Now the Valleybrook Neighborhoods Weigh In -
Neighbors within the communities located inside I-285 along East Ponce De Leon Avenue through Valley Brook Road, to DeKalb Industrial Way thank the DeKalb County Board of Education for taking steps toward optimizing the use of our limited resources. We support the goals that grew from the public charrettes across the county and the online survey.
Both proposals would redistrict our neighborhoods from the Druid Hills MS/HS feeder pattern to the Freedom MS/Clarkston HS feeder pattern, thereby splitting our elementary school, McLendon ES, between the two.
That in itself is contradictory to DCSS’s stated goal of “minimizing split feeder patterns and maintaining intact neighborhoods”. We agree with that goal and want to preserve the vertical alignment of schools that was put into place seven years ago.
Another DCSS stated goal is to “minimize the distance that non-choice students travel to school”. Again, both proposals are inconsistent with this goal, as current distance and travel time to Druid Hills MS from our neighborhood is between 1.5 to 3 miles and between 3 and 8 minutes respectively. Conversely, distance and travel time from our neighborhoods to Freedom MS are between 6 to 8 miles and between 18 and 25 minutes respectively; more than doubling the distance and/or travel time our students would have to endure.
Finally, under a third DCSS stated goal, “Provide students with equitable access to quality programs”, both proposals drastically decrease equity to our children for at least two reasons:
➢ First, they move our children from their current middle and high schools that are not listed as Needs Improvement to middle and high schools that are both in Needs Improvement Year Five (NI-5) or Greater status.
➢ Second, both proposals would move our children out of schools that offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program to schools that do not provide IB.
If we are redistricted according to either plan, we will exercise our Public School Choice option as is our right considering both Freedom MS and Clarkston HS are in NI-5 status, potentially defeating the purpose of redistricting this neighborhood.
We do see common themes in all of these responses:
- Keep neighborhoods together
- Keep feeder systems stable - no split feeders
- Don't move from passing schools to failing schools
- Be mindful of travel times and congestion
Those seem like reasonable requests.