According to the AJC,
Parents make one last plea against redistricting
On Tuesday night, Thanes and 61 other parents went before the school board to ask for a change to the plan, which is up for a vote next week. The proposal will close eight schools and move 9,000 students -- about 9 percent of the district's total enrollment. The district said the changes are necessary and will free up about $12.4 million each year. . . .
Tuesday night's hearing drew a near capacity crowd with more than 100 parents and students attending. Each speaker had 90 seconds to address the board. Chairman Tom Bowen said the district will review the concerns presented by the public to make sure no major areas were overlooked.
"We're going to continue the process," Bowen said. "The district is going to pay attention to redistricting a lot closer so that we have smaller more frequent changes as opposed to larger changes." . . .
Public hearings are the final phase of the redistricting process. Another hearing will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the district's headquarters, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain. The board is scheduled to vote on the plan on Monday night.
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This mid-DeKalb resident has to reluctantly agree with some of the folks last night that the affluent communities sure seem to have gotten what they wanted and the rest of us are left to pick up the pieces - whether that means our neighborhood schools close or our kids move from one non-closing school to another. Sure am tired of having my kid viewed as a piece to be moved around on a gameboard to cover for budget shortfalls. Where's the willingness to address a bloated "middle management" structure? Where's the 2020 Vision that might give us the bigger picture? DeKalb - you could be so much better than this!
I like how some parents are happy with the school boards proposal... could it be because they get redistrited into the High school of their choice i.e. Lakeside??? Or maybe it's because in their minds they will no longer have to worry about their elementary school becoming a title 1 school (that would lower property values!!!), since they went to the board and asked for all the single family homes that were going to get redistricted out to stay and instead redistrict most of the apartments. Now there are apartments that will be going to Briar Vista which has a 20 point lower educational adequecy level than Sagamore and those apartments are closer than the single family homes that get to stay in the district. Or maybe it's because they just sent the reason why the school didn't make AYP last year to Briar Vista? This absolutely disgusts me. Parents need to support all of the kids in Dekalb and not just their own agenda.
Some good news from Chamblee Charter HS!
The people that spoke from Lakeside were unnecessary and frankly rubbing salt in the wounds of those who are unhappy.
I have heard from a credible source that Briar Vista is exploring the option of suing to keep the apartments out of that school's district.
You said it. I was amazed again just yesterday to hear 2 Leafmore parents rejoicing that their kids could escape the evil Druid Hills High School and that they expected their property values to go through the roof now that they were in the Lakeside district. Amazed even more that they said this to me, as I am a Druid Hills parent. This process has really brought out the worst in people and many friendships have been destroyed.
I am so glad my last child is graduating this year. I have always had a global approach to DCSS and have friends throughout the county. Serving on the DeKalb PTA Council gave me a view that few get.....I think that's why I'm disgusted with this whole process.
And also why I'm convinced, more than ever, that large school systems do not work, especially one as dysfunctional as DeKalb.
The people in power have created an environment in which neighborhoods are pitted against each other. Ridiculous, and not al all in the best interest of the children of DeKalb County!
" ....could escape the evil Druid Hills High School and that they expected their property values to go through the roof now that they were in the Lakeside district."
Property values increase, property assessment increases, more taxes paid to both the inefficient and corrupt County government and school system.
County CEO gave out $1.3 million in raises to his buds.
As has previously been said - if all the DCSS schools were even close to being equal in their offerings, teachers, and their administrators then this would be a non-issue. People wouldn't even blink going from one school to the next, but as we all know they are as different as night and day.
Keep your focus on the big issues, redistricting is an exercise to get folks to forget the nepotism, corruption, bloated salaries, and thefts are a big part of this system. The LHS parents have straight up worked their deal by saying we'll support the next SPLOST vote if you'll leave us w/ minimal changes and put Henderson at the top of the next SPLOST list.
"I have heard from a credible source that Briar Vista is exploring the option of suing to keep the apartments out of that school's district."
Briar Vista has a large number of single family homes in their attendance zone. Its just that the owners of those homes choose to not send their children to Briar Vista but to private schools instead.
Briar Vista has the largest percentage of their attendance zone attending private school of any elementary school in the district.
Off topic, but here is the just released raises for county employees:
Anon 1:41 PM
That is a bit misleading. Within the Briar Vista attendance zone is a large Orthodox Jewish Community. It would not matter if the public school was the very best in the country, these families would not opt in. In addition, without stereotyping, these families often have many
As a Jew, I can tell you with great confidence that their decision is not about Briar Vista but about their religion and value system.
"The LHS parents have straight up worked their deal by saying we'll support the next SPLOST vote if you'll leave us w/ minimal changes and put Henderson at the top of the next SPLOST list."
So, in terms of Henderson on SPLOST IV, would the parents be satisfied with just a renovation or would they want a brand, new middle school? Or better yet, would they want to build it at a new location, like Sam A. Moss or Coralwood, so that the Sagamore Hill children won't have to travel as far to middle school?
Lakeside parents, please stay home Thursday night. We do not need to hear again and again how pleased you are with the plan. You have send these messages already to the BOE and DCSS administration. No need to say it in a public meeting in front of parents who are faced with changing schools.
I wonder if Lakeside area parents really want a middle school that can hold 1500+ kids. I realize that is about how many they have now, but really perhaps redistricting would have been a better answer.
Middle school is a horrible thing. The schools were much better when it went directly from elementary to high school (1-7 and 8-12). That said, there were 2000 kids in my high school which started in 8th grade so I have no issue with a 1500 student middle school. The 900 student elementary schools are a bigger issue for me.
I'm sure the Lakeside parents feel the need to continue to advocate because these lines could change again. Happy or not with the redistricting decisions, I do not blame them for continuing to show up. It's not over 'til it's over.
I hate to say this but...if the parents of these south dekalb schools would get off their butts and work to improve their children's educational experience (this means, checking homework, feeding them regularly, making them go to bed,etc)volunteer in their school get to know the other parents and work together, there might be some hope.
I have said over and over, there is way too much apathy on the part of parents in these areas. They have a I'm gonna get mine mentality and that's it. They don't do for each other for the common good of the school district. It is not the fault of other school district parents that we organized, got our community involved in these issues. It is YOUR FAULT IF YOU DIDN'T.
An "I'm gonna get mine mentality" mentality that 'those people' have may just have come about in response to your "I've got mine" mentality.
What makes you think that just because people don't have the resources to influence board members that they don't care about their kids?
There's a reasonable argument to be made that shifting population patterns, a historical look at where schools were closed during the last redistricting, and other tangible factors do justify closing more schools south of Memorial than north, but trotting out the old "shiftless" slur has no place here or anywhere.
I don't have resources to INFLUENCE board members, what I have is a calm rational voice and feet to walk around to get my area involved. I haven't got mine. I don't live in a big house, I have 2 very old cars. We don't even own a flat screen tv. What I do have is a kid who knows her parents are involved, interested and willing to make a stand for the greater good of our community.
I don't have any idea what you are referring to when you say "shiftless slur". I just know the parents at some schools seek to make their kids THE most important part of their lives. They are simply more involved in many ways and this involvement pays off. It is a fact.
I think you mean greater good of "MY" (i.e., YOUR) community. At the expense of, you know, those people in South DeKalb who care more about their flat screen TVs than their kids.
The funny thing is, I do agree that it was schools in the south end that needed to be closed this time around. I just think maybe you should drive one of your old cars (my own are 9 and 15 BTW) down to Lithonia, or even, perish the thought, only as far as the refugee apartments in Clarkston, some time to see how many people there value thier kids just as much as you do.
Anon. 9:33. You need to check your facts. Sagamore Hills kept plenty of apartments in their attendance area. At no time did anyone from Sagamore Hills ask that apartments be moved to Briar Vista. You must have them confused with Henderson Mill.
And, to all of you who think Lakeside is gloating, do you put it past this Board to make changes up to and including on Monday night? Wouldn't you want them to know you supported the plan as it currently stands?
And, finally, who said anything about passing SPLOST IV?
Sounds like a bunch of sour grapes to me. You guys need to get off your duffs and suggest changes to DCSS or the Board and quit criticizing those who have worked their duffs off trying to make a difference.
Now, I feel better - even if I am slimy enough to post this as anonymous.
A speaker from Lakeside spoke and said Lakeside would support SPLOST IV if Henderson (middle or Mill, not sure?) was on the top of the list for an expansion.
I heard that Lakeside speaker and I believe she said something about the area likely supporting it if Henderson Mill or Middle - not sure either - was a priority on the list. She can't speak for the area. She does not know that you or I (if we lived in that area) would support it.
We have seen that DCSS administration puts schools on a priority list until SPLOST is passed and then the list is changed.
The Leafmore community in Lakeside has already sent out an email blast encouraging support for SPLOST IV if Henderson Middle gets put at the top. Wonder if it was a "tit for tat" agreement with the administration and BOE: you redistrict us favorably, we will push for another SPLOST in the northern part of the county?
That is absolutely what this was all about...
What do you care anyway? So they will vote and/or support the SPLOST IV if Henderson Middle is on the top of the list. So What? Have you taken a look at that school lately? Want to compare it to say, Avondale Middle or one of the other middle schools in other parts of the county that have been renovated and then tell me it is wrong for these parents to push for the school to be updated?
What about the unspent $40 million leftover from SPLOST 2? Why can't that go to Henderson MS? Has that money been committed? It should be used to benefit the school with the most children to impact.
@5:01 PM To get a flat screen TV, sign up for food stamps, sell them at 50 cents per dollar (just ask around in So DK), and use the cash to buy the TV. That's the American way.
Anon - 6:51
Only 3 of the 12 apartment complexes stayed in Sagamore district, even though most of them are closer to Sagamore than the single family homes.
I know for a FACT that some Sagamore parents only fought for single family homes to stay in their district. I also know that they fought to have all of the kids redistricted into to Lakeside. I also know for a FACT that there was serious concern about Sagamore becoming a Title 1 school because their propety values would go down and that they associated it with Apartment kids being the ones that would be on free and reduced lunch. I know for a FACT that these parents also went to the principal to find out if they could get the #'s of kids in these apartments who are on free and reduced lunch. I also know for a FACT that these parents left out the parents of kids in apartments for their plans on getting petitions signed and collaborating with Lakeside parents on a new plan to take to the school board.
As I was saying the parents should have fought for all of their kids to stay in the district.
Anon 9:28 is 100% correct. I've heard it firsthand from Sagamorians.
Anon. 9:28: You seem to have a lot of facts. How is that possible? How do you know what the intentions of the parents were who worked on it? Want to tell me which apartment complexes are closer than single family homes? You have incorrect information - might want to check it out better. I know for a FACT that there are more than 3 apartment complexes left in the Sagamore district.
I am really interested in where you got your so-called "facts".
And those "Sagamorians" would be in the know? I have a real hard time believing that they would admit something so dastardly to you.
And what about the downright nasty emails and calls from Sagamorians to some Druid Hills High and Middle School parents? Downright ugly.
I usually do not post on this board but find it interesting to read what is being posted. Tonight, I have to post because I want to say that those who are pointing fingers at Sagamore Hills parents do not have correct information. At no time were apartments specifically targeted to be removed from our attendance area because they are apartments. It became clear that the county needed students to keep Briar Vista at capacity. Based on Briar Vista's location, those kids were going to come from either Fernbank or Sagamore Hills. As you all probably know, Fernbank was not going to give any of their kids up without a fight. It was pretty clear at that point that Sagamore was going to take the hit - who can fight Fernbank? The areas that were eventually redistricted to Briar Vista (for the most part) made more sense geographically than taking a chunk out of the middle of a neighborhood.
I know the people who worked on the alternative plan. I also know that at no time did they go to the principal and ask for any data on free and reduced lunch. Maybe someone else did. Maybe someone at your school did the same thing - you can't assume that one person requesting information is doing it for the whole.
I really wish this board could be more constructive than finger pointing at others and making snide comments about what another group may or may not have done.
If we could all come together and work for the benefit of all our children, wouldn't they be better off?
Please, please pull together for the good of our children.
I would post this under my name rather than anonymous but I am really wary of some of the people who are posting on here - they seem rather hostile.
Perhaps those who received nasty emails, etc were the same ones who were handing out nasty anonymous flyers at county meetings?? Would that have been you, maybe?
Wow, you sure have a lot of FACTs (sic) that are absolutely not true. I was at all the Sagamore and SCORe community meetings, the feedback and BOE meetings, and was involved with the discussions of smaller subcommittees who developed the SCORe plan, and I can tell you 100% that at no point did anyone advocate for all of Sagamore going to Lakeside. It seemed impossible, unrealistic, and too much to hope for, given that it makes complete sense from a geographic and traffic standpoint. The SCORe folks were just as surprised and shocked as anyone about the changes in the Superintendent plan compared to the original proposals. There was a lot of discussion for several weeks after the first consultant proposals were made public in january about whether to even advocate for changing the boundary to Clairmont and N. Druid hills or leaving the powerline/Alderbrook Rd. boundary for the split between Lakeside and Druid Hills. The discussion was about boundary lines, NOT about cutting out apartments. The reality is that losing single family homes would change the proportion of families on free and reduced lunch at Sagamore, which is the way that Title 1 is calculated. But, the focus was on trying to minimize loss of Sagamore students to BriarVista since it was clear that the county was determined to take students to BriarVista no matter what, and to propose alternatives that were geographically more logical. The bigger issue for most people was the consultants proposal to end the split feeder so that the 50% of Sagamore homes close to Lakeside would no longer go to their neighborhood school, but instead go to one further away in miles and vastly further in time/traffic. Most of the apartments are not closer to Sagamore than Beacon Hill, Mt. Brian, Berkeley, Bristol, Belle Isle streets which have small single family homes. Exactly which apartment complexes do you think are staying and which are going? And finally, there was never an attempt to withhold information from apartment families. Information about redistricting was distributed by School Council. Neighborhood meetings were advertised and email groups dedicated to the redistricting discussion were advertised. How could that have left out apartment families? I got an email in response to the one i'd sent to our BOE rep, as did many other people, in which he clearly stated that "Status Quo is not an option". We knew that Sagamore would have to change somehow since we are on the border of Druid Hills feeder. It's the same as the Evansdale folks who knew that they would have to change somehow because of the pressure from the overcrowding of their adjacant and overcrowded neighbor, Pleasantdale. I'm sorry that you weren't well informed during the process. But there was no way that Sagamore could have ever have won a fight to keep every student, regardless of housing type; natural geographical/road boundaries and distance considerations were the only rational way to offer alternatives.
my god, i'm just about ready to move to another county just to get away from the bitchy, whiny parents.
we're one of the few sagamore/shamrock/druid hils parents and the only thing we've personally asked for, in all this, was for consistency in the feeding pattern (ie, whole schools transferring, not splitting them at m.s.). my kid actually loves shamrock, i'm more impressed with the curricula and tend to be less thrilled with the idea he's going to be transferring yet again next year. not everyone in sagamore is in love with lakeside - i'd be perfectly happy to stay on the current path.
the larger point is this: no school, no area, no whatever is that monolithic in their thinking. there's going to be people who love the plan because it goes 'their way', some who hate it for the opposite reason, and many more who simply won't care. in the end, the districting is only one issue - there are so many larger issues to solve when it comes to creating a better place for all our kids to learn in. eyes on the big picture...
You tell 'em, Anon.10:09.
Amen. Lakeside aint that great. DHHS is actually pretty good. HMS is stuffed to the core. That being said, some poor Sagamore/Leafmore folks have been actively lobbying and campaigning to be a part of "good ole Lakeside" for 10 or 15 years now -- they even went and got at lease 2 board members elected solely on that promise and spent untold hours trying to pin down other candidates for school board on their position on the issue -- so they have every right to thank folks and to encourage the BOE to give them their prized Lakeside zoning and then they get to actually live with it... for better or worse.
You don't know what you're talking about.
No one has a problem with DHHS - it is further away and in an already over-crowded transportation corridor. And, Shamrock is not all that empty compared to Henderson "stuffed to the gills". Gonna sit in trailers wherever you go.
I find it hard to believe that Sagamore folks can elect at "lease" 2 board members all on their own - not going to happen. Besides, I don't see those 2 (whoever they are) rushing to help Sagamore out.
To Anon @5:11. Why should I have to drive to Clarkston, it's not that far from me at all, practically in "MY" backyard.
Is giving to charities and helping improve my school not good enough for you. The apathy I speak of has been discussed on this blog MANY TIMES. I don't disbelieve that there are caring parents in the soup but overwhelmingly their are not.
It is caring parents in schools who are working on the school conditions and work tirelessly to improve them. And, when I say care, I don't mean love. I mean having enough common sense to know certain things and being responsible for the children you do have.
It's not about love, you want love, get a puppy. But please train it, license it, immunize it, leash it and spay/neuter it.
And by the way, why do you take exception to words like "my" "some" "those" and "others". People have no problem using these generalities. At least not from what I repeatedly overheard at Tuesday's meeting. As the two women I sat in front of talked trash about the content of others speeches for the entire meeting.
"Patch" has a great post with minute by minute reporting on the public comments from the Monday evening meeting --
Live Blogging Coverage from the DeKalb School Board Public Hearing
They have posted the video of the hearing on Tuesday at DeKalb's redistricting page. The first video labeled "Intro & Presentation" also has some of the speakers on it, while the rest of the speakers are on the video labeled "Speakers". They have also made a pdf file for the comment sheet people filled out.
I live in Sagemore and have a kid a Lakeside. (A side note: I only got to vote on the school board rep that represents DHHS, not Lakeside. So I ultimately have no vote on school board for my child. Not sure how I would have influenced 2)
I can assure you that no one in our neighborhood asked for kids to be removed from Sagamore. We just wanted the ones back that had been taken away - which I think was the attitude of every school.
I do not think DHHS is evil - I think the traffic to get there is. If peopls's housing values are going to go up it is because they will now be going to school closer to their houses and with their elementary school peers.
I have never been asked about supporting splost IV for Henderson (although I think that it is the other way around - Henderson is a dump so we are begging for Splost IV).
We do not have to attack parents in other parts of the district. I am sure they are doing the best they can. However, it is clear that the empty schools are clustered in the south part of the county. Fair - absolutely not. Fact - absolutely. However, the blame does not lie with the school system - it more accurately can be blamed on unreputable lenders that resulted in high rates of foreclosures in those areas.
Please stop with the attacks - this used to be an intelligent discussion of important issues. It is now a forum for people to be bitchy.
The traffic issue is an important one. My neighbor works at Emory. It's under 4 miles door to door. It takes her 35 minutes to get there in the morning. Emory is a nightmare. The kids in the Sagamore neighborhood could walk or ride their bikes to Lakeside (green!)...
The geography argument is nonsense. Its ok to drive in heavy traffic several miles PAST Shamrock to get to overcrowded Henderson Mill but not ok to drive the same distance in heavy traffic to DHHS (half the area moved is closer to DHHS, half to Lakeside). Emory is bad, but so is the whole sector of the county. It often takes me 50 minutes to get the 5 miles from the Emory area to Perimeter Mall and the real problems are after I get north of the Emory area.
There may be other good reasons, but the geography argument is not one of them.
The real problem is that in order to give the Sagamore parents what they want, 75-100 students from a middle class area are being pulled out of DHHS, which already has a fragile ethnic/socio-economic mix, and being replaced by Economically disadvantaged students from Avalon (Avalon middle school is 100% economically disadvantaged). DHHS and DHMS will already take in a couple hundred each from the closing of Avalon and that's necessary. Moving another hundred to give Sagamore parents what they want is not necessary and could be the straw that breaks the camel's hump.
Lakeside should be careful what they wish for. They might get it. If DHHS/MS take the Avalon path where noone with a choice views it as a viable alternative, that is very bad for Lakeside, let alone those that get left behind.
I take issue with the way the school system is dealing with overcrowding, like at Henderson. With the MGT plans, we had the opportunity to give some relief to overcrowded schools, but with the superintendent's plan, some overcrowded school get little to no relief or some even receiving more students, as is the case with Henderson. Now are we expected to vote for a SPLOST IV that seeks to be the overwhelming way to deal with overcrowding rather than using the opportunity we have now in redistricting to give a substantive relief to these schools? I think there should be more of a balance of redistricting and adding additional classroom space to deal with overcrowding.
As for the issue with Emory traffic, why should anyone who is closer to others schools, whether they are in walking distance or not, be subject to traveling through that traffic to get to Druid Hills?
Here's a novel way to deal with the traffic issue: put your kid on the school bus! If I had asked my parents to drive me to school (or, God forbid, give me a car), I think they would have been torn between laughing at me and punishing me. And it was a long bus ride, too. You already pay for the bus, you might as well use it!
The school bus is a lovely alternative except for two issues:
1. It does not change the fact that the kids still spend a significant time in traffic.
2. There is not an activity bus. As the parent of a very involved student I would have to drive to DHHS almost daily in rush hour traffic (there is no student parking either.) Many days this would be twice daily - as there are lots of activities before school as well.
There is some traffic to get to Hendersom Middle but it is relatively minor. You are right - a shamrock/Lakeside combination would be best but.... it did not work out that way and is not an option. HOwever the total milage/driving time saved to go to Shamrock rather than Henderson is much less than what we would add by going to DHHS over Lakeside.
Whether we like it or not, it is silly to avoid split feeders. All over the country, students go to schools where the feeder pattern varies and the students do fine. I
Fernbank fought to keep all of their kids and succeded (except for 4 kids will transfer to Briar Vista) Fernbank is overcrowded by 119 students, Sagamore is overcrowded by 90. Seems to me if the BOE let Fernbank keep their kids they should let Sagamore keep theirs too.
SACS has decreed-no closings no redistricting no accreditation
Anon 2:12 is right. The insistence on having no split feeders creates unworkable districts. Unless middle and high schools are built adjacent to one another (or nearly so, as in Tucker), insisting that everyone stay in the same feeder pattern makes for some really dumb boundaries and traffic patterns.
We can't have no-split feeders and a mentality that you send kids to the school closest to them. Someone needs to make a choice on which is better (and it appears that this differs based on community). Sagamore fought hard for a long time for no split feeder pattern but then threw a fit when the no split resulted in their students going to NDHS. I don't really care which school you want, you just have to be consistent in what is more important -- do we use geography (miles to school), natural boundries, keep kids together etc. Choose which is most important and advocste for it, but don't advocate for options that are mutually exclusive -- it does nothing but unnecessarily muddy the waters as no school can have everything they want.
Sagamore did not propose sending all their students to Lakeside. That was a change made by the Interim Superintendent. The Sagamore group has asked to be a single feeder for years. During the redistricting, they let that go and asked just to go to the closest school.
To those who are saying you can't not have split feeders, I beg to differ. Send your child to one of them and see what happens.
DCCS has schools built without split feeders in mind. Many of the middle schools are former high schools. As long as they insist on avoiding split feeders they are going to have a mess, especially at the middle school level. In many cases, they really have to gerrymander the HS districts to fit the middle school in (just look at the redistricting map).
Other than sports teams, I really don't see that many advantages for avoiding split feeders.
The people who were advocating for no split feeder for Sagamore were actually advocating to come to Lakeside for the same reasons we were in this redistricting - it is closer to their house. Those of us at Lakeside were ok with the status quo, although are very happy to welcome our neighbors to Lakeside. However, we would have preferred a split feeder over sending current Lakeside bound students to DHHS.
So you cannot say we wanted it both ways - not everyone was in the same starting place.
"Now there are apartments that will be going to Briar Vista which has a 20 point lower educational adequecy level than Sagamore and those apartments are closer than the single family homes that get to stay in the district. Or maybe it's because they just sent the reason why the school didn't make AYP last year to Briar Vista?"
The apts. happen to be the closest to Briar Vista. I am thinking of at least 5 complexes that remain at Sagamore. And as someone previously pointed out, people in the Briar Vista district choose not to go there. That is why the county is reaching into other communities to find students for this school. Here's an idea: Work on the school! Make people want to go there, and you will not have an issue filling the classrooms with people from your own community. Just because Briar Vista has a 20 point lower educational adequacy level and can't get families in its neighborhood to go there, do you REALLY think that is a good reason to take kids out of their own communities and send them to BV?? Additionally, BV's utilization is below Medlock. I vote for closing BV.
The biggest advantage to not having a split feeder has nothing to do with sports teams. It has to do with relationships of the children and their friends. They go to school for 5 or more years together and then are split at the Middle School. Not to mention the competitiveness that starts to rear its ugly head in the 5th grade over which middle school is better.....
We are supposed to be keeping the children as our focus here - how quickly they are forgotten.
Cobb County has many split feeders. The students there don't just survive, they thrive.
Are our DeKalb Children more frail than the children in Cobb?
Once again, last night, there were people who just couldn't help but to show up and rub salt in the wounds of those who are being redistricted and are concerned and upset.
Shame on the Fernbank and Lakeside parents. Your comments added absolutely nothing, except that you were gloating and boasting and it was very upsetting to those who have worries and concerns.
No our kids are not more frail. Perhaps Cobb County has a better way of doing split feeders? Or maybe they are not thriving as much as you think?
Lakeside and Fernbank parents have to let the Board know that they support the parts of the plan they support. Why is that so awful? They can change the plan up to and including next Monday night and as long as they do not close another school, they do not have to provide this public comment time. So, if it was my area and I was ok with what they had done, you better believe I would be up there thanking them. I know those Lakeside and the Fernbank parents - they are not the type to revel in others' unhappiness.
As the parent of a child who went to a split feeder, my child is doing just fine and while it is hard to thrive in DeKalb County schools, she is doing well. That is not to say that it was not difficult when she was in 5th grade and over half her friends were going to a different middle school. Why put them through that if you don't really have to do it? In this case, I don't think you have to. Have some heart.
Unless we are going to build an entirely new infrastructure, I suspect that we really need split feeders, maybe not right now, but perhaps in the future as population shifts.
Redistricting absolutely cannot be a once every 20 years process. I am curious if in 10 years, Lakeside will be full or have lots of spaces. If families raise their children, will they move or become empty nesters in their homes.
(I realize multi-family housing is the wild card in all this.)
This may not be feasible to many parents - for whatever reason, but I know of a number of high school students that travel outside their district to attend DHHS who are able to participate in after school activities.
Many of these students catch the MARTA train and their parents pick them up from a station near their homes. Of course, that would only be a potential option if there is a MARTA station near your home, or the parent would be okay with their student riding the train, but it does allow students to participate in after school activities even though there is no activity bus. Also, parents may not have to deal with the rush hour traffic (or at least not so often).
fyi - there are a large number of LHS kids riding Marta (some from other counties) for an hour or 2 to get to school. One of the frustrations is that DCSS does a perfectly awful job of enforcing residency (even setting aside that they don't care who is really supposed to be attending the school to begin with for the district -- there are too many kids attending from outside the county and who are not paying tuition.....). I'm really not referring to the AYP kids who are considered "home" kids. LHS and HMS have a "culture" of "don't care" as it relates to enforcing residency. It's costing us losts of money....
Regarding split feeders, given the cliques that build up in middle school, there are advantages to not having the same group of kids all go together. And there are advantages to the mobile population, which is substantial. In my high school there were approximately 20 kids out of the 625 in the graduating class who even attended in the same school district the whole 12 years.
From a social standpoint, I think the better result is split feeders. Studies show that army brats who move all the time and face different environments and people do better than comparative kids. The question on split feeders is whether there are academic advantages from consistency of programs.
I'm actually inclined to agree... the k-12 privates have kids who feel "closed in" by being with the same kids all the way through --and even in our small LHS feeder situation, my kids started in pre-k and went all the way through and by 8th grade, the closest buddies were not from the elementary and by HS graduation, only one friend was from elementary. They grow apart and develop other friends. I, on the other hand, am very good friends, with my elementary & day care "moms" so really, it's better for the adults.....
If split feeders were such a horrible thing, no one would apply to magnet programs or move from public school to private. Every year, hundreds of families choose to pull their children out of their local pattern and send them to Kittredge, and the kids do just fine. Similarly, many parents opt out of their neighborhood school at either middle or high school and opt for a private school. How ever do they survive the trauma? No doubt those students all need years of therapy to repair the damage done by moving out of their neighborhood feeder pattern.
Split feeders really are not so bad. I went to a split feeder middle school in Cobb County and it never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with that. When only a very small percentage of a school's population is affected, however, (say 5 or so kids a year going to a differnt school than all the other kids), the split feeder can be difficult for a young elementary school child. Nuff said. Stop the whining.
Parents May Sue To Stop DeKalb Redistricting
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Some DeKalb County parents have hired a high-powered attorney and tell Channel 2 Action News they plan to sue the school board if part of a redistricting plan is approved Monday night.
Attorney Lee Parks told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik he's representing a large group of Dunwoody parents who are concerned the board will redraw attendance lines to segregate two schools, Vanderlyn and Austin Elementary. And, Parks alleges that DeKalb School Board member Nancy Jester wants it that way.
"When you peel back the curtain, it’s creating two white schools," said Parks. "I think the new board member, Ms. Jester, thinks that’s some sort of political mandate that she got when she was elected.”
A decentralized plan presented by an outside consultant earlier this year removed children living in apartment complexes along Ashford-Dunwoody Road from Vanderlyn and Austin, moving them instead to Dunwoody Elementary School.
Parks and others said that would allow only children living in single-family homes to attend the highly-coveted schools. Last month, interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson tweaked the plan and moved students from one apartment complex back into Vanderlyn. But, Parks said he fears Jester will reverse the lines.
"I think they (the school board) ought to stop, step back, take a deep breath and say 'wait a minute,'" said Parks. "We have a school board member that’s become way too involved for all the wrong reasons in this redistricting process."
Parks said he filed open records requests with the district to see Jester's board-related e-mails. He showed Petchenik one in which Jester asked Tyson to leave one particular neighborhood, The Branches, at Austin Elementary.
The e-mail also told Tyson that Dunwoody parents were "almost universally" behind the decentralized plan. Parks showed Petchenik a petition signed by more than 1,200 parents opposing decentralization and resolutions from several school councils expressing the same sentiment.
“This is a board whose accreditation is hanging by a thread, people are off getting indicted," he said. "Their plate’s full. And if they hear that four out of the five schools impacted are ok with it, it takes the tension level down. Well, no one’s ok with it.”
Petchenik confronted Jester about the allegations. She admitted to reaching out to the interim superintendent, but said all board members were encouraged to give feedback. “I certainly provided input, but that’s not meddling," Jester said.
Jester told Petchenik that she believed the consensus in the community was to support some form of the decentralized plan. She said she never took race, socio-economic status or housing into consideration during the process. She said she's only considering geography and school capacity in making decisions about redistricting.
“I simply want the most efficient use of resources for our school system," she said. "We have got to redistrict and consolidate and it’s not going to be perfect for everybody.”
Jester also denied ever intervening on behalf of friends or supporters in an effort to protect them from the process.
"That's simply not the case," she told Petchenik.
Anon March 4, 9:15
Please don't lump Lakeside and Henderson Middle together. While they have the same feeders, the schools are very different in lots of ways. HMS does not have a "culture" of "don't care" related to residency. Proof of residence is required at registration day. They mail their progress reports so they can follow up with "returned-not at this address" mail and request proof of residence for each one that comes back. Lakeside does not request proof of residence at registration day - they did once several years ago and neighborhood parents complained that the lines were too long.
Anyone else try e-mailing the board of education and getting it returned as "mailbox not available or access denied?"
I went to a middle school with a split feeder years ago - no big deal - met more new friends at high school and kept others that I had made along the way. Now my child has done a split feeder in DCSS - it expanded the circle of friends. When they went their separate ways for high school, they still got together and saw each other at sporting events, music events, academic teams, etc. Some of those "split feeder" friends are closer than the ones that went with her to the high school. They survived the separation just fine.
Parents play a big role in setting that tone - buy into all the negatives and the student will struggle; frame it positively, the child will come around. No, it isn't easy to leave friends but life requires us to do it all the time -high school and college graduations send us to new places with new friends; a family circumstance like a new job or fmaily illness requires a move; we grow old and assisted living becomes necessary, etc. And yet humans survive and thrive.
DCSS schools logistically make non-split feeders difficult. The middle school closest to you may feed into a high school farther away than another high school, same for elementary schools - so do you go to the closest school or stay with the pack? That is the struggle.
Was hoping that Nancy Jester would be a breath of fresh air to the school board. Disheartened, to say the least. This is not good.
Thanks for clearing up why HMS starting mailing progress reports. Seems like an easy way to follow up although there are plenty of people who will just use someone else's address. I am baffled as to why Lakeside doesn't care enough to enforce proof of residency at registration though.
I've certainly found Nancy Jester to be more transparent than Jim Redovian. And she actually looks at the numbers and asks questions. I would say the same for Donna Edler. I can hardly blame her for asking questions about her schools. How come Fernbank Elementary that is overcrowded by 100 students got taken off the redistricting table (only 4 students ended up being redistricted)? Do you think this didn't have anything to do with influence? Who is their BOE rep - I now Walker promised them they wouldn't get redistricted, but he's the "at large" rep. Who is the BOE rep for the Fernbank area? When Ms. Tyson and the BOE let Fernbank bypass the rules that apply for the rest of DCSS, they laid themselves open to questions from the South DeKalb (and Medlock) parents.
Jester -- transparent -- only if you had been her supporter and she was doing what you wanted her to do. Her insistance to leave the magnet programs as is, means that Wadsworth will be open again with less than 250 students.
Every where she talks about the data, but she ignored the fact that her changes to Ms Tyson's plan leaves Vanderlyn at 150 percent capacity.
So far, neither she nor Edler is off to a good start.
Edler clearly isn't prepared. Period.
Edler and Jester actually want data before they make decisions. I find this refreshing. Up to now the BOE has NEVER requested data from the superintendent.
Do you think maybe if they had requested data, Pat Pope might not have made all those costly change orders?
Do you think if the BOE requested data, our Office of School Improvement might not have had spending decisions approved that caused our Title 1 schools to drastically decline in making adequate yearly progress.
Perhaps some BOE questions would have led to hiring an Internal Auditor that would have brought to the BOE the alleged expenditure of students money to fund personal trips for Lewis and his mistress.
Edler and Jester are refusing to "rubber stamp" the superintendent's requests. They are asking questions. That's what they need to do and that's what they were elected to do.
Please remember that Nancy and Donna were sworn in this past January -- they have been on the BOE for less than 3 months or 6 official meetings (or so). They have been surrounded by hostility and threatened by members of the BOE who wanted the incumbents to win and who have their own agendas. They are young and female. Please give them a chance to get their bearings, request what they need and find their "majrities" (you can't get much done without a vote of 5 until the BOE is reduced to 5 or 7 which will then mean a majority will be 3 or 4). Don't be so hard on them so quickly...
So true. Tom Bowen was so busy publicly congratulating Zepora Roberts and Jim Redovian, he was taken by surprise when Edler and Jester won. He can't be happy - especially since he has relatives employed by DCSS. Nor can Walker who has 5 relatives employed by DCSS. They are upsetting many BOE members. Note that every BOE member except Edler and Jester voted for Tyson's raise.
Fernbank's Board Member is Don McChesney.
Regarding Tyson's raise, Jester asked for the vote to be tabled until she could compare CLew's latest contract before voting on Tyson's. She made a logical and innocent request for a longer due diligence period.
It went to a vote and 4 board members approved the amendment to table the vote for 2 weeks. They were Jester, Edler, McChesney and Sarah Copeland Woods.
Imagine that, SCW voting for clarity and due diligence and NOT rushing an important vote regarding the extremely HOT topic of the interim superintendent's $100,000 raise! (Including her new expense accounts.)
I can understand Walker, Cunningham, Dr. Speaks and Bowen to vote for the company super to get a raise, but WOMACK voted against tabling the vote for 2 weeks and forced the vote immediately. Sarah jumped the aisle and approved the raise but WOMACK had the ability to move the vote back and he voted against it! I will NEVER forget that day.
You know what rhymes with WOMACK?
Lame duck board member!
Just call him GOD!
Have a good evening.
Womack will be reelected (if he runs again) because everyone stayed in the Lskeside district.
Tit for tat, my friend.
Jester ignored the data indicating that Vanderlyn will be way over crowded in order to make her supporters happy. Pure politics.
I live near Womack in his district. I don't see any way for him to be re-elected.
To those of you "dissing" Nancy & Donna so soon, please think about the message you send to the "good folk" who might consider challenging one of those "nasty incumbents" in the next election.... It's very tough to win an open seat. It's tougher to win against an incumbent. It costs a lot of money (It cost tens of thousands for Womack to win the district 4 seat). Please don't criticize unfairly.
Fernbank's arguments were simple:
Board policy is to keep neighborhoods together. The consultant's redistricting split a historic neighborhood that had been together in the same school for nearly 100 years.
Board policy is to keep students in a consistent cirriculum. The consultant's proposal would move students from an IB school to a Montessori school which is a DRAMATIC difference.
Board policy to to try to create 900 student schools. The consultant's proposal would reduce Fernbank from 660 to 560.
And Fernbank had 900 students in the same building back in the 90s, so the school believed 660 was very manageable.
When other arguments were made that weren't based on board policy (things like property values), those arguments got a very negative reception. So the board really is pretty safe on its Fernbank decision.
And reality is that if those 100 people got rezoned, maybe just 4 would have shown up in the other school. The rest would have moved or gone to private schools. So the only result would have been to drive students out of the system. It wouldn't have eliminated empty seats. The disturbing part is that the school district and consultants didn't seem to understand that.
"The disturbing part is that the school district and consultants didn't seem to understand that."
You're right. The consultants just presented a plan that assumed all students were equal in importance.
The real problem is that a neighborhood school should not be IB, that should be reserved for schools of choice. Same thing for Montessori.
The systems spends extra for both and therefore every seat should be open to students from across the system.
A neighborhood is your subdivision, not a greater area. That is like arguing that all of Buckhead should go to the same elementary school.
@Marshall, oops I mean anon 9:34:
Is your conscience bothering you? Why bring this up again?
Okay, I'll bite.
Point 1: Importance of keeping neighborhoods together
The consultant's proposal would have reunited parts of the Druid Hills community on either side of Briarcliff Road that had been separated years ago. Briarcliff Road is just as much an artery feeding Druid Hills as LaVista Road is an artery that feeds the communities who instigated the SCORE proposal.
Point 2: Moving IB kids to a Montessori school
Unless Fernbank students had one year or more of recent Montessori experience, they would not have been eligible to enroll in the Montessori program. Instead, they would go into traditional, single-age, textbook, paper and pencil, teacher-driven classrooms. Otherwise they would not have the personal responsibility for learning and time management skills, not to mention experience with the manipulatives, that Montessori students master.
Point 3: Goal of 900-student elementary schools
How about some evaluation of whether 900 students in an elementary school makes sense? There is another thread on this blog where Kim G. raises some pretty cogent questions about the implications of such a policy. So, yes, Fernbank's size may be approaching consistency with the DCSS goal, but I am not convinced that the goal is a sensible one. Matter of opinion, I suppose. Consistency with dubious goals is hardly a convincing argument for your point of view.
Point 4: No point in redistricting Fernbank kids because there are only 4 students whose parents would not rather send their kids to private school rather than have them sit in the same classroom with Briar Vista kids.
Oh, so it is DCSS's role to maintain a school just for the children of well-to-do, close-minded parents? How much would/ should DCSS care if the students are in DCSS or not, as long as the parents pay their taxes? Or is it really more about tacit promises to donate to re-election campaigns? You do remind us, however, of the 15% figure which represents the proportion of Fernbank kids who actually graduate from Druid Hills High School. I'm sure that these kids are not dropping out, so where are they going?
I'm happy to let sleeping dogs lie (emphasis on "lie"), but this kind of arrogance is just too tempting and easy a target if you and the other Fernbank parents keep bringing up the same nonsense. Just be a good sport, and stop trying to justify your ill-gotten gains. The decision was not right. It simply benefited you. Period.
@ anonymous 9:34
"Fernbank's arguments were simple:
Board policy is to keep neighborhoods together....The consultant's redistricting split a historic neighborhood that had been together in the same school for nearly 100 years."
That's simply not true. Willivee is one street from Medlock (walk to Medlock is about 3 minutes). For at least 20 years one side of the street has been zoned to Medlock and the other side of the street has been zoned to Fernbank (20 minute bus ride). Superior, two streets from Medlock, was all zoned to Fernbank. Much of the Medlock area was zoned to Fernbank.
I'm one street from Briarlake Elementary school. For 30 years the street behind my house (5 minute walk to Briarlake) has been zoned to Henderson Mill ES. Same thing with all the streets in my neighborhood - if you're two streets from Briarlake in my neighborhood, you get bused to Henderson Mill ES.
Why would Fernbank parents say something that's not true? Why would the BOE make a decision based on erroneous information? Didn't they do any investigation?
My neighborhood is 50 years old and Medlock is 60 to 70 years old with one pre-Civil war home. Does BOE policy have a 100 year limit?
No wonder the South DeKalb parents are in such an uproar. The "lawsuit" parties may not be as eloquent as the Fernbank Elementary Foundation leaders or have as much clout and money as Fernbank parents, but somehow I thought the "public" in public education meant all students were to be treated equally.
What frustrates me the most about the changes the Board made to Ms. Tyson's plan on Monday night is the message it sends -- scream, kick, complain, hire attorneys, etc and you are likely to get your way.
However, Ms. Tyson encouraged some of the bad behavior my not touching Fernbank and leaving Livsey open.
Lines get drawn.... my house is Briarlake, behind me is Hawthorne and across is Oak Grove. I'm not sure why the Oak Grove hasn't been redrawn into Briarlake, as they can walk to Briarlake and the name is in the street address and I'm sure the zoning was a builder's favor as it doesn't make sense on any other basis. The homes behind me can just as easily walk to Briarlake. Used to be, we were on the other side of the Briarlake district and we had the same situation with Laurel Ridge (bigger differences there since all the schools near me now all feed HMS and LHS whereas Laurel Ridge feeds DHHS and Shamrock so it was a completely different (not necessarily better or worse, just different) pattern all together.
When you live in a District with 95,000 kids and refuse to break it down into "cities" or "townships" like they do in Ohio or NY or NJ - -- lines need to be drawn. The only alternative is to use vouchers (my new favorite idea -- even if they are solely reserved for public schools) so that the funds flow up instead of down or to have "open choice" programs but these seem to have failed everywhere they've been used. The system is cumbersome and the way that residency isn't enforced means that the "neighborhood" "lines" approach, coupled with the vast differences in funding between schools (ranging from $5,000 per child being spent at some schools to $45,000 per child being spent at other schools) in the various public schools throughout DCSS has not worked -- we've generated a system where we have tremendous animosity between the "haves" at the schools that are receiving the funding upwards of $10,000 per child (my guess here -- if you look at the funding at the schools everyone likes to pick on) and the the "have nots" if you look at the other schools and their funding. The funding has to be leveled out.. this is a pubic system funded with tax payer dollars. And, yes, dollars need to be put into the schoolhouse and filter up, not down, and I really think DCSS is manipulating state funds through the conversion of dollars into "points" before the dollars get to the schoolhouse. The "greener" the principal--the less able they are to "follow the point and to maximize on schoolhouse funding" and, voila, more dollars kept in central office or for other "places."
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