Another new map has been introduced!

To all concerned parents and citizens of our community,

Our legislature is in the process of deciding who represents our children on the DeKalb County School Board for the next 10 years.

There is much confusion over who is going to represent our neighborhood and area. Over the past year we have gone through school redistricting and I am advocating for the attached map because it is the ONLY map that has been drawn with the High School attendance lines as boundaries for the school board.

Latest version of the 7 district map supported by Stephanie Benfield and Mary Margaret Oliver

I would like your support in making this recently revised map the choice for our children for the next 10 years!

Here are the bullet points for this map.

  • 60% of ALL High Schools are in ONE board district (and therefore have one dedicated board rep). 11 / 18 High Schools.
  • 94% of ALL High Schools are in either 1 or 2 board districts. 17 / 18.
  • Only 1 High School, centrally located Stone Mountain, is in 3 districts.
  • District 2 & 4 will have School Board elections this fall, 2012.
  • Districts 1,3,5,6,7 will have elections in 2014 for the incumbent board members.
  • This map Complies with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The House and Senate are in recess today, Monday and Tuesday. Your email support this weekend is greatly appreciated. I do not see much support for this map in the house except by a few members and feel the most effective emails will be to our Senators.

The Senate committee approved a map drawn by Sen. Emmanuel Jones yesterday that splits Lakeside into 2 board districts. I feel that if we email the Senators and let them know our feelings about keeping the board districts aligned with the schools we will be able to get a consensus.

Please email the following Senators if you agree with the proposed map.

Sen. Jason Carter (D) District 42 PH: 404 463-1376 (office)

Sen. Emanuel Jones (D) District 10 PH: 404 656-0502 (office)

Sen. Fran Millar (R) District 40 PH: 404 463-2260 (office)

Sen. Curt Thompson (D) District 5 PH: 404 463-1318 (office)

Sen. Steve Henson (D) District 41 PH: 404 656-0085 (office)

Sen. Gloria Butler (D) District 55 PH: 404 656-0075 (office)

Sen. Ron Ramsey, Sr. (D) District 43 PH: 404 463-2598 (office)

Although, he should recuse himself from any votes regarding his EMPLOYER, DCSS!

Respectfully yours,

Jim McMahan
Sagamore Hills

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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89 Responses to Another new map has been introduced!

  1. The blogger formerly known as Cerebration says:

    I like this map! It makes whomever represents Druid Hills also care about all of Cross Keys! In fact, Cross Keys entire attendance zone looks like it is defined and recognized, and that is a new twist! For those of you who wonder about the funny shape, that really is the Cross Keys attendance zone. Read Kim’s old blog post on the subject:

    Kim, what do you think?

  2. fedupindcss says:

    If we contact the delegation, how do we reference this map? There are so many, I don’t want to confuse them!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is the Oliver-Benfield map, meaning it was devised by Mary Margaret Oliver and Stephanie Benfield.

  4. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Hey Cere! great to hear from you. This map was the one that was not even allowed to be considered in the “contemptuous” meeting. I commend MMO and Ms. Benefield for trying to compromise and work with all parties. The lack of respect some showed MMO in that meeting was laughable but she held her own and I honestly feel they are both advocates, on the DeKalb delegation, of a better school system, unlike others like Ms. Bell who doesn’t even reside in our county.

  5. Jim McMahan says:

    Over 60% of ALL High Schools in DeKalb County in single board districts?
    Common Sense has arrived!
    Over 94% of all schools are in just 2 districts?
    How can this NOT be the map to pass?
    I like having all of Lakeside and Tucker in one school board district.
    It holds the board member accountable to their consituents!
    No more finger pointing with schools represented by multiple board members.

  6. Teacher Reader says:

    I agree that this map is the best proposal, but what will happen with the board members who are currently in office until 2014? Where do they fit in with this map?

  7. Anonymous says:

    They stand for re-election in 2014. Although the lines of their districts change they still represent the district to which they were elected in 2010.

  8. Teacher Reader says:

    Thanks!!! I keep hopingfor a way to get a total re-election, which I know is futile at this point. I just want our school system to improve and not get worse, as much damage can be done in 2 years, most of which will take many more years to clean up. Our kids don’t have that kind of time to wait.

  9. curious says:

    Which members (as of today) are up for election in 2012 and which are up for election in 2014?

  10. Anonymous says:

    McChesney, Speaks, Bowen and Womack have their terms end in 2012 – so would in theory be up for re-election. All but Bowen (who says he is not running for re-election) would have the opportunity to compete in districts having elections in 2012 under this proposed map.

  11. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    I think it’s called the new, revised, 7 district map by Benfield and Oliver.

  12. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Even numbered districts are up for reelection. Odds stay. (Jester, Walker, Cunningham, Edler and Woods)

    Problem is, Walker represents a super-district. This district will go away, so he is being given another district to represent. Some say that if your district goes away, so should your seat.

  13. Teacher Reader says:

    Bowen has been rumored to be running for a County Commissioner seat.

  14. gah6 says:

    Funny how they split the district right between Walker and Cunningham’s homes.

  15. Jim McMahan says:

    We would need a referendum to shorten their terms in office in order to avoid doing that.
    I seriously doubt that would pass in the legislature. Believe me, the delegation didn’t even want 7 districts much less a referendum for all board seats to be up for election this year.
    It is how the law is currently written.

  16. Teacher Reader says:

    There were certain Delegates that wanted the 5 seats, because SACS said it was better and because Gwinnett has 5 seats. As I wrote in my email to the Delegates, where is the real data that says that 5 is better than 7. Is it just an opinion, or is there scientific data behind this statement and if so, where can it be found.

    My feeling was that there were Delegates who would have voted for 7 members. But the African American Delegates wanted the 5 members.

  17. curious says:

    If the Benfield-Oliver map were adopted, would the even numbered districts still be up for election this year? If so, then it cuts into Donna Edler’s term, which could be a legal problem. Under that map, district two is not a problem, as it has no incumbent. District four is not a problem because McChesney, Womack and Speaks are all up for election this year anyway. But district six is listed with Edler, who was just elected in 2010.

  18. Jim McMahan says:

    The current law states you can not shorten an elected board member’s term unless by local legislation. Since that is the case, we have 5 incumbents who have two more years until the term is over. Therefore we only have 2 board seats up for election this year. District 2 (open district) and District 4 where we have 3 current board members whose term is up this year. Dr. Speaks, Mr. Womack and Mr. McCehsney.

  19. Todd says:

    Sorry for the OT question, but can somebody point me in the direction to learn why the chunk of Dekalb around Ponce/Decatur is missing from this map? I’m new to Dekalb and live just north of this area.

  20. The Deal says:

    Decatur City School district

  21. Jim McMahan says:

    In addition to Decatur City Schools, APS is part of that to the left.

  22. no duh says:

    Help me here. How many maps are out there? I think I’ve heard of several. Don’t know if some are just twin sons of different mothers….

    I think there are:
    1) The Mosby Map (5 BOE members) aka the “DeKalb Delegation’s Recommendation”
    2) The Oliver/Benfield MP (7 BOE members)
    3) The Developed and Approved by the DCSS BOE Map, aka the “one on Jester’s blog” (7 BOE members)
    4) The map that the Senate has already approved (?? BOE members)

    My questions are,
    1) Are maps 2 and 3 the same?
    2) Where can I find a copy of number 4

  23. Oh Well says:

    The AJC article this morning (Feb. 10, 2012) stated that the state Senate sub-committee had approved a 7 member map. Do we know which map THIS one is? Has it been published anywhere?

  24. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    No, don’t use these proposed maps for discussion other than the future after JAN 2013 — For today, you go by the district number they currently serve and were elected in. Donna Edler is currently District 7 and her term goes to 2014. She stays. Nancy Jester is District 1, Sarah Copelin-Wood is District 3, Jay Cunningham is District 5 — they all STAY. Gene Walker is a bit different. He was elected to serve a super-district called District 9. His term also extends thru 2014, but he currently serves half the county, overlapping half the other main districts – as an overlay. There will no longer be super districts. He will now be given his own district apparently.

    Click this link to see the current board and their district number. The EVENs are up for reelection as their terms expire in 2012. If we go to 5 districts, there will be no need to elect anyone as we will have 5 members remaining whose terms extend through 2014.

  25. Jim McMahan says:

    No Duh,

    1) Maps 2 and 3 are different. You can see both of them on this blog.
    Print them out and you can see one the Benfield / Oliver map is drawn with the High School attendance lines as board boundaries and the other 7 member map does not. Just look at Cross Keys attendance area in the Jester / Tom Taylor map. It is in 3 different board districts. Map 3 also has parts of the Lakeside attendance zone that are in the Tucker and Stone Mountain district.

    2) We are trying to get a copy of Senator Jones map for public disclosure. We hope to have it on the blog this evening. (I hope.)

  26. William from the AJC blog says:

    Most of the white state legislators in north DeKalb (along with Emmanuel Jones) wanted SB79 to pass. Most of the black state legislators (and a majority of the DeKalb School Board) did not want the bill to pass. The pro-SB79 folks apparently didn’t think through the consequences of their actions and naively assumed that those opposed to the bill would eagerly cooperate with them to make a smooth transition to a smaller board.

    The pie-in-the-sky folks at DeKalb School Watch who still actually think the DCSS can be saved tended to think that a reduction in board size would be a good thing and somehow it would be only the board members they don’t like that got the boot.You’d think over a decade of black control of the educational system in DeKalb would have been enough to inform these do-gooders at DSW, but they doggedly refused to believe that the heaping pile of junk on the side of the road was still drivable.

    Almost all the black board members, legislators and citizens of south DeKalb clearly prefer to be represented by their own people. White conservatives in north DeKalb feel the same way, yet of course they can’t be so overt about it like John Evans and Gene Walker.It’s the white liberals who still keep pusing the idea of enforced fairness and equality and that race doesn’t matter.

    As a result of last year’s redistricting, white conservatives have taken away almost any chance for white liberals to elect one of their own to the state legislature. DeKalb County’s delegation will be almost completely comprised of white Republicans and black Democrats beginning in 2013.

    Now DeKalb’s black legislators are about to take away white liberals’ representation on the school board.

    White conservatives and blacks see it as the power struggle it is. White liberals still want everyone to get together and hold hands. Don’t believe me? Then think about why Billy Mitchell wants to create a City of DeKalb.

    Let the five-member map pass. Around half of white children in DeKalb are already homeschooled or go to private school, so that number will increase greatly as blacks will drive the school system to ruin beginning in 2013 with Gene Walker at the helm.

  27. The Deal says:

    Right, but we still have to pay taxes into this black hole. I am no longer naive and holding onto unrealistic expectations. I would just like this school system to not break laws, not be embarrassing, not be unethical, and, most importantly, provide a something-above-the-minimum quality education to its children. That is how low my standards have gotten and, yet, those are pretty lofty goals for our system as it is. Even if our kids don’t go to a public school, we are still voters, and, should this 5-member board map pass, they will be voted out in 2 years given that I know they will ignore the more northern of their schools and constituents. I don’t doubt that much harm will come to our kids as a result over those two years, but, still, the voters, wherever their children are, want to see the thousands of dollars they pay going to something good. Hopefully that would translate into voting all of those 4 out of office.

  28. Tenbroeck-Dekalb Parent says:

    I spoke to Nancy Jester earlier this evening and she had concerns about the above map. I imagine she’ll weight in here before too long.

    We need to come up with a fair 7 district map, and get grassroots support behind it. That won’t solve all our problems, but it is what needs to be done right now.

  29. momfromhe11 says:

    dekalbschoolwatch 5:59 –

    So let me see if I have this straight:: The elections for 2012 will take place according to the OLD district boundaries, meaning McChesney, Womack, Speaks and Bowen may run for terms ending in 2016?
    Then the new districts (whatever they are) take effect in 2013 – and if the Benfield-Oliver map were to be adopted, you would have McChesney and Womack in the same district. How can this happen? Then district 2 (which has no incumbent resident) would have too ohave a special election?

    On another topic – Is the Druid Hills entire feeder pattern in district 2 as of 2013? If so – I can tell you that vast numbers of parents in that cluster not only were not consulted for their agreement, but they don’t even know about this map…

  30. bullet says:

    Its different than the Oliver/Benefield map they were discussing in committee. That map had more compact districts. District 2 went further south basically to Memorial Drive instead of including Cross Keys. District 7 also went further south (numbering in the earlier map was a little different).

  31. bullet says:

    Correction-this new district 7 goes further south and is thinner. Seems to be working on the problem of having 5 BOE members they can’t get rid of right away.

  32. bullet says:

    2012 is the new district boundaries and we don’t know how many, if any, elections we will have. Some people (Walker, Cunningham) want to deny us the right to vote on anyone in 2012. Normally, the school board would have had open discussions and gone over the maps so there could be public input. Instead, Walker, Cunningham and perhaps Bowen did their private map. Jester, McChesney and Speaks did their private map. Now Oliver, Benefield and others are trying to clean up the mess with limited time to get it done.

  33. Curious says:

    Momfromhell,that’s what I was trying to figure out. Even if it’s the old even-numbered distrct mrmbers that run, which new districts would they run for? Only 2, which does not have an incumbent, and 4, which has four incumbents, all of whom have terms expiring this year?

  34. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    It’s not that complicated really. Just think of it this way. The five people who are not up for reelection will stay on the board. The DeKalb delegation (state reps) will redraw the map to satisfy the new law that says we must reduce to no more than 7. If they reduce to 7, then there will be 2 seats available in Nov. If they reduce to 5, there will be no seats available as all 5 will be filled with those not up for reelection (whose terms don’t expire until the end of 2014). Therefore if we reduce to 5, there is no need for an election in Nov.

    We don’t know what the final districts will be or who our reps will be until the delegation finalizes the new maps. Wednesday is apparently the final deadline.

  35. The Deal says:

    Does anyone know the likelihood of getting a referendum introduced and passed that would allow for shortened terms of office to abide by the new law? That way they could draw the districts according to census data and feeder patterns, and we could have the chance for a do-over with the entire board in November. Why isn’t this a viable option?

  36. IDSUFT says:

    Why are we trying to develop a board map based on feeder patterns? We don’t even like some. What happens when we redistrict again and this changes? Dan Drake says we’ll be doing some redistricting every year or tow. Chamblee’s area will change once the new school is built. Will Cross Keys always be there? Neighborhoods age, schools close and attendance patterns change. Fernbank and Cross Keys together doesn’t benefit Cross Keys. It means that Fernbank just strengthens its influence. Why does Fernbank seem to have so much control? How could Board members be assumed to be acting in the best interests of the whole district if they are even more closely tied to only one feeder pattern?

  37. no duh says:

    Thanks Jim. Anyone know what the Senate approved map looked like? How many BOE members is indicates? Why won’t the Reps endorse it, too?

  38. Now what? says:

    William from the AJC blog – Wow, thanks for clearing that up for me. I had no idea that I was a “white liberal” just because I’m not a white racist or an African-American reverse racism racist, or just because I want everybody to get along. Only problem – how do I come to grips with this realization if I am actually of African-American or mixed heritage decent? What if I am Asian or Hispanic?

    And, by the way, to anyone who cares: why are we trying to model ourselves after ANY other county or school system in Georgia? Perhaps it isn’t clear that when they say you are 49th out of 50 states, they do NOT mean that the 50th is the best!

    This may sound a bit simple and I know a lot of people have to provide the illusion of doing work in order to get paid according to the instructions in the DeKalb Slush Fund for Dummies manual, but wouldn’t it make the most sense that, given that we have 7 districts right now and 2 super districts, that we just eliminate the super-district positions and keep the rest?

    Seems like this would have likely been the spirit of the original legislation given that the overlay of super districts only caused confusion… they were the ones that everyone wanted to nix – not because of the people in them, but because of the overlapping responsibilities. I would personally prefer to keep Pam Speaks as she seems to make up her own mind rather than letting others tell her what to do. I hope Edler can resist the temptation and remain true to her district as well.

    Womack will hopefully step down, but if it would help – a lot of people want to see him thrown out over the cell tower issue right now. He may have given Lakeside what they wanted, but the price will be steep when they end up with Walker running the show and their district.

    Check out the map on where they overlayed the cell towers with the 5-district map. It looks like the cell towers are replacing people in the middle of the county while Jester is left to fend for herself in the north. They will likely be sitting back at the palace with some beer and popcorn watching the rest of the county on closed circuit TV. Then the teachers will go the way of the dinosaur thanks to the new cellular, digital, impersonal classroom of the future that they have yet to lay on us. Mark those words – it will happen sooner than you know it!

  39. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Now What you said, “Wouldn’t it make the most sense that, given that we have 7 districts right now and 2 super districts, that we just eliminate the super-district positions and keep the rest?” This would be the easiest but Gene Walker, our sexual harasser BOE Chairperson, is in one of those “super” districts. There is now way Gene Walker is giving up anything! That’s why the districts split between Walkers and Cuningham’s homes. Walker is going no where!

  40. gah6 says:

    I don’t see Cross Keys going away. I did not think about Cross Keys in the same district as Fernbank and you could be right. But thanks to the foundation Cross Keys will not roll over and play dead.

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