First, here is the SPLOST V timeline from the DeKalb County Schools website:

SPLOST V Timeline

Currently, public engagement meetings are occurring (view the schedule and locations here), as well as the Facilities Assessments (where individuals from the contracting company go into each school building and assess the needs and capacity).

Here are the issues as I see them:

There is overcrowding all across Region 1 (and Region 2, for that matter, but I’m simply dealing with Region 1 at this point). This is why new construction and renovations of old buildings is necessary.

This is the current breakdown of individual trailers and four-room trailers (“quad structures”) across Region 1.

Cluster Campus Single Trailers (or “Portables”) Quad Structures (4 Rooms) Total  Trailer “Classrooms”
Chamblee Montgomery 5 0 5
Kittredge 0 0 0
Huntley Hills 6 0 6
Ashford Park 5 0 5
Chamblee MS 0 0 0
Chamblee HS 0 0 0
TOTAL CHAMBLEE   16 0 16
Average 2.6 structures per campus
Cross Keys Oakcliff 0 0 0
Cary Reynolds 25 0 25
Montclair 9 0 9
Dresden 26 0 26
Woodward 8 1 12
Sequoyah 5 3 17
Cross Keys 3 3 15
TOTAL CROSS KEYS   86 7 114
Average 13.3 structures per campus
Dunwoody Austin 4 0 4
Vanderlyn 3 2 11
Dunwoody ES 1 0 1
Kingsley 5 0 5
Chestnut 1 0 1
Hightower 9 1 13
Peachtree MS 4 2 12
Dunwoody HS 0 0 0
TOTAL DUNWOODY   26 5 46
Average 3.9 structures per campus

Schools in the Cross Keys Cluster are the most overcrowdedSPLOST V dollars need to be spent to address the appalling conditions in the Cross Keys cluster, but since any allocation of money should be spent in the most effective way, I think it only makes sense to address the overcrowding that is occurring across the region. Providing a costly solution in the short term that will then need to be re-addressed in the next few years is an unwise use of funding and an unnecessary waste of time – not to mention an additional disruption to student and family lives.

SPLOST

* No data was available to evaluate SPLOST I. SPLOST dollars were obtained through the DeKalb County School website.

SPLOST II: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/operations/capital-improvement/2009-reports/august-(2009).pdf

SPLOST III: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/operations/psr-cip-report-for-May-2011.pdf

SPLOST IV: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/operations/capital-improvement/2015-reports/september.pdf

Now (below), look at how far kids in the Cross Keys cluster travel to attend school compared with the other high schools in the area. It doesn’t make sense to go to a high school ten miles away when there are multiple high schools that are geographically closer.`The fact that many of the past decisions were made piecemeal is one of the reasons that Cross Keys has become such an “interestingly” shaped district. This time, let’s think about this with the future – as well as the present – in mind.

Chamblee HS has 300 available seats, and Chamblee MS has over 100 available seats as of October 27, 2015. A simply redistricting to fill these empty seats would help alleviate the overcrowding in Sequoyah MS and Cross Keys HS (as well as shorten the travel time for students and families). This is something we can do as early as August 2016 — no need to wait for SPLOST monies to make this simple adjustment.

Distance from MS to HSHS to MS

To summarize the argument most succinctly:

  1. All schools in District 1 are overcrowded
  2. Schools in the Cross Keys Cluster are the most overcrowded
  3. Overcrowding at the schools in the Cross Keys Cluster — at a minimum — deserves to be the focus of SPLOST V
  4. If we combine this construction with redistricting we can simultaneously address the overcrowding at schools in the Cross Keys Cluster and across District 1