Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DeKalb school rezoning maps released with one option rezoning City of Dunwoody residents out of Dunwoody HS Cluster.

The DeKalb County School Redistricting Plan was released with one option having City of Dunwoody residents now crossing I-285 to attend Chamblee High, Chamblee Middle, Montgomery and Nancy Creek (shown as Kittredge on map). Redistricting is a hotbed issue where people either love or hate where the lines are drawn, but looking at this option through the eyes of a Dunwoody City Councilman who would like to foster a cohesive sense of community for our city, I was hoping that this option wouldn't be on the table.


25 comments:

SmartOne said...

John

since we are a county based school district and not a city based school district the city borders have no meaning to the school board,nor should they.

The professionals responsible for the redistricting effort used best practices in their work.

If our state senator and state legislator can work some magic and get us in Milton then we can have some more of that sense of community. not much difference between Chamblee and Dunwoody high schools. Chamblee rates higher than Dunwoody high so maybe those students going there are in a better situation

Dunwoody Mom said...

Chamblee HS only rates higher due to the magnet students. The magnet students are being removed. Since DCSS will not release the test scores at Chamblee resident v magnet (as they used to) we have no way of knowing what the educational systems will be at CMS and CCHS after the magnet students are removed.

Anon said...
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Anon said...

smartone

Way to throw your neighbors under the bus.

Dunwoody is such a great community!

GaryRayBetz said...

John,

As always you are a man of true acumen! I couldn't agree with you more on this one.

gary

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

John--
For city boundaries to have any legal teeth in the districting discussion, we're going to have to have the "charter cluster" legislation pushed through, then the charter would have to be written and approved. It would have to be Dunwoody-only, not Dunwoody-Chamblee as I have heard suggested. It would still have a direct impact on neighboring areas, most specifically Hightower ES in Doraville. You'd have to remove Hightower from the Dunwoody HS feeder pattern and redistribute the families in apartments along PIB (west side of it) to schools inside the city limits.

So it's not as simple as "we're Dunwoody, and our citizens' kids should go to city schools". (Although I do agree w/ that idea.) Establishing that norm will have a direct effect on the other systems around us, so we still have to work with those areas specifically and the county in general.

You also have to realize from reading your own blog comments that it still won't be peaceful if/when the Dunwoody cluster is established. Some of your readers and constituents think "certain" Dunwoody zip codes, housing developments, and elementary schools are too far beneath them to officially associate with. That will cause more problems for a Dunwoody school system than the Keystone Kops in Stone Mountain. Do you plan on addressing that conflict at all? It won't get easier if we get our own cluster.

My family plans on staying out of this conflict as much as possible for a few reasons:
--We don't believe that some Dunwoody citizens are more equal than others (yes, I'm quoting myself from an earlier comment)
--Our neighborhood is probably not going to be redistricted, but if it were, as long as it's inside city limits, we don't think it's worth complainig about
--We're not going to let our children become pawns in someone else's political game. That includes City Council and assorted civic groups, as well as the County. If that means saying "no thank you" to public schools and going private, then so be it.

Anon said...

I though most of John's consituents were zoned to Chesnut and Kingsley, hardly the most demanding parts of Dunwoody.

Your post is confusing. You are staying out of this conflict because you aren't being zoned out of Dunwoody but you aren't worried that some are?

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

@Anon--

Re: constituents. John was elected city-wide, not just Zone 3. This may be his "official" representative area but the other two zones have a stake in his position. Plus, all areas of the city affect each other - no one zone is in a bubble whether they are "demanding" or not.

Re: what you find confusing. I never said I wasn't worried about rezoning. I expect any comment I have on redistricting to be discarded by those who are affected because we're not in the same camp. I've already heard from some acquaintances, "You just don't understand because it doesn't affect you directly." OK, if I don't understand, then I don't know enough to support your position when the debates heat up. What else am I supposed to do?

Most importantly I am concerned about kids getting dragged into the adult conflicts. My eldest is starting kindergarten in the fall. It's not inconceivable that issues over who has what building and resources and who has to move and who's going where can spill over to the kids. I don't think that's OK. I believe their focus should be on learning their school subjects and playing with their friends.

Thus in our house we watch and listen more than we talk. It's caution you see in my comment, not a lack of concern.

Anon said...

Thank you for clarifying your comments and I totally forgot that John was elected at large.

RBRENTADAMS said...

Heneghan, I'm glad to see you agree. I've said it before and I'll say it again:
If Hightower were redistricted to Cross Keys and some elementary redistricting took place within Dunwoody's city limits (among Chesnut, Vanderlyn, Austin, Kingsley and DES), I think we could avoid it coming to this. Cross Keys receives Title One monies, as does Hightower; monies that are not allocated past the elementary level for Hightower students.

Students living within the city limits of Dunwoody should attend elementary, middle and high school in Dunwoody.

RBRENTADAMS said...

And saying Chamblee has better test scores than Dunwoody is sort of like saying Harvard has better test scores than GPC.

Gil said...

Reading the comments here brought to mind the wisdom of this post from Dunwoody Talk Blog:

Three years ago we went through this process. Hundreds of parents were OK with redistricting then, probably the same folks OK with it now. They sat back and did nothing. Then Lewis dropped the bomb of a new 'Academy' at the last minute. Too late for reaction.

If you like the redistricting plan as it is, you MUST ACT NOW. Write interim superintendent Ramona Tyson and tell her. Write Nancy Jester and tell her. Write Pam Speaks and tell her. Here is the contact info. If you are pleased with the new plans DO NOT sit back and do nothing

Although it really needs not be said, but if you are NOT happy with the new redistricting then follow the plan listed above as well.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Actually, if you will review the test scores, EOCT, GHSGT, ACT, AP Dunwoody fares right up there with Chamblee and Dunwoody does not have the luxury of receiving 300+ students with high test scores brought in from other schools to pad its scores.

Take the magnet students out of Chamblee and you have a whole different academic scenario - but one DCSS wants to hide.

RBRENTADAMS said...

Yeah, from what I've heard, Chamblee doesn't operate a "true" magnet program. It's a joke.

Y'all, I hate to tell you this, but city schools likely aren't going to happen. It would take a two-thirds vote in the state house, state senate, and a statewide referendum since it's been constitutionally protected. You may recognize this as the same path Milton County has to take to be re-formed. At least that was how it was explained to me.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see "Dunwoody City Schools"; but our best bet is to try to create a charter cluster — and that's assuming the idea itself isn't unconstitutional.

Bob Fiscella said...

I like the Centralized Plan much better than the Decentralized, but we do need to keep both Chateau and Georgetown neighborhoods north of I-285. If you pay property taxes in Dunwoody, your children should go to Dunwoody schools.

Cerebration said...

But Bob, there are no "Dunwoody Schools" - there are only DeKalb County Schools. As it is now, the districting can cross over, under and around any highway you choose. Heck, the Cross Keys boundary is a skinny, wormlike sliver that scoops up both sides of Buford Highway!

No, if you want Dunwoody Schools, you must work to create the Dunwoody City School System. Sure, it will take an Act of Congress in the state legislature. Is that really such a big hurdle for you guys?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Cere, the 2 subdivisions in question, Chateau Woods and Georgetown, which are being redistricted to Chamblee, are "attached", for a lack of a better word, to another subdivision, North Springs that is going to Dunwoody ES. These children play together, same swim club, etc. Neighborhoods should not be torn apart - especially to go into schools for which there is little to no educational information.

SmartOne said...

DunMom

We all recall the 'kids that swim and play together should stay together' from three years ago. i dont think those 3 neighborhoods have to stay together. Cereb is right that just because you live in dunwoody that you attend dun schools. dunwoody taxes are not the same as school prop taxes. dunwoody will never have its own school district. neighborhood kids have always attended different schools. some go to private, some church schools, some home school, some of our n'hoods have DeKalb and Fulton, some have DeKalb and gwinnett, yet the kids all survive

Dunwoody Mom said...

There is a big difference in being redistricted within your own community and being sent to school in an entirely different community in which our chidren have zero familiarity.

I also question the need to reuse Nancy Creek as a school at all.

Rebecca said...

For me, the concern with redistricting has nothing to do with whether or not my child will attend school with someone from a non-Dunwoody or apartment address or won't attend school with kids from the swim club. My focus is on the quality of the teachers and administrators at whatever school my child is zoned to attend.

I welcome a charter cluster. (Why would it be unconstitutional? I actually hadn't thought of that.) But for me, developing a charter cluster shouldn't be about zoning the apartments or lower income addresses out of our schools, but about improving the quality of education for everyone by breaking from the DeKalb status quo and trying out some innovative and research backed methods.

dunParent said...

This redistricting plan is not just a Dunwoody issue. Yes, it impacts this community and some people are not going to agree with any proposal - not just the two on the table now - because it is change. I would be thrilled if we had a Dunwoody School System or even the charter cluster that people have discussed, but neither are going to happen for the upcoming school year or the next several for that matter. Dunwoody needs to accept that we are part of the DeKalb County School System and accept that difficult that changes have to be made. This process happens in other counties and cities all over the country and without all the nonsense that is going on with this now. Our schools are not allocated correctly period. We cannot have 650 + kids in a school intended for 500 in one school and empty seats in another. It isn't fair to the students and that should be the most important issue, but it also isn't fair to the taxpayers to be wasting resources. I think the decentralized option is the better of the two and that we should expect all schools to be great schools not just the one school identified as a magnet school.

dunParent said...
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Heyward said...

The 4th and 5th academy is not a proven education model but was a solution to avoid redistricting. I am for all the schools being at or bellow 100% capacity and no 4th & 5th grade academy in the Dunwoody Cluster. DCSS is in a financial crunch and one way they can save money is by redistricting.

Page Olson said...

John,

This coming Thursday the Dunwoody Cluster Council will be meeting to discuss the initial recommendations for the redistricting plan. Our council is in it's 3rd year of organization and comprised of three elected parents from each of the cluster schools. We are the only parent stakeholder group in Dunwoody that, at this point in time, fairly represents all of our schools.

Our organization is recognized by our schools, the DCSS, and our DCSS Board of Education representatives. We serve as a vehicle for our school community to collaborate on current issues and present as a united voice to the DCSS.

Early in the week, individual school councils will be meeting to discuss the redistricting plans and how each recommendation affects their school.

On Thursday, we will piece this information together in an effort to reach a concensus on a handful of points. Hopefully, our determinations will help lead to a fair and viable plan that our community can accept. We will share the results of our meeting with our community and the DCSS.

It is our request that people reach out to your school councils for your voice to be heard. It is our expectation that these concerns and suggestions will be discussed by the cluster council and forwarded to the appropriate folks.

At this point in time, we must remember that nothing is written in stone with the initial recommendations. This is why it is critical for us to participate in the workshop this coming Thursday evening at 6:30pm at Chamblee High School.

It is the goal of our council to work together for the good of all our DHS cluster schools.

Thank you,

Page Olson
DHS Cluster Council facilitator and Dunwoody HS School Council member

gardengirlpage@bellsouth.net

DunwoodyTalk said...

Page,

Is the meeting open to the public or only the council members?

Rick