*This post has been revised as of November 15, 2016 at 10:41PM*
This past Monday at the DeKalb Board of Education meeting, the planning department released its revised project list. Click here to view that presentation.
And as soon as we think that the communities in the northern part of DeKalb County are united, something else happens. (It’s just a week full of surprises, I guess…) Stan Jester (DeKalb Board of Education, Region 1) and Nancy Jester (DeKalb Board of Commissioners, Region 1) have recently come out with a renewed public effort supporting a new Doraville High School and critiquing a couple elements of SPLOST V.
Where Did the Cross Keys Elementary School Go?
In the SPLOST V proposed project list, as Nancy points out in her piece, the guaranteed SPLOST V dollars for a Doraville-area elementary does seem to have been “quietly removed from the plan.” In the presentation, it does say, however:
“Note: Additional Elementary School capacity (e.g. New Cross Keys ES – North, Additions at Jolly ES, Chesnut ES, and Rowland ES) needs identified under this master planning initiative are not included due to budget constraints. Further exploration of the public’s willingness to approve a referendum for a bond backed by property tax millage is recommended.” (see page 25 in above presentation)
I hope this means that the district is simply reallocating money from another part of the DeKalb County School District budget, since the Cross Keys community has been promised 2 new elementary schools as early as September 2015 (see this article from the AJC). I would hate to think that the school district is going back on its word.
Even as recently as October 17, Dr. Green and staff laid out a plan for a Doraville-area (or North DeKalb-area) elementary school to relieve overcrowding. This is what I received* from Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman regarding her meeting with Dr. Green:
*shared with permission from Mayor Pittman
What Do People Think About a Doraville High School?
I also would like to point out that while Cross Keys High School, Sequoyah Middle School, Dunwoody High School, Lakeside High School, and the Cross Keys Foundation all came out in support of Option B (a new, 2500 seat Cross Keys HS in Brookhaven and an expanded Dunwoody HS, Chamblee HS, and Lakeside HS), there are, according to Nancy and Stan, constituents who are very displeased with this option and are asking for DCSD to consider an Option A.
I personally have not heard this — except from a few individuals on the Brookhaven Redistricting Facebook group and comments on my blog and Stan’s blog.
I spoke with Doraville Mayor Pittman today (edited 11/15/2016) and she clarified that while she supports a Doraville High School at some point, she believes that Option B (with Doraville split between the Chamblee and Dunwoody clusters) is the best option.
I also want to point out that the online survey administered by DCSD pointed in favor of Option A for the first few weeks but during the last week of the administration period, the support for Option B exploded. I know that some of the renewed effort for Option A stems from the doubt that somehow the survey results were skewed in favor of Option B because of that late “burst” of support.
However, I attended the two meetings with the parents in the Cross Keys cluster, and at both meetings (roughly 200 people total) an overwhelming majority was in favor of an Option B.
I also sit on the school council at Cross Keys High School and the entire council (and everyone present) supported Option B. In conversations with other faculty, the overwhelming majority supported Option B. (When I say “overwhelming majority” I mean that literally no one at the high school has told me they support Option A — a Doraville HS.) Taking this into consideration — plus all the school council support letters in favor of Option B — it seems that the survey favoring Option B accurately reflects the “will of the people.”
As the board of education, the planning department, and the community as a whole try to digest the “new” information from the community, I want to make it clear that our CK community has been quite unequivocal in its support for a new Cross Keys HS (as presented in Option B). If someone would like to — as a group — come out and support a different option, I will be happy to publicize it. My main priority is to amplify the voices in our community and to ensure that our CK community has all of the relevant information.
If you have any additional comments or concerns, please feel free to share below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to publish on this blog. You can also email the board of education: