Tuesday, May 11, 2010

North vs Central vs South - what's the deal?

Ok, so I got tired of listening to the imaginary north/south debate and Sarah Copelin-Wood's claim that "82% of all students live in the southernmost part of the county". So I went to the Citizen's Task Force website and downloaded pretty much all of their data posted about our elementary schools (this is all they've studied so far). I took their map of the elementary schools and randomly divided it into three zones; north, central and south.  Then I went to the "matrix" data sheet and added up the numbers relevant to the the neighborhood schools in these random zones and added those totals to the map graphic—no magnets, themes or charters were counted in these totals. (Click on the map to get a large version to view or print out if you'd like.)  Pretty unscientific, I know, but who really knows where "north", "central" and "south" DeKalb begin and end?

Below are the student numbers for each zone:

North DCSS students:
Living in zone: 13,202
Enrollment: 14,519
Capacity: 12,393 (2,126 over-capacity)

Central DCSS students:
Living in zone: 9,702
Enrollment: 9,244
Capacity: 8,798 (446 over-capacity)

South DCSS students:
Living in zone: 21,513
Enrollment: 18,267
Capacity: 21,192 (2,925 available seats)

Basically, here are my takeaways -

1) We have a fairly even balance between the numbers of students living in the south and the capacity to offer seats to them in their own zone. School by school these numbers vary greatly, however, closing schools may actually cause us to have to build additions elsewhere to accommodate students if they decide to stay in their neighborhood school. It appears as though about 3,200+ students living in the south end do not attend their neighborhood school—creating the "empty seats" syndrome. Simple re-districting should be able to solve much of the under/over enrollments, in my view. The north and central zones are under-capacity by about 1,000-2,000 students in each zone, and a few classroom additions to current over-capacity buildings could alleviate the crowding.

2) Since these capacity figures do not include magnet, theme or charter schools, perhaps these options are causing our neighborhood schools to lose enrollment and creating the empty seats. In the north, we have Kittredge Magnet (capacity: 443 and enrollment of 416), and Oakcliff Theme (capacity: 662, enrollment: 593) that's 1,009 students in theme/magnet schools in the north - central DeKalb offers Robert Shaw Theme (capacity: 512, enrollment: 485) and Wynbrooke Theme (capacity: 837, enrollment: 933) totaling 1,418 students in theme schools in the central zone - but south DeKalb has the most— Bouie Theme (capacity: 787, enrollment: 853), DESA Magnet school for the arts (capacity: 600, enrollment: 528), Marbut Theme (capacity: 787, enrollment: 844), Narvie Harris Theme (capacity: 837, enrollment: 984), Wadsworth Magnet (capacity: 462, enrollment: 166) and the soon to open Leadership Academy Charter School. There are 3,375 students attending these theme/magnet/charter elementary schools in south DeKalb (just about the same number of "empty" seats in neighborhood elementary schools in the south.)

3) So, somewhere around 3,200 students in South DeKalb do not attend their neighborhood zoned school—many certainly have opted for magnet and theme schools, but many must be attending neighborhood schools in the north on administrative transfers. Central DeKalb is over-enrolled by 446, and has the actual population of 458 students more than the zone's capacity. North DeKalb neighborhood schools are under-capacity for area residents by 809 seats, however the schools are actually over-capacity by 2,216 students, most likely due to transfers (this number does not include Kittredge or Oakcliff).

4) Of the 44,417 elementary school students who live in DeKalb county, approximately 30% live in what I roped off as north DeKalb, 22% live in central and 48% live in the southern part of the county. (Even if you give all of central over to Sarah, the total is just 70% of students who live outside of the north end—nowhere near 82%.)

Feel free to visit the Citizen's Planning Task Force webpage and download the files.  I used the files called "grid map ES" and the "matrix ES corrected".

Click here for the School Choice explanation on the DCSS website.

45 comments:

Teacher said...

That's really important data and just the kind of information that DCSS should be providing on a regular basis.

More important than the number living in an area relative to the capacity, though, is the enrollment/capacity ratio--more than 1 in the north and central areas (1.17 and 1.04, respectively), below 1 in the south (0.86). If this ratio is greater than 1, it indicates that more students are enrolled than there is room for them. Vice versa for values less than 1--empty seats.

Isn't this a measure of how crowded or not, a region's schools are? It seems to me that a system should aim for about a 1:1 ratio, where enrollment is about equal to capacity--in other words, students attend schools that contain about the number of students they are built to contain. Otherwise, you have empty seats, as we do in the South, and overcrowding, as we do in the North.

Of course, this kind of demographic changes all the time, and you don't just go out and build a new school every few years. But neither should you have one group of students crammed into trailers, which are so substandard for teaching, while another enjoys ample room and great new facilities--and, because of layoffs and attrition, STILL crowded classrooms.

It seems clear that North county is particularly overcrowded. Why? Where the kids come from matters in terms of deciding how to improve things. We know that kids from South County travel North, while very few travel in the other direction. Parents of traveling kids aren't happy with having their kids on buses so much of the day, or with having them get up at 5 AM.

The solution? Let's remember that NCLB mandated busing from non-AYP to AYP schools as a last resort, with school improvement and tutoring at local schools as the first choices. DCSS chose busing rather than seriously trying to improve all schools, which would have done more to bring them up to the same level. Ask parents in the South what they have heard about school-based, free tutoring options for their kids, and you'll find that they have heard nothing, because DCSS never attempted it. We'd probably all like our kids to be in school close to home--that's what "community" means to me, at least.

DCSS should work harder to provide a quality education in every school. That requires strong parental involvement, which is weaker in many of the South County schools than in North County. But at present, as yous data show, it's the North that's bearing the brunt of overcrowding, and the South that's sending its kids on 3-hour bus rides each day. These traveling students are often the more motivated ones, and I've seen really heroic efforts by 14-year-olds to stay awake and get that education. But it shouldn't have to be this way.

Cerebration said...

Good points, Teacher. I must emphasize that this data only includes neighborhood schools - the additional charters, themes and magnets add capacity. There are more of these in the south end of the county as well, most likely driving those empty seats at neighborhood schools - along with transfers to schools in central and north DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Remember the NCLB transfers....

Anonymous said...

I'm in North county and want all you South county parents to keep sending your kids my way. They're exactly the kind of students I want in my classroom -- and you the caring parent are exactly who I want at home reinforcing my lessons.

Please keep putting up with the bus ride -- You can't imagine the negative impact on my classroom if your children stayed home.

Cerebration said...

I don't think there are many NCLB transfers in elementary schools - most of our ESs made AYP. I don't have similar data for middle and high school - this report is just elementary schools.

Anonymous said...

Ah, sorry, now I see only ES.

Ella Smith said...

The information Sara gave was incorrect. I was very upset with her information as really she was trying to indicate the percentage of African Americans in the School System and compare it to the south side of the county.

Dekalb is an extremely diverse county. This is what I love so much about it. To indicate that the North is white is incorrect. To indicate the South is black and 80% of the black students are from the south is incorrect data. I am extremely bothered by the stereotyping. I have always taken up for Sara. However, this time I cannot take up for her. The racial comments from the seats of the school board need to stop. This is inappropriate. The school system is trying to heal currently and the last thing the school system needs is to throw racial comments around.

As an individual who is disabled I learned a very long time ago life is not fair. I will be discriminated against the rest of my life. When I make written eras due to my spelling and deficits in written expression if I do not proof my written expression then people will think I am not very smart due to my disability in this area. However, this has nothing to do with my intellectual ability or my ability to reason or make decisions.

When comments are made or things happen that are inappropriate that Sara knows about she also needs to hold her tongue and not make it an issue as she sets on the school board. This just causes serious problems and hurts the entire county. It hurts our students. If the school board members truely care about our students in Dekalb and Dekalb County they need to focus on the students and what we can do to improve our school system and not make us look worse in the media.

Anonymous said...

So SCW is a liar.

Is anyone really surprised?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing graphically that Fernbank Science Center is truly in the central part of the county and accessible to all, more accessible than Kittredge or Chamblee MS or HS.

Anonymous said...

Ella,


Are Fulton County teachers and staff having to take a pay cut?

If so, what is the percentage?

Please keep providing your input. Regardless of any errors you may make, your comments are appreciated.
We all have faults.
You are right. The DCSS needs to hill. Staff will begin finding out about layoffs this week. That will be hard on a lot of people.
It is very hard trying to keep up the morale.
Principals are expected to do this.
Anyone that has an option is leaving our system.
Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 8:26
Fernbank may be at the geographic center of the county, but given how far it is from the interstate, it is hardly accessible.

Ella Smith said...

Fulton County Teachers are being furloughed next year. However we were forloughed 6 or 7 day this year also. It really cut into our pay checks. Our contracts came out today and we did not get step increases this year.

Fulton County School Board cut 500 teacher, counselor, schoolhouse positions this year. We only have 1 out of four of our counselors coming back. One of the science teachers I team teach with who is an excellent science teacher got Riffed. It is horrible. The moral is horrible. We had 9 or 10 teachers Riffed at Northsprings.

The School Board members must stop making racial comments from the school board seats. It does nothing but hurt the Dekalb County School System. Currently the Dekalb County School System needs to be healing. It does not need any more drama. School Board Members please keep your drama behind close doors. Please do not air all that dirty laundry.

The ODE representative also did not need to be reprimanded and public brow beating from a school board members seat either. This is also inappropriate and personal in my opinion. This feelings should have been expressed more professionally.

Anonymous said...

"Let's remember that NCLB mandated busing from non-AYP to AYP schools as a last resort, with school improvement and tutoring at local schools as the first choices. DCSS chose busing rather than seriously trying to improve all schools, which would have done more to bring them up to the same level."

If Title 1 wasn't a Central Office "piggy bank", many, many tutors could be hired for Title 1 schools, many of which are on the AYP list. Title 1 money used to be spent for tutors.

Frustrated teacher said...

So many counties are having huge layoffs and cuts. Yet DCSS is the only one, as far as I know, that STILL hasn't told us who's getting laid off, nor when our furlough days will be. There is no excuse for this, as it is info they have had for a while, or they wouldn't have known how much $$ they will save from firing people. I appreciate the sympathy on this blog for teachers' plight right now--it is certainly the only kindness we are receiving. Bad as the financial mess is, DCSS could handle these cuts with consideration--after all, if you know when you won't be working next year, you can at least plan something enjoyable to do on those days! Along with all of its academic woes, DCSS has a huge negative legacy in how it treats its employees, whom it routinely and hypocritically "thanks for all that you do." If I have to hear that empty phrase again, I'll just...but wait, there aren't any jobs out there!

Anonymous said...

Is anyone surprised about the calls of racial imbalance from an angry black woman? I work on the south end at a school. I have kids from all over the county and I can tell you that my "Dunwoody-Chamblee Kids" are just as good or bad as my "MLK-Stephenson-Lithonia Kids." There are good kids and bad kids everywhere. Believe me I would rather take attitude and being cussed out daily rather than being snubbed by snobby kids. This whole North v. South mentality is pure Geography. I teach my kids in my class that traditionally speaking blacks have usually lived in the southern end of regions or muncipalities while whites live in the north. Pure geography and politics. I want to go to Dunwoody or Chamblee and see what type of education they are getting on the "north end" that we are giving on the "south end" I guarantee you its probably the exact same education. I am proud to teach in "DeKalb County" not "South DeKalb County"

To be honest, the teachers could care less about this whole north v. south thing. Were all getting screwed equally. I teach with several former Northern End HS Teachers and they claim its the same up there as it is down here.

DeKalb is lucky its balanced. I have been in systems where the Northern end has 500 in the HS and the Southern end has 2,000 in their High School

Anonymous said...

Frustrated teacher, you may want to check around the metro area. Teachers all over are complaining that either they don't have contracts, received them late, don't know who is being laid off, etc. This is not unique to DeKalb.

At the Board meeting on Monday, Ms. Tyson did say there will be pre-planning days, perhaps 2. More than likely the staff development days will go.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, the teachers could care less about this whole north v. south thing. Were all getting screwed equally.

This by far should sum up everything. Tell SCW to go put a sock in it.

Dekalbparent said...

Since SCW seems to be somewhat confused sometimes, I wonder if her 80% figure is from confused thinking rather than deliberate lying.

Maybe it goes like this:

Roughly 80% of the students in DCSS are African-American. Traditionally African-Americans have lived in the southern end of the county. Therefore, 80% of the students must live in the southern end of the county.

This is a form of false reasoning - a syllogism.

Anonymous said...

These numbers don't lie. Clearly Jay Cunningham, Sarah Copelin Wood and Zephorah Roberts are right!

Anonymous said...

these numbers don't lie--

clearly those three aforementioned board members are WRONG.

Looks like "syllogisms" abound.

Cerebration said...

Good try, DeKalb Parent, but African-American students make up just a bit over 70% of the total population in DeKalb schools.

Sarah's trying to play a game - she's convincing people that a vast majority (ie: all black students) live in south DeKalb, but have to "get up at 5 am to ride a bus to the schools in the north". Jay and Zepora are feeding this falsehood. As you can see from the numbers, there really aren't that many students taking a bus across the county as a percentage of the 21,513 who live in south DeKalb. Even so, many of the nearly 3,000 in south DeKalb who don't attend their neighborhood school, in all likelihood, attend a magnet, theme or charter in the south end of the county.

I think it's a disservice to the neighborhood schools for these board reps to spend so much energy focused on an imaginary issue. Please - elect someone who will fight for your neighborhood schools - and who will insist that ALL Title 1 dollars stay in the schools - to hire support for struggling students. Obviously, you no longer have to fight for SPLOST money - an enormous amount has been spent in south DeKalb and the over-crowding problem that used to exist in south DeKalb doesn't anymore. Redistricting could help balance enrollments though.

Anonymous said...

North-South is a heck of a lot easier to get your point across in a sound-bite and it requires no specific boundaries (conviently confused with "black/white").

Here's a gal-darn syllogism:
Dekalb is not North/South any more than it is black/white. Therefore since those things are EQUALLY WRONG, they must be EQUAL. Therefore, North/South is equal to black/white.

Believe me, if our esteemed "Sarah" was even remotely capable of thinking that through to the point of making an assertion, she would be qualified to serve.

She ain't.

Bottom line:
North/South is a convenient myth, black/white is a convenient myth and north/south=black/white is a convenient myth.

Guess what--the worst perpetrators of CREATING and perpetuating these myths (and most others) are THE PRESS. Talk about serving an agenda!

Anonymous said...

Audit use of Title I funds under RICO.
That's where you'll find the real crimes.
(Quick--before DeKalb's crooks teach other counties how to hide the money.)

Anonymous said...

Cere,
A great idea for an article on DeKalb Watch would be for a parent or a teacher in a Title 1 school to talk about Title 1 dollars in DCSS and how they are spent.

I've never known why parents with students in Title 1 schools don't press their BOE members and Ms. Tyson about why more Title 1 spending decisions are not at the Title 1 schools. Almost all Title 1 dollars are now being "managed" at the Central Office level for America's Choice ($8,000,000), Springboard ($1,400,000), Conferences (like the $400,000 Hollywood trip to learn about America's Choice), 80 non-teaching Instructional Coaches to "support" teachers for America's Choice ($8,000,000), 13 non-teaching Literacy Coaches ($1,000,000 - don't know what they do), most if not all of the Office of School Improvement (how many millions? Don't know but since are many $100,000+ employees).

Doesn't it seem obscene for all those $100,000 non-teaching employees to draw their salaries from money meant for our poorest students?

Nothing is left over for the Title 1 schools to hire Title 1 Reading or Math teachers, tutors, purchase technology or science supplies, extra reading and math learning materials, and all the other learning "extras" that wealthy PTAs can supply children in affluent schools.

Title 1 is supposed to be used to "level the playing field." Instead, the Central Office is using it to layer on ineffective scripted learning programs and non-teaching "overlords" who drain instructional time from the classroom.

Just because you're a student in a Title 1 school, don't you deserve something better than a scripted learning program and a pressured teacher? Don't those students deserve to engage in activities that develop critical thinking skills? Title 1 school personnel and parents do not need someone in the Central Office to make their decisions for them regarding money that should be coming to their children any more than wealthy PTAs in affluent schools would turn over their decision making to DCSS's administrators.

Everyone wants to know why parents of students in Title 1 schools (located more in the "South" part of the county) support magnet and theme schools and using NCLB to pack the northern schools. Well, I can't blame them. I wouldn't want my kid stuck in a scripted learning environment where critical thinking has been thrown out the window, and money that was allocated for my child was usurped for expensive trips and ineffective programs and teachers who "coach" but don't teach.

Roberts and Copelin-Wood are upset with the inequities of the schools in South DeKalb. They need to be asking about the millions of Title 1 dollars that flow out of their schools and into the Central Office. Local Title 1 schools need to be making the decisions on how to spend those Title 1 dollars within the federal Title 1 expenditure parameters. Parents, principals, and teachers in Title 1 schools are perfectly capable of making informed decisions on those millions of Title 1 dollars. They have the most to gain and the most to lose if the money is misspent.

DCSS receives over $30,000,000 a year specifically for Title 1 schools (and millions more this year in stimulus funds). This money is not like the general fund. It won't go away, and it is increased every year. What an impact it could make if it was used correctly.

Anonymous said...

"North vs Central vs South - what's the deal?"

The big deal is that by continuing to flame the flames of a racial divide in the county, is that the the old school race baiters like John Evans and even the old Vernon Jones supporter crowd have a tool to try to keep themselves relevant.

John Evans could care less that we should have a county-wide view of economic development. He, and his very close friend Zepora Roberts, just want economic development, and new schools, in their favored neighborhoods. Some others prominent leaders like Larry Johnson, Lee May, Pam Stephenson and DCSS's own Ron Ramsey occassionally like to pull out the North vs. South DeKalb racial divide when they can use it for their own advantage.

John Evans, Vernon Jones, Zepora Roberts and Sarah Copelin-Wood not only need to have their hateful words ignored, but they need to be told bluntly that their race-baiting tacts are no going to be tolerated in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

Ughh, please don't remind me that Pam Stephenson is somehow still a state representative representing Dekalb:

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/stories/2008/07/10/gradyed0710.html

Anonymous said...

From 2 years ago:

School budget committee: ‘We can’t continue business as usual’
by Andy Phelan
andy@dekalbchamp.com

The inside joke that the DeKalb County School System is better known as “The Friends
& Family Plan” was on full display at a budget committee meeting July 10 discussing the superintendent’s downsizing plan.
For years, the system has been “very generous” with salaries and jobs, some of which have gone to relatives of board members or upper management.
Now strapped by fewer state dollars due in part to lower enrollment, the system is trying to
rein in spending.
But a proposal by Superintendent Crawford Lewis to
make the necessary cuts – mostly to staff in public relations, plant services, transportation and the central office – is asking for the
board to spend nearly $800,000 with a private fi rm to do it.
The board will decide July 18 whether to move forward with the first stage – a performance
audit.
“The philosophy has always been if we have very tough decisions to be made, we have other
people go out and make them for us,” said board member Jim Redovian.
“We have to make them on our own,” he said. “That’s what we’re paying staff to do. Put the friends and family aside, and make the tough decisions.”
Budget committee chair Bebe Joyner said she likes irony in short stories, not the school’s budget.
“My biggest concern when we started talking about downsizing is that we’d spend nearly $1 million to do it,” she said. “If you look up the definition of bureaucracy, that would be it.”
Part of the problem is that Lewis is recommending a management audit to the tune of $400,000, and an attached compensation and job classifi cation
study – that helps determine if there is too much job duplication – for another $300,000 to help
the system downsize.
But the system spent $300,000 for a compensation and classification study less than five years ago.
Some board members said the money was spent but the study sat on the shelf “gathering dust.”
“I’m having a hard time understanding why that’s part of what we’re doing,” said Joyner of
the compensation study. “I have real concerns about the rationale for doing another study to downsize.
We have the talent in house to get the job done. I think we can do this without spending a $1
million.”
Board member Jay Cunningham, a businessman, said the system needs to change “the whole
way we do business.”
“I’m looking at the money we’re being asked to OK–
$775,000,” he said. “But what’s our long-term plan to make sure the money is spent wisely. Times
are changing. It’s not just about now. We need a 15-to-20 year plan.”

Anonymous said...

North/south....
Black/white..

Still leaving out the immigrant (brown?) middle.

These kids have little voice in general (Thank you "Mr. Kim " for trying to help with this.

Anonymous said...

This is what the distinguised state senator/DCSS Internal Affairs Director Ron Tamsey said about Dunwoody:

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Sen. Ronald Ramsey said, “I serve notice on the citizens of Dunwoody and businesses in the PCID, the consequences [of incorporation] will be dire, will be green. We will have an economic boycott against all the Dunwoody business community."

Anonymous said...

Amen, Anon 5:03!!! The Brown population is ignored by the Board and DCSS Central Administration...
caught in the middle of prejudice, ignorance, and politics.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:05 it's clear you want to stir it up. Dunwoody residents have been called so many names and have been diss'ed for years. Now this stuff just flows off their backs and into the gutter where it belongs.

Sure they could choose to spit back, but instead they choose to focus their energies on what's really important -- their kids. If you (and others) would do the same instead of trying to pick fights you'd see that the rewards of providing for the children far outweigh the rewards of a spittin' match.

C?Y!

Cerebration said...

I happen to agree with 5:05. I have long wondered how Ron Ramsey can make such disparaging remarks and threaten a DeKalb community as he did Dunwoody on the floor of the Capitol as a state rep-and then turn around and expect us all to consider him fair in administering "internal affairs" for DeKalb Co Schools. How can we possibly think he will be fair to Dunwoody schools when he has such deep anger at Dunwoody as a community? He should not be in charge of systemwide internal affairs when he is so blatantly prejudiced against one of the system's largest communities.

Anonymous said...

Based on the capacity/enrollment numbers in this post, I don't see anywhere near the 11,000 empty seats that Tom Bowen and Ramona Tyson have been feeding us. WTH did they come up with 11,000 empty seats? Are they counting closed buildings?

Teaching in Dekalb for God Only Knows How Much Longer said...

"There are good kids and bad kids everywhere. Believe me I would rather take attitude and being cussed out daily rather than being snubbed by snobby kids."


To anon @ 7:17 am , May 12

....Are you Crazy ???

You really prefer being verbally assaulted vs. being ignored? This is madness. I must teach at the same school you do, beacause I also get the attitudes and cussing out daily. However, I ,for one, find it unnerving that you find such behavior preferable when compared to "being snubbed"

What is wrong with you ???????????

Cerebration said...

Anon 5:26 AM - I don't really know where the 11,000 comes from. I do know that they were counting the closed Jim Cherry Center, and Hooper and Heritage schools
(see this post on Tyson's speech to ELPC)

I agree - I just don't see these "empty seats" overall-at least not in elementary. Yes, there are some schools that are seriously under-enrolled, but I really think they should look at re-districting to balance - not so many closings. They're now saying they will close 12 schools - that's frightening.

The data in this post is ONLY for elementary schools. I have a feeling that a whole bunch of these empty seats are in our high schools. Check out this post to see just how many "empty" seats are available in high school.

SPLOST 3 projects vs enrollments, capacity and racial make up at DeKalb High Schools

Should we close elementary schools because high schools are under-enrolled? Should we still be considering additions to MLK and Miller Grove or should we simply re-district the overflow into Arabia - which has plenty of seats.

I wonder if the board might not be digging deeply enough or asking good questions.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Here is what I did. I took the March 2010 FTE report from the State and came up with these enrollment figures for the schools that Cere identified as "North" schools:

Hispanic 5,616
Black 2,788
American Indian 60
2 or more Races 328
Pacific Islander 20
Asian 1,197
White 4,603

As you can see, the schools in the "North" end of the county are extremely diverse and by no means "white".

http://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_ethnicsex.display_proc

Cerebration said...

Exactly DM! Interesting. Of the 2,788 black students attending elementary schools in the north, I would bet that a majority of them actually live up here near their school. So - not that many are commuting cross-county - I still say the empty seats in neighborhood schools are a result of the magnet/theme/charters that are popping up all over south DeKalb.

If Sarah, Zepora or Jay was my rep, I would be furious at them for wasting so much energy on this "north/south" non-issue, while virtually ignoring the 18,267 elementary students who attend the actual schools in their districts.

These three voted NO to saving parapros!! They also voted YES to leaving the furlough days for teachers at the highest number! Instead, they wanted to save all cross-county transportation - and raise your taxes to pay for it!

Dekalbparent said...

Using the School Enrollment & Capacity document published by DCSS

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/files/3C2693EF19394406A9FD5B7BC04CE6B3.pdf

The number of Middle School empty seats for 2009-10 school year is 4204, and the number of High School empty seats is either 3077 or 3477 depending if you assume the capacity of Arabia Mountain is 1600 or 2100.

Caveats: these numbers do not subtract out the seats in over-enrolled schools. These numbers are:

MS - 3957
HS - 2143 or 2543 (depending on Arabia Mountain)

It also uses figures from the year we are just finishing, which is what I assume they refer to when the say "We currently have xxxx empty seats." The 2016-2017 demographer's projections might tell a different story, but they are projections, not actual numbers (assuming the 2009-10 numbers are more or less accurate).

Cerebration said...

Thanks, DeKalb Parent - you are the best researcher and always bring us the most relevant facts!

My takeaway from all of this info is - this school system is so large and unwieldy that they do not really know how many students, buildings or empty seats they really have! They can't possibly make reasonably intelligent decisions, because their data is never consistent. They are on the verge of closing 12 schools yet the data they are using to make this decision is not reliable or thorough. For example, are schools like Destiny Academy (with less than 100 students) included in this calculation of empty seats? How about the Early College (also only about 100-200)? How about Coralwood? This school could accommodate several hundred, but as a special education program has less than 100 - are those extra seats counted as "empty" by the state? If so, can we not merge some regular students in this building? What about schools like Wadsworth magnet - with only 166 students, that building has several hundred "empty" seats. Are we going to have to consolidate regular schools in order to accommodate Wadsworth's magnet program? Is that fair?

How about DOLA, the online academy? Why are we still funding that when students can just as easily use the state's virtual academy? Do we really need to provide something redundant?

This is really a system out of control and cutting it into smaller systems could be the only answer to getting things back on the rails.

Anonymous said...

Once class size goes up to 36 or 38 etc. the capacity will increase and there will then be even more empty seats (just saying....).

Roger Matic said...

We need to hire competent adminstrators on both ends of the county. We have teachers who donot teach but are protected by adminstrators who are friends of these teachers, or shall I say, wear the same frat or sorority colors, or attend the same megachurch so no action is taken. We have administrators who take pride in being a college student and teachers model this college behavior because we belong on the same team: Deltas or AKA's. So, we donot teach on the south end. Because, we know, we will be promoted to an Assistant Principal soon. Or, shall I say in the county office? Does this take place on the North end of the county? I bet not.

Anonymous said...

Roger,
It isn't north vs central vs south.
It is south vs south. It is within our own boundaries, communities,
and some of our hearts.
I think teaching on the
south end is hindered by the lack
of commitment from the families.
The children and parents act
alike, lacking self control.
Remember the movie, "Lean on Me",
well someone needs to "Lean on
South Dekalb."
The south area schools are broken by the inability to remove certain students from the classroom. Your A,B,and C students are losing knowledge to problem conduct students.
Just visit a few of these violent
high and middle schools in Lithonia. You will be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I will do it. I will let out the unspoken secret. In the spirit of the criticized but truthful, Dr. William Cosby and others and hopefully bring true understanding of this debate on, "Why they don't go back to their own schools?" Is it the quality of education from educators? No, it isn't. I can tell you as an educator there are excellent educators in the North as well as the South (and equally crappy ones I am sure) Is it administrators? No, while good leadership can have an impact, I assure you this is not the root of this problem.
This situation as one blogger says is a social problem, not a school problem. You see it all starts with a word called "gentrification." This process in which housing projects and inner-city slums have been turned into beautiful, hip condominiums for, dare I say it, ok I will "Yuppies" because they see what the city has to offer and frankly are tired of traveling miles away from their jobs. So, what happens to these individuals who once lived in the crime-filled slums. Wait a minute, before I go on, I must tell you that I am an African-American, middle class valued, educated parent with intelligent, high-achieving children because of the time and value I put on their education. Now , as I was saying, these individuals across the country while gentrification has been going on have for some reason been moved into areas of middle class to upper middle-class neighborhoods populated by largely African-Americans through programs like section-8. Now, don't get me wrong, sweeping generalizations can never be made about any group of people and I am sure some people have used the opportunity to improve their lifestyles but you may think that people can be lumped into one group because of their race but their is a bigger issue going on, it is a value and class issue. I have watched South Dekalb fall victim to this invasion of loitering, gangs and frankly trifling behavior due to gentrification and then it is comnpounded upon with Foreclosures. Now, while African American middle class homewowners are staying and fighting (believe me some of the Neighborhod Watches and clean-up efforts amongst the middle to upper middle class in South Dekalb could rival any group in the country with their extraordinary efforts) They are not willing to sacrifice their children. Like a fierce mother bear, they will seek any means necessary to not send their kids with thugs and people with trifling mentalies to school. Here's another little secret. African American middle class with good value systems can be the most pedjudiced in the world against people who do not and live in unacceptable ways and let me be clear that trifling behavior is not limited to one race. I once lived in a mixed middle-class neighborhood in which people moved next door who formerly lived in a low-income environment that involved a trailer park and they had come into some inheritance. They parked on their lawns. Had loud paries and strange happenings that involved police and they were Caucasian and I couldn't wait till they were gone.But think about it, do the kids that typically transfer look like thugs are come from ignorant parents or overcrowd these magnet schools seem to have poor value systems . No, they don't. Because typically any parent willing to go through the trouble or make any extra effort to ensure that their child has the right surroundings are going to have their values in order. So instead of saying go back where you came from? Ask yourself, what if this happened to my neighborhood how much would I sacrifice as a stuck homeowner and would I sacrifice my kids? I hope this helps those of you who truly seek understanding, give us a break

South Dekalb Residents said...

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Cerebration said...

Love your blog, South DeKalb Resident - thanks for sharing. I'll add you to our list of links... Keep on bloggin'...