There are many specific reasons why I think the redistricting plan that I have proposed will be the best option for the greatest number of people (and it shouldn’t be too upsetting politically). Here’s why.
Those who want independent school systems (loosely formed around cities) should be in favor of this idea.
The boundaries that I discuss in my Time to Redistrict post are focused around each city, with the goal being a school that serves the community in which it is located. Brookhaven would have a high school within its city limits, as would Chamblee, Dunwoody and Doraville. All of the elementary schools within each proposed cluster would be within each cities’ respective limits, and all of the middle schools (except the one I propose for Brookhaven) would be within each city. (The middle school I suggest for Brookhaven would include reopening the former International Student Center or the former Briarcliff High School, which is right outside of the Brookhaven city limits.)
Proponents of independent city school systems should not oppose this redistricting plan (except on the basis of there not being enough local control given to each city cluster – one of the main reasons proponents want independent school systems). Those who object based on the reallocation of particular students to schools within the city should examine the implications of this position on their desire for local independent city districts.
This proposal also moves proponents of a system of charter clusters closer to actualizing that possibility.
Proponents of a school in Doraville would finally get a high school for their city.
There are many within Doraville who have bemoaned the loss of community identity with the conversion of Sequoyah High School to a middle school. Doraville is experiencing growth in the form of housing at the Assembly (the development on the former GM car assembly site) and on the former K-Mart property (which will also be a mixed-use development). I think that while a possible redistricting of Doraville students into Chamblee High School or one of the other schools geographically closer to Doraville would be a plausible solution for the time being, this solution would quickly become insufficient.
The schools in Regions 1 and 2, which are already experiencing overcrowding (see the chart I attached in my previous post), cannot receive many more students without significant construction and renovation to the current buildings. And this still wouldn’t give the students currently within the Cross Keys cluster a high school around which a community could grow. The proposed redistricting option addresses these concerns.
Proponents for keeping the magnet program at Chamblee Charter High School would continue to be able to house their program in Chamblee.
Some solutions floating around propose housing the DeKalb magnet program at another location to free up space at Chamblee Charter High School to be the high school for the Chamblee, Doraville, and Brookhaven areas.
One proposal, in particular, includes housing two programs: the magnet program and the Career and Technology program for North DeKalb at the campus currently used by Cross Keys HS. Essentially, this site would become the hub for North DeKalb’s special programs for high school students.
While Chamblee Charter HS, which has roughly 1600 students enrolled this year, could hold the current number of high school age students (somewhere around 2500 students) in the Brookhaven, Doraville, and Chamblee region, the projected growth by both the DeKalb County Schools and the Atlanta Regional Commission for this area would soon necessitate another high school be constructed. This would mean more relocating, more construction, and more interruption to students’ educations and families’ communities.
My proposed district lines would shake things up for the time being but would stave off disruptions in the very near future by taking into account current and projected growth.
Proponents of school integration (socioeconomic and racial), plus those concerned with legal compliance, would be satisfied with my proposed district lines.
Currently, as discussed during the October DCSS Board of Education meeting and on my previous post, there are violations of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 occurring within the northern part of DeKalb, particularly with regard to the Cross Keys cluster. In case you aren’t interested in reading my past post, I will summarize briefly: the EEOA mandates that students cannot attend a school that is not the geographically closest school to them if it results in segregation.
Students in some parts of the CK cluster travel up to 10 miles to reach their high school – even though Chamblee, Dunwoody, Tucker, and Lakeside are all geographically closer to their residences. Any proposed solution needs to address this important legal issue.
Moreover, as studies continue to show and as my own personal experiences have shown, integrated housing and schooling is beneficial for not only the marginalized students, but also for the other portions of the population.