October 28, 2015

Re: Cross Keys and Region 1 Over-Crowding and Redistricting Proposals (Short-Term)

Mr. Drake,

Thank you for speaking with me yesterday about the overcrowding and redistricting process in the Cross Keys cluster and inviting me to follow up by email.

You asked me what I thought the “short term” plan for the high schools and middle schools should be during the 2016-2017 school year:

First and foremost, in August 2016, send students in the Cross Keys cluster to Chamblee Charter HS to fill the roughly 300 empty seats available there because this makes the most efficient use of space in existing buildings. If you sent students who were incoming freshman, you could minimize disruption to student and family lives.

I would think that it would make the most sense to send some students in the Cary Reynolds, Dresden, and perhaps Oakcliff attendance zones to Chamblee HS. Given that Cross Keys HS is closer for students living in the Woodward, Montclair, and (parts) of the Dresden ES attendance zones, I think it would make sense for them to continue at CKHS.

Sending students currently zoned for Cross Keys HS who are closer geographically to Chamblee HS is the best solution because 1) it reduces transportation and logistical issues by having students travel shorter distances and 2) it partially addresses the potential legal issues under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act associated with zoning students to a high school that is further from them, resulting in segregation of predominantly lower-income, Hispanic students to one school.

Secondly, we must utilize the space available at Chamblee MS (especially since it has 100 open seats, if not more) to alleviate overcrowding at Sequoyah MS.

This is the most efficient, logistically feasible, and legally defensible solution for the beginning of school year 2016-2017.

The “short term” plan for the elementary schools in the 2016-2017 is as follows:

I am strongly opposed to using third/fourth grade or fourth/fifth grade academies to relieve the overcrowding at Montclair ES, Dresden ES, and Cary Reynolds ES.

We need to use existing facilities to alleviate the overcrowding by sending some students in the Woodward and/or Montclair attendance zones to the former ISC/Kittredge buildings on North Druid Hills. If no other option exists for Warren Tech, we need to create a full elementary school (K-5) at the Warren Tech site for students in the Cary Reynolds ES and Dresden ES attendance zones.

Before we resort to moving Warren Tech students, consider this:

Assuming the cost would be comparable (this would need to be confirmed), we could replace existing trailers with new quads for the students of Dresden and Cary Reynolds instead of moving Warren Tech two different times and refitting each building to accommodate Warren Tech’s needs. This would be temporary given the district’s commitment to building two new elementary schools.

This would be preferable because you wouldn’t have to disrupt the Warren Tech students, it would allow elementary students to easily access the restrooms without disrupting their classes, and it would also replace existing trailers that have been neglected and are in disrepair.

Lastly, we need to allow Oakcliff ES, which has some capacity, to accept students from the Cary Reynolds ES attendance zone instead of keeping it solely as a “theme school.”

Good luck in your evaluations of the above-mentioned options, in addition to the ones you guys have been considering. I will send an additional email outlining my “long-term” vision for Region 1.

Best Regards,

Rebekah Cohen Morris