Cross Keys community reps fully support independent city schools

The DeKalb County School System has consistently underserved the community of Cross Keys. It is the only high school without an auditorium or a promised auditorium; their track and field are unusable and in fact, dangerous; they have few sidewalks; there is no access to the outdoor fields from inside the building and their weight room (filled with donated equipment) is accessible only through the boys locker room (girls have no access to the weight room).

Further, much of the construction work that was done with SPLOST money, was actually part of the money allocated for the High School of Technology North, which was traded for land with Georgia Perimeter College and then merged in with Cross Keys. There are some great programs in the HSTN, but they are separate, area-wide programs which students from several other schools attend half-days and are then transported back to their home schools.

In my discussions with community members on the subject, they are firm believers that the school would be much better cared for under the control and leadership of the City of Brookhaven. The Brookhaven mayor and leaders would welcome the opportunity to improve the schools in the area, which would also serve to entice businesses to locate there. Currently, businesses shy away, almost solely due to the condition of the local schools.


UPDATE>> Full video of the press conference is available now>> It’s worth watching.

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12 Responses to Cross Keys community reps fully support independent city schools

  1. ursokm16 says:

    This says “The City of Brookhaven” would care and lead the city schools–is that correct?

  2. Yes. Cross Keys High School is inside the City of Brookhaven.

  3. ursokm16 says:

    Allow me to clarify my question–“This says The City of Brookhaven would care and lead the city schools”—-is that the city government of Brookhaven?

  4. The City of Brookhaven, if it chose to, and if the amendment passes, could create their own city school district. Just like DeKalb, it would be separate from city government. However, local supporters of this idea feel certain that the City of Brookhaven – (i.e., the residents and leaders) would support their local schools with much more devotion and care than the current system of DeKalb. By far. No contest.

  5. Retired DeKalb teacher says:

    It is a win-win for both parties! I taught at Cary Reynolds years ago and we were feeder school to Cross Keys. We were always left out when it came time for improvements, repairs, etc.

  6. Ella says:

    I heard discussions of the Brookhaven City officials talk about the possibility of having a school district with Dunwoody and they even mentioned Sandy Springs which I thought was interesting. I think they were indicated if this bill was passed it would open up the door for cities to go together and have school districts to enable them to be the correct size of a school system.

  7. Another comment says:

    Sandy springs homeowners are gone from Fulton county if this passes. We are sick of the transfers from the south end . The overlooking of the line jumpers. The bullying of our children, the gang members, and the absolute refusal of Avosa and crew to do anything about it. He can build his palace in Sandy springs in his attempt to keep the Northern Cities in Fulton County schools but it won’t work. Then the insult to build Heards Ferry Elementary up against 285. What a learning environment for elementary students. The old site was in walking distance to part of the school, this new school is in walking district to no one.

  8. Kim says:

    ursokm16, regarding your question: The municipality would not run the schools but it would be possible for an independent municipal school district to be created. As for support, both the City Council of Chamblee and Brookhaven passed resolutions in support of HR 486. Not sure if Doraville weighed in on this subject or not officially. So, yes, the local elected officials of the cities in questions are loudly and openly supportive of the change to the Georgia constitution.

    Whether it passes this year or a future session, I believe it is inevitable. All 49 other states permit this governance option and there really is no defense for Georgia to stand apart on this one.

    On the hypothetical side of things, I believe this could open the door for Chamblee and Brookhaven to do what DeKalb should have done a decade ago and combine our attendance areas to maximize opportunity for all the kids in all three cities (Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville).

  9. howdy1942 says:

    I think that emotions are beginning to get the upper hand and we all need to step back and take a deep breath. This whole situation is being created by two extreme sides.

    On the one hand, we have Michael Thurmond who wants to maintain the status quo and even wants to keep the nine member size of the Dekalb County School Board. Mr. Thurmond, that is not acceptable because that would maintain the status quo for another four years. You and the school board and the administration have had over a year to work out this matter of seven school districts and that needs to happen – period! Perhaps you have tried, but given the heat of three new cityhood proposals and a proposed change in a Georgia Constitutional Amendment, you have not effectively listened to or responded to an overwhelming number of people in Dekalb County. Listen to those people. Respond to those people. Address the bloated administration. Resolve that teacher TSA lawsuit by working with the teachers to reach a settlement. Get the focus on the classroom.

    On the other hand, we have a community that justifiable wants to be rid of the Dekalb County School System. They are also justifiably concerned about the election of some of the former school board members that were removed and now have announced their intentions to run for the school board. That is a valid concern. There is little question that the cities involved could do much better running their own school systems than has been the case with Dekalb County.

    But there is one big loser in all of this – our kids! Many of them have not had the good fortune that I, for one, has experienced. I had two parents who remained together until death took my father last June. Despite my father having only a 9th grade education, he made a career of the military and my mother worked and, together, they provided me with so much. Musical instruments, a fully paid for college education, and just about everything that I ever wanted. Many kids in Dekalb County don’t and won’t have that opportunity. It is not their fault that adults have made very poor choices in electing a school board nor is it their fault that we have had such self-centered political motives on the part of adults who have not served them (our kids) very well at all. These kids are 6, 7, — 18 years old. They can’t vote, they don’t choose which school they will attend, they can’t allocate money for their classroom, they can’t buy computers, they can’t address the retirement needs of their teachers, and they have had little impact on the accreditation issues of Dekalb County.

    Let’s give this May ballot a chance. I would be surprised if those in South Dekalb would want to elect those who have failed them so miserably. This isn’t about their “rights” – it is about they very poor performance. After all, it was a Federal Judge, a unanimous State School Board, and a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court that said that their “rights” had not been violated, but that their performance threatened the future and well-being of those who have had no voice or option to perform. Hopefully, none of us will vote for anyone just because they are a friend, go to the same church, or live across the street. Hopefully, we can attract some good people in each of the seven districts who can and will be elected. This will be the first election since being placed on probation, the first election since Mr. Thurmond was “appointed”, the first election since our school board has been removed, the first election since our school board made so many poor decisions last January.

    If we fail to get it right this time, then watch out below. Heaven help all of us.

  10. Stan Jester says:

    Don’t forget that only 6 of the 23 members of the DeKalb Delegation supported the removal of the last board. A large majority of DeKalb didn’t want to see their elected representatives removed.

  11. howdy1942 says:


    Thank you for your comment. My only reservation about that removal is that one good person that you know very well was included in the group that was removed. I just hope that we can attract more candidates such as yourself to run and I also hope that the People will have the good sense to vote for good candidates and not just vote for someone because they might be a “friend” or because they go to the same church. This will be our first election since Dekalb was placed on probation, the first since that board was removed, and the first since Mr. Thurmond was appointed as “interim” and subsequently hired without even a hint of a new search. This will also be the first election since the current board denied the Druid Hills Cluster Petition.

    I just saw where Rep. Taylor’s bill to amend the Georgia Constitution will not be considered during this year’s Legislative session. That makes this upcoming election all the more important.

    But you make an excellent point. At some point, the status quo in the Dekalb County School System has got to end – there is a tidal wave building that will insure that demise.

  12. GLASS holds Press Conference in support of HR 486. Local leaders say, “We can do better.”

    In part >>

    GLASS says these high minority and high poverty schools have their needs lost in the shuffle of DeKalb politics and bureaucracy. The high school is the only one in DeKalb without an auditorium, features a crumbling, thirty year-old asphalt track and lacks many of the basic amenities found at neighboring schools. While the cities that serve Cross Keys have passed resolutions supporting HR 486, because of partisan politics, HR 486 may not pass the House and these schools will continue disparate treatment by DeKalb County School District.

    GLASS co-chair, Erika Harris said, “There’s enough research that shows that local school systems do see a benefit in creating a program that is directly targeted to their students needs.” She said HR 486 does not set up the structure for how local area school systems would be operated, but it gives the cities the choice to structure their own systems should they be inclined to do so.

    State Senator Fran Millar told the Post, “You need to look at the demographics of this school. 80% of the students at this school are Title 1. People like to throw race into a lot of things in DeKalb County. They can’t play the race card in this situation. This [HR486] is across the board. It crosses racial lines and is all about the outcomes for children.” Millar said he hopes the Resolution gets to move forward – through the House and into the Senate.

    Brookhaven City Councilmember, Rebecca Chase-Williams said that local school systems can do better. “The 42% graduation rate here at Cross Keys…we think that we could do better in the City of Brookhaven and whether we partner with Chamblee or Dunwoody or Sandy Springs, we have all of those choices. We just feel that the system right now, too many children are falling through the cracks and that’s not acceptable. We think we could put a laser focus on this school and give these children the quality education that all of our children deserve.”

    City Councilman, Bates Mattison added, “This is truly about economic development. As a city, we have to have a successful school system to retain and attract jobs. That’s what economic development is all about. This is a key function of our area that we need to fix.”

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