts spreading DeKalb Press Releases as news, I would suggest that you all go to her blog and correct her. I did - Here's my most recent comment on her blog --

Yes, DeKalb offers a variety of "choices" on the surface. But when you dig down, you find that many of these "choices" involve requirements like minimum test scores (Kittredge and Chamblee), an essay application, certain grades and a vow to wear uniforms (Arabia) or a talent tryout (DeKalb School of the Arts - which also has a test score requirement). Then, on top of that - if it's a popular program, after you fulfill all of the requirements, you still sometimes need to enter a lottery to gain a seat. DeKalb also offers AYP transfers to students whose home schools do not make AYP (39% of DeKalb's high schools did not make AYP) or Administrative Transfers to the lucky people who can convince a principal, superintendent, area super or board rep that they deserve a transfer for ____ reason. Conversely, if you don't fit an above listed category (as in the case of my child) you are simply told "don't hold your breath". (Yes, that is a quote.)

But mostly, the ability to offer "choices" follows a popular law of physics from Newton - for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In DeKalb, these programs cost money - and there's only so much to go around. So - it comes off the backs of others. We now have some programs that offer and abundance of teachers of the arts, enrichment, library and media services, technology and career prep, and AP courses, while others literally do not have the books and supplies required to teach the basics - and spend their day in 50-100 year old, crappy buildings.

Maureen - your children attend Decatur City Schools - average per student expenditure is $13,000 I believe. In DeKalb it varies -- from about $8500-$10,000 and that doesn't even include the cost of transporting kids all around the county for these special programs.

DeKalb ain't "all that" for everyone, my friend. I would suggest you dig a little deeper before going to press with news of how it is in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Maureen Downey could have definitely left out the unfortunate few words about DeKalb's Choice in her column--it was incidental and unneeded.

However, a bigger failure is to continue to assign problems to RACIAL segregation, rahter than class or cultural distinctions.

She's not the only one--they all do it. They will until we can't tell white from black from "other". Read the book "Brown".

Then--all there will be will be other forms of discrimination just as there are in every nation on earth--see India, China, Africa, Central/South America (Castillian vs Indiginous)--those that have power--and those that don't--and it has nothing to do with color--it has to do with "tribe".

In DeKalb, our "tribes" are the educated and the uneducated--the safe and unsafe--the hopeful and the hopeless--the community supported and unsupported.

These are not racial distinctions--but they do help determine children's "readiness" to learn and chance of survival.

themommy said...

I am still scratching my head that Arabia Mountain isn't getting any magnet points. It could be that new schools (because they are new) don't have state funding the first year (or part of the first year?) and so there was no need for DCSS to distinguish the points as magnet because DCSS has to front the money anyway. (School funding, is in part, based on the previous year's enrollment.)

I would love to have others talk about this. While it is effective to address the board at the general meetings, I am finding that you can get more accomplished if you can get the issue put on the agenda of a board subcommittee, attend that meeting and watch the discussion. (Many times, the committee chair will allow you to address the committee.) I am trying to find out the next round of meetings and will do a front page post here.

There is such a sense of entitlement from most magnet school parents that any time the system tries to change anything the public outcry is huge and our board members have been weak. I would like to think that between a terrible economy and slightly better board members, this crew could find the guts to push CL to make some changes.

Cerebration said...

I think the issue with Arabia is semantics. I think Arabia is not technically a "magnet" school - it's technically a "choice" school - albeit one with admission requirements...just like a magnet.

You may want to find out what the difference is - and how they can require a certain GPA, an essay, etc to apply to Arabia. How can there be a vetting process for a "choice" school? What exactly is a "choice" school?

Dunwoody Mom said...

In my opinion, what the school system is doing at Arabia is far worse and perhaps illegal. They are assigning private school type admission requirements to a publicly funded school. Arabia is essentially getting to choose the students they want in their building. Yeah, there is a "choice" here - it's the choice of the Arabia principal.

Cerebration said...

And here's the story from yesterday's Atlanta Business Chronicle highlighting a decision by the DDA (when Dr Walker was a part of it) -

DeKalb County cannot issue bonds for completion of a performing arts center without voter approval, a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices upheld a lower court decision in favor of a challenge to the DeKalb County Development Authority brought by state Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta.

Citing a law passed by the General Assembly in 2007, Jacobs maintained that the agency had no legal authority to sell $4.3 million in bonds to finish the project without going to DeKalb voters.
...


Click the article link above for more.

========
Remember, this bonding authority has the power to approve projects anywhere in the county and promise that we will pay for it by issuing bonds (taxes) and we don't even get to vote on it.

Anonymous said...

@Celebration - My home school is Stephenson. Do I need to say more?

Cerebration said...

I see from the Stephenson test scores at GA DOE, that the school did not make AYP, mostly due to math scores in the category "Economically Disadvantaged". The school is also not a Title 1 school, so probably doesn't receive extra funding to support those students. (Same for Lakeside, Dunwoody, Chamblee, Druid Hills).

But the school is pretty close to making AYP at 72.2% meeting or exceeding in math (74.9% is necessary) and over 90% passing in English (even the Econ Disadvantaged passed that category). The school also shows an 87.7% graduation rate - so that's good.

Looks like all they need to do is work on math - especially with the Economically Disadvantaged. A little bump there - and they'll make AYP next year. (Didn't they get a new principal?!! That should help.)

Anonymous said...

My point in the message from 9-27 is that there should be a call to come together to do battle with DCSS from all fronts--no one school should have to be the squeaky wheel.

My suggestion about reaching out to the other schools is just that--you have setup a forum that many parents are unaware of but could benefit from. I have passed this site on to the parents that I know who are involved, however, due to the north vs. south attitude that seems to permeate many of the discussions, they are turned off.

And yes, I've visited many schools in DeKalb from the ES level on up--to include DHHS, Cross Keys, Lakeside, Tucker, Dunwoody, Towers, MLK, MG & it is sad to see the conditions of many of the schools--including the newer ones like MLK which had shoddy construction that is really starting to show after only 7 years of existence. My older children and nephew have attended schools in both North & S. DeKalb. My kids were in the Cross Keys feeder pattern for a while because of all the diversity seen there--which I loved. But during middle school I wanted them to attend school closer to home as it was a lot easier on me transportation & schedule wise. A few of their friends have graduated from CKHS and a couple still attend Cross Keys.

As others have said CKHS continues to be the lowest on the priority list because they don't have a strong community presence. Kim is doing a wonderful job advocating for them, however, imagine what would change if if Kim is joined by the parents from McNair, Tucker, Dunwoody, & SWD all advocating for the same cause.

It's going to take a consortium of parents from all the schools to make any significant changes. I was just hoping this site would be a good start to draw in people from all over the county to start the conversation on how to come together, but many times the conversation turns into us vs. them.

No Duh said...

"It's going to take a consortium of parents from all the schools to make any significant changes"

In our representative form of government, it is our BOE members who are supposed to serve as a "consortium of parents." The BOE members are supposed to bring forward and advocate for the wants and needs of the majority of people in their district.

It is incredibly disturbing to learn that our BOE members are still playing games and that some of them brought pre-conceived agendas with them upon their election.

To know that many of their constituents wrote or spoke to them about the debacle of eSIS -- and then they lock-step without discussion promote the man responsible for the debacle -- spending our taxpayer dollars to reward this man who brought despair on every school in the system -- and who doesn't even know the difference between a "roll out" and a "pilot" -- I JUST DON'T GET IT!!

And, it's all of the BOE members! We've wanted them to work as a unit for years -- now, they work as a unit of idiots.

God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Fedup--I agree--I've heard that a few on the board want to get rid of CL, but they don't have enough votes to do so---he's too damn entrenched. I would love to see new blood all across the board. Someone passed information from Stand Up Georgia on to me where they have actually come up with an identifiable platform and issues that they want the candidates for Atl Mayor to address. I'm thinking something similar is needed for the next round of BOE elections. Too many people are voting based on name recognition in DeKalb and not on where a candidate stands on particular issues. Whoever has the most $$$ & name recognition is able to pull it off even if they are clueless. In addition, there need to be term limits, some of the board has been around way too darn long to be effective

fedupindcss said...

Well, folks, we had a chance last fall to clean out the BOE. There were four open seats, and we, the voters, managed not to vote for the most qualified (or least corrupt) candidate in virtually all of them. It was a truly amazing feat of political suicide on our part. So we can complain about the BOE all we want, but we did this to ourselves. Congratulations, Dekalb voters!

Cerebration said...

I agree with you fedup and I would add that the current board is adept at collusively getting their way. It's become a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" with Dr. Lewis - creating a symbiotic relationship ensuring his employment as long as those who defend him continue to receive his blessings to go along with their plans - be they regarding construction, supplies of teachers and text or the choice of school leadership.

Sadly, I truly believe we have delved into an abyss much deeper than the one we thought we were escaping.

Dekalbparent said...

@ Cere -

You observe that "It's become a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' with Dr. Lewis - creating a symbiotic relationship ensuring his employment as long as those who defend him continue to receive his blessings to go along with their plans - be they regarding construction, supplies of teachers and text or the choice of school leadership."


I just looked up the schools in District 2. They are:

Elementary Schools
Ashford Park (shared with Redovian)
Briar Vista 9 (Walker)
Fernbank 9 (Walker)
Laurel Ridge (shared with Womack)
McLendon (shared with Copelin-Wood, Roberts)
Medlock (shared with Copelin-Wood)
Montclair (shared with Womack)
Sagamore Hills (shared with Womack)
Woodward

Middle School
Shamrock (shared with Copelin-Wood, Womack, Roberts)


High Schools
Cross Keys (shared with Redovian, Womack)
Druid Hills (shared with Copelin-Wood, Womack, Roberts)

Our District 2 representative seems to be in LUUUUUV with Dr. Lewis, but I have seen little happening of benefit to those schools. Perhaps the "I'll scratch your back" part is working, but not the "You scratch mine."

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on Arabia Mountain. One of the awesome things about the facility is all the money went for education. That’s right Arabia Mountain does not have a stadium. Do you know what portion of construction budgets normally go to building the stadium? As someone who grew up in Texas where the bigger the school the better the football team (and the worse the academics) it seemed heretical that during the planning process the athletic field and stadium were quietly dropped. The educators on the planning team back under Brown kept arguing for a showplace of learning located in a unique area with the opportunity to become the magnet of environmental science, a green building that would cost more to build and less to operate, and they thought their report and recommendations got lost under Brown. Make Arabia Mountain the norm and let us work together to bring the rest of DCSS up to excellent.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know Fernbank Elementary is indeed a majority white school. You should consult the Georgia Department of Education’s demographic data on the annual report card feature. There are others.

Cerebration said...

Anon - I don't know how long you've lived here - but NO high school in DeKalb has a stadium. Most of them in my area don't even have an auditorium.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Anon 05:06 - We were referring to High Schools.

Cere is correct. No DeKalb County High Schools have their own stadium. Heck, those of us in Dunwoody are still waiting on that long-promised auditorium

fedupindcss said...

Some of them have one on site, like Avondale and N. Dekalb near Chamblee. But the rest are centralized.

That said, my high school, which had 1500 kids, had no stadium--no schools around us did. We had a football field with a track around it, bleachers (wood and metal) on both sides, although the visitors were smaller. Not huge by any means, about the same as you see behind Lakeside or Tucker for practice. Oh, and it was in a residential area.

So you can have this stuff on site, but it doesn't have to be the freakin' Taj Mahal.

Dunwoody Mom said...

North DeKalb stadium sits next to Chamblee, but when I went there our football team was not allowed to use the facility for practices. I'm not sure if that is still the case.

Cerebration said...

Anon 5:06, you may have missed that discussion. Yes, there are about 5 elementary schools in the county (out of over 80) that are majority white. Henderson MS has almost an even mix and Lakeside and Dunwoody HS's also have about an even mix - the rest of the MS and HS's are majority black - except for Cross Keys, which is a majority Hispanic.

So the old argument "white schools" no longer applies.

Anonymous said...

Distance in Dekalb County

I've read the stories about Arabia with interest. I graduated from Chamblee High School in the magnet program in 2001; I went to Kittredge before that. One of the constant aspects of my schooling was the long bus rides / car drives from home to school for 9 years. It was work it; Chamblee was great. However, it's a commute hundreds (thousands?) of children make every day from South to North Dekalb. If Arabia ends up being a solid option, will Dekalb provide transportation for kids from North Dekalb (or wherever else in the County) down to Arabia? It should be provided. School choice should work all ways.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought through the effect of magnet transportation cuts on Dunwoody and Lakeside?

I was amazed to read on this thread that 20 kids left Oak Grove for Kittredge this year. My daughter was part of an unusually large and gifted cohort in elementary school (not Oak Grove, BTW). Only 2 of them were drawn for Kittredge in 4th grade. During the rest of their elementary and middle school years, very few magnet slots opened up. However this group has spurred each other on to high academic achievement in the neighborhood schools.

Now it is much easier for the those who can manage the transportation to get into the magnet program. The effects will be greatest on the schools closest to Chamblee. I predict that there will be an accelerated drain of gifted students from the Dunwoody and Lakeside feeders. It will become harder to find the critical mass to sustain challenging class offerings and competitive academic extracurriculars at these high schools.

I find that many members of the Lakeside community do not realize what a difference there already is between Lakeside and Chamblee. The gap is only going to get larger, no matter how hard we all work to support our neighborhood schools.

Anonymous said...

My son is in the 9th grade at Lakeside. I know of at least 3 of his friends that went to Kittredge and Chamblee Middle that have opted to return home to Lakeside for high school, rather than go to Chamblee High. It was important to them to go high school with the other kids in their neighborhood for social reasons. Their parents were all OK with it (probably tired of the commute!).

Anonymous said...

I do not know what shamrock high's attendance race percentages are now, but I was bused to the school, and it was majority white.

Cerebration said...

Funny you should point that out, Anon. The demographic reports for the October 9, 2009 FTE count (the official student count) are currently available online. Go to this link to download the reports (they are available for any school in the state.)

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/

As far as I can tell from this report, Shamrock (which is today a middle school) is now 51% black, 21% white, 13% Hispanic, 11% Asian with "others" making up the rest.

The system as a whole has 99,406 students, which is made up of 71,587 black students (72%), 11,064 Hispanic students (11%), 10,590 white students (11%), 4294 Asian students (4.3%). 1533 mixed race students, (1.6%), 239 American Indian students (.02%) and 99 Pacific Islander students (.01%)

So, as you can see, the race discussion is of no value anymore. The system is by far a majority black. (Back in the days of busing it was only between 5-10% black.) There are actually more Hispanics in DeKalb schools than whites. (Notice that there are NO HIspanics in top level administration.) And the only racially diverse schools in the system are Lakeside, Druid Hills, Dunwoody.

I guess you could say Tucker is somewhat diverse, but out of a total 1414 students, 977 are black students and only 191 whites, 113 Hispanics and a few others, it's really a strong majority black. Same for Chamblee. Of the total 1512 students, 830 are black, only 346 are white and 145 Hispanic. So those two schools are now a majority black.

Where are all the Hispanics attending high school? They are pretty much all at Cross Keys high school. Of their 900 students, 689 are HIspanic. (103 Asian, 93 black, 28 white and a few others.) And yes, their building is still in horrible shape. There are NO plans to fix up the outdoor track which is ruddy with weeds and cracks or add an auditorium. The current work being done is for the vocational high school portion of the building - auto tech, etc. (they merged the HS of Technology North in with Cross Keys last fall. These kids are in trailers.)

Cross Keys is a travesty. And yes, I believe it's racially motivated. The times - they have a'changed.

Anonymous said...

On this coming Saturday January 23,2010 a protest will be held at the State Capital in protest to Crawford Lewis 15,000 pay raise.

Every Thursday going forth all staff will wear Black in protest

Parent ans student get on board with the teachers.

Pass this information to everyone in your contact list. Where all black on every Thursday in protest of the abuse and misuse of resources.

We want to be 1000 plus strong of Saturday. Parents and student come down.

Enough is enough. Students are being robbed of a quality education and teachers are being brutalized for doing what is right.

Anonymous said...

I personally think your just upset for whatever reason because you didn't have the opportunities that the students at Arabia have. I am a student at Arabia and we know the inside scoop about our school, we have sponsors who help pay for our school so Dekalb has nothing to do with our school. The fact that so many people our downing the school they so many have the opportunity to come to is "sickening", because this school was built to better the children of Dekalb County. So please stop hating and just be proud of what Arabia is: the first Environmental school in Georgia!

TY Narc That Car said...

I Am an Arabia Mountain High School student. It hurts me dearly to have to sit here and listen to the hate that people are giving off to my school!
#1. For the comment made about Southwest DeKalb, SWD is the school I transferred from, and for the record, although it was a so called magnet school, sad to say only lesson being learned was about band notes and how that school lived off the band. Education was not Southwest's priority what so ever. Why do you guys think that didn't make AYP last year? Hmm?
#2. Our school takes care of the environment on a daily bases okay! This school is filled with students whom put EDUCATION first, while we were given the command to be in at least one extra curricular activity.
#3 Get this okay.... SEVEN CLASSES. below 70's in a class will send you straight to academic probation, then OUT the school on the second/third warning.
#4 As far as money wise... all of the rumors and goulash about us taking all the county's money, save that because we are using every dime GIVEN to us on education material. Maybe if your schools get a little on top of their game, then maybe random companies would start giving the schools money, without an ask! Who said the county was giving it to us? OH OKAY!

It's very rare for you to find students wearing uniforms, always ready and prepared to get to school DAILY? And when it comes to skipping or missing school, ask god if its even possible. NO

As you can see I love my school, and will not take non sense, drama, and rumors being said about us! We're on top of our game so o'm not sure why someone felt the need to write a whole novel on why Arabia is horrible. You could've used that time and typing energy to send a letter to the county. What did posting this do for you???? I'm just saying :)

CHAO! GO RAMS

Cerebration said...

So glad you two love your school. I know Arabia offers a dream team of teachers (recruited as such) as well as excellent opportunities for career pathways. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had similar access? (For your information, Arabia is not accessible to most students in the county due to it's location - only 2 miles from the southernmost DeKalb border). There is no other "Arabia-like" school in the entire county.

We are not complaining about academic spending - we are pointing out the inequities in spending on facilities (buildings, grounds and technology). Are you aware, that before Arabia was built (with over $50 million in SPLOST revenue) - it was promised as an additional school necessary to reduce over-crowding at MLK, Lithonia and Miller Grove? Somehow, after it was built, the plan changed, and it was deemed a magnet school which students must apply to. Are you aware that there are schools in other areas of the county that have toilets that don't flush, grounds and sidewalks that are crumbling, no auditoriums whatsoever, tennis courts that are unusable due to the many trailers on them for over-crowding, tracks and fields with holes and weeds so deep as to be hazardous, no workout facilities, little technology, old science labs... on and on.

Please, at least do me the favor of viewing the slideshow of Cross Keys HS and then put aside your own sense of entitlement for a minute to stop and think about what others are going without - so that Arabia can have so much.

Here's the link -

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/07/why-is-cross-keys-still-in-limbo.html

Anonymous said...

Money follows the child.

Kittredge has a student population that is over 90% gifted indentified. School's get extra money FROM THE STATE - not county for gifted students. This is how Kittredge chooses to spend the money. I promise - gifted students can be serious behavior problems if not challenged appropriately - just like students who have a hard time keeping up become behavior problems.

Kittredge is the best the county can provide - and it does a great job - or these kids who have left for private school or left the county.

You take away the best that the county has to offer - people move away - less tax revenue - schools will slip further down. I only wish we would expand out magnet programs to offer these incredible opportunities to more students.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Arabia. At least the south end of DeKalb County got something. All major improvements, supplies, etc. always go to the north end of the county. We finally have something to be proud of and the jealousy monster rears its head once again. If the school lives of to what its suppose to be, then it is the students who will benefit. After all isn't this what we want? To have students receive a quality education, of which this has been lacking in the southern end of this county for too long.

arabia educated student said...

yo i attended arabia and yes, we do deserve the name "crowned jewel". Everyday we work our butts off not only for us but the county and our test scores back that up. If you weren't too blinded by the fact that you aren't directly benefiting you would realize that there is a decent percentage of black kids recieving a great education over here, magnet or not. Your child had the same chances at getting in that I did; so in other words, stop hating because you didnt take advantage of the opportunity you had as a parent.... thank you