As the Fernbank, Druid Hills and Lakeside crowds were organizing their own community ad hocs designed to fight the redistricting plans for DCSS, Dunwoody remained relatively quiet. Now, they have come to the table with a petition of their own (a petition I would say that even Dunwoody residents probably do not agree upon completely). All of this powerful resistance to redistricting plans tells us one thing: Communities have absolutely no faith or trust in our school system leadership and will not blindly follow any recommendation they attempt to put forth.
The school system has held some very sacred cards close to their chest in this game. One, Arabia is completely off the table. Not even discussed. Not even offered up to relieve over-crowding in that area—even though that is the stated reason the school was originally built. (Read our report on it here.) Two, the school communities currently resisting redistricting are convinced that their schools are over-crowded largely due to the enormous numbers of transfers—legal ones like AYP and special ones like Administrative Letters. It is patently unfair to deem a school "over-crowded" when the crowding may be due to outsiders, and then make neighborhood children attend school elsewhere. Ramona Tyson quietly removed the board policy that was up for change on this subject at the last meeting—Why? Three, there are too many issues tangled up in this plan to make it workable. For instance, the magnet programs need to be addressed and attended to as a subject all their own—not simply part of this plan. And really, what good does it do to redistrict students into failing schools? It won't stick, as these students will now qualify for AYP transfers. And last, there was an audit conducted in 2004 by Ernst & Young that showed DCSS was spending an estimated $15 million annually on inflated salaries in administration. That report was mysteriously buried and no new report was ever ordered. Interestingly, from our estimates, this entire painful redistricting plan will not save the system as much as implementing the salary audit recommendations. What a tangled mess!
AT any rate, check out the petition by clicking here.
Target: DeKalb County, Georgia School Board & Superintendent
Web site: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/redistricting
This is a petition to inform the DeKalb County School System where Dunwoody stands on the Redistricting and Consolidation Plan, that will take effect August 2011. DeKalb County has made two preliminary redistricting proposals that affect Dunwoody schools.
The Superintendent is accepting public input and will make her final recommendation on redistricting to the School Board on January 31, 2011. Please sign the petition to show your support.
PETITION FOR DUNWOODY COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
1. We do not support the County’s Decentralized Plan as is.
2. The County Decentralized Plan has the following problems:
•Dunwoody Elementary School (DES) cannot accommodate 1,132 students. The cafeteria and gym are comparable in size to Vanderlyn’s. Children will be moved from modular classrooms at Vanderlyn to trailers at DES.
•There is no access to Austin or Vanderlyn for students who live in rental complexes.
•The percentage of renters at DES would be over 60% compared with 0% at Vanderlyn and 0% at Austin.
3. We believe the 4/5 school is an excellent educational model, and one of several plausible solutions. We believe the 4th and 5th graders from Kingsley should attend DES.
4. We believe that limiting access to Vanderlyn and Austin to only homeowners is not acceptable.
5. We believe Dunwoody homeowners should be able to send their children to Dunwoody schools.
6. Modular classrooms are a better learning environment than trailers.
7. The location of the magnet program should not influence fair drawing of school lines in Dunwoody.
8. We believe it is irresponsible to decide to keep magnets where they are before knowing whether it is more cost effective for the County to centralize them.