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Response to the Superintendent’s Report: Annexation – Student Enrollment & Tax Implications
This response will be limited to only those statements regarding facilities and displaced students. It is obvious the administration presented a worst-case scenario without offering any acceptable alternatives.
The administration’s claims about limiting school choice options for students are laughable. The administration has shown repeatedly it doesn’t care about student choice and cut funding for most programs. Parents only have choice if they are lucky.
On slide 8 the administration states annexation will displace 1,075 high school students. Yet, Avondale H.S. (capacity 608) is scheduled to be closed at the end of the 2015-16 school year and would be available to house the students displaced by annexation. There is plenty of level ground for trailers on the school grounds.
On slide 9 the administration states annexation will displace 125 Fernbank Elementary students. However, there is currently space for 186 students in the empty seats at Knollwood E.S.
On slide 10 the administration states annexation will displace 96 students from Briar Vista E.S. This is troublesome because all the elementary schools surrounding Briar Vista E.S. are near or over 100% capacity. For example, Woodward E.S. is 215 students over capacity. However, Terry Mill E.S. is scheduled to close at the end of the 2015-16 school year. That facility could be used for these students as well as a new location for the Laurel Heights facility. As for the loss of the Montessori program one have to wonder if it is still there. The current fiscal year budget eliminated all funding for Montessori education (page 103 of current budget).
On slide 11 the administration states the annexation will cause Druid Hills M.S. to have an occupancy of 54%. Currently, there are two middle schools with 54% or less occupancy, Redan M.S. 54% and McNair M.S. 48%. These do not bother the administration. Shift some students from Henderson M.S. (135% capacity) and Tucker M.S. (101% capacity).
On slide 12 the administration claims 100,000 students will be denied access to the Planetarium. How does it know that? Currently the Planetarium is open to anyone who wants to visit. Does DeKalb County prohibit visitors from other school districts? No. Another absurd claim is the cost of replacing the facility is in the “tens of millions.” Are we to assume DeKalb County Schools would replace that facility if the annexation happens? Nobody believes that.
On slide 13 the administration claims students will be “denied access to DeKalb service providers and support from experienced DeKalb staff.” Would APS be annexing the staff as well as the facilities or would the employees remain DeKalb County Schools employees? The Laurel Heights program could be moved to Terry Mill E.S.
On slide 14 the administration claims 600 ELL students will need to be relocated. Terry Mill E.S. has a capacity of 614 students and is scheduled to be receiving $277,485 worth of SPLOST IV improvements. It will be an acceptable alternative to the current International Center without much alteration.
There will be plenty of available space for all the students displaced by the annexation if it were to happen.
A list of schools to be closed as part of the district’s 5-year Facilities Plan
>>> CLICK HERE to read the entire original response from Together In Atlanta.
Bottom Line: It is very likely illegal for the superintendent to use public funds and publicly funded staff to fight against a political initiative on any topic. He is way out of line in reality by using public funds to create, publish and promote an agenda that fights other taxpayers in the same tax district.
Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act (O.C.G.A Section 21-5-1). The Act allows certain activities, but prohibits others, to influence voter approval or rejection of a constitutional amendment, legislation, or referendum such as educational SPLOST or city annexation …
Read more HERE.