On Friday the Atlanta Public Schools, APS, released it's latest plans for a redistricting project that has received lots of parental and community scrutiny. From a Buckhead standpoint, there was a lot of concern with entire neighborhoods moving in and out of elementary schools, Sutton Middle School overcrowding, and the new North Atlanta High School. In a big way, Buckhead homes are bought and sold according to the school district they fall into. It's a really big deal to both homeowners and home buyers alike.
I can tell you that many parents in the Pine Hills neighborhood were able to breath a sigh of relief with the new plans which keep their neighborhood in the Sarah Smith Elementary School district, one of the top elementary schools in the city of Atlanta. The question is, will it stick and which plan will make the cut?
The first public meeting is tomorrow night, Wednesday February 1st at North Atlanta High School from 6:30-8pm.
Click here to see all of the details: http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/Page/413
According to an email I received today from Jackson, the PTA Presidents of the 8 schools in the Northside Cluster have requested that they have a few moments at the beginning of the meeting to pose school-specific questions. Along with North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools (NAPPS) and Nancy Meister, our Board of Education Representative, the PTA Presidents met on Sunday evening to compose the following list of concerns for our cluster, which have already been sent to Mr. Davis, Superintendent of APS:
1. In both options, the full integration of the K-12 IB curriculum is compromised at the elementary school and middle school levels despite this being “not recommended” under the Second Tier Priorities. Non IB schools are being moved into the cluster. Some students will not have the benefit of IB until high school under both options. Why is this the case?
2. What is the justification (fiscally, attendance, etc.) for a third middle school? Capacity of proposed middle school needs to be provided.
3. Why are students being shifted north to highly utilized and overcrowded school districts when underutilized schools to the near south, east and west are not considered? Top Tier Priorities are violated such as “Attempt to assign students to schools located closest to their homes”, “Allow K-8 students to walk where possible”, “The proximity of ES to MS should be maximized”.
4. In many of the elementary schools, option A and B disrupt diversity by moving students out of their current schools. (E. Rivers, Garden Hills, and Bolton) Why is this necessary?
5. Short range plans for schools such as Brandon, E. Rivers, and Garden Hills are not being met in either option. Plans are indicated for expansion at Brandon and E. Rivers, yet no specifics are given (where expansion will take place K-1 or 2-5 or what capacities will be in new elementary school) What will these schools do in the meantime before a new elementary school can be opened?
6. Neighborhoods are being split in plans for Bolton, E. Rivers, Smith, and Garden Hills. Students who can currently walk to school will now have to be bused past their current school to go to their new assigned school. School buses from different schools are shadowing each other in neighborhoods such as Pine Hills. Violates Top Tier Priority “Attempt to avoid splitting neighborhoods”.
7. We need overlays which detail changes in each school before and after redistricting in both options. Need to understand the +/- with regard to percentage in enrollment change within each school and each option. Need to understand final capacities with each school and each option and how it changes +/-. Not enough data presented to make an informed decision on either option.
I'm looking forward to hearing how the meeting goes; I'm sure it will be high energy!