Tuesday, May 11, 2010
North vs Central vs South - what's the deal?
Below are the student numbers for each zone:
North DCSS students:
Living in zone: 13,202
Capacity: 12,393 (2,126 over-capacity)
Central DCSS students:
Living in zone: 9,702
Capacity: 8,798 (446 over-capacity)
South DCSS students:
Living in zone: 21,513
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.