After the school board’s refusal to approve a Druid Hills Charter Cluster, many in attendance quipped, “this is going to light the fire for independent schools”. And they were right. Dunwoody is first out of the gate with this announcement:
The city of Dunwoody has received the feasibility study on an independent school district, prepared by Dr. Christine P. Ries, an economics professor at Georgia Tech, and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
The study, paid for by the city and Dunwoody Parents Concerned about Quality Education, shows an independent city school district using current DeKalb County school board tax rates would have an operating surplus of $30.7 million. That figure could be expanded if non-instructional services such as maintenance, food service and transportation were contracted.
“The revenues available to operate Dunwoody’s schools and a new Dunwoody district office will be more than sufficient to support the cost of current educational operations,” the report concludes.
The transmission of the report came on the same day the Georgia Supreme Court upheld Gov. Nathan Deal’s removal of six members of the former DeKalb County Board of Education. And it comes in the same month the current board voted down the effort by parents in the Druid Hill High School cluster to form a self-governing charter cluster.
“Hopefully this decision will give impetus to the independent school district movement,” said state Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody).
The study is part of an effort led by state Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) to pass a resolution in the next session of the General Assembly allowing a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to allow new cities to create their own school districts. Support will soon be forthcoming from the Sandy Springs and Brookhaven city councils.
Taylor’s resolution is narrowly tailored to the new cities to reassure county school systems around the state that they would not be balkanized.