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Changes On the Table for Dunwoody School Attendance Areas

DeKalb County School Board's options would redraw attendance lines for local elementary schools, and under one option local high schools and middle schools

The options presented to the DeKalb County School Board Monday won't lead to the closing of any Dunwoody schools, but will ultimately lead to changes in how local school attendance lines are drawn and how Dunwoody Elementary School operates.

Monday night, the DeKalb County School Board were presented with two options for redistricting and consolidation in the district.

Consulting firm MGT of America, which helped design the proposal, presented the options. Representatives with the firm told school board members Monday that the options are expected to change with additional public and school system input.

"Some [of this proposal] is going to shock you," said Edward Humble of MGT. "Some of it's going to seem real aggressive to you."

The board heard a list of 14 schools in the district that would be closed under the proposals.

Dunwoody didn't have any schools on the list, but several area schools will be affected by the changes, which would occur in the fall.

There is a centralized option, which would reorganize magnet school locations so they are centralized in the district. Decentralized would leave the magnet schools in their current places.

In both the centralized and decentralized options, will become a K-5 school. It now serves grades 4-5.

Under the proposed centralized option, students the northern part of the current Chesnut attendance zone would go to , in the northwestern part to Dunwoody Elementary and the southwestern part to Kittredge Magnet Elementary School.

Students in the southern part of the region would be moved into the Dunwoody Elementary school, and a small portion in the northwest part of the Vanderlyn area would be moved to Austin.

Current students in the southern part of the area would move to Dunwoody Elementary or Montgomery Elementary.

Also, under the centralized plan, some students in the southwestern part of the city that attend Peachtree Middle School or the Dunwoody High School would be sent to Chamblee Middle School and High School.

If the district goes with the decentralized plan, Dunwoody Elementary would get its own attendance zone, which would mean that children in the western section of Chesnut, southern part of Vanderlyn and southern part of Austin would be sent to Dunwoody Elementary (see attached photos for more information).

For Gil Hearn, a parent of a student at Chesnut Elementary School, it wasn't a big surprise.

"It was something I expected could happen," he said. "The hard part is how all the lines are redrawn."

His daughter will be headed to Kingsley under the options given Monday night.

"If it turns out we are redistricted to Kingsley, that's fine with us," he said. "Personally I think Kingsley is a great school."

Still, Hearn has become active in the Chesnut parent community, something he'd rather not leave behind.

"It's a little disappointing to feel like I'm going into another new environment once again after building all these relationships," he said. "The big picture is hopefully this is going to be able to make the whole system operate more efficiently."

School board members, who were seeing the proposal for the first time, asked several questions. Nancy Jester, who was sworn in to the District 1 seat at the meeting's beginning, joined Paul Womack in asking the consultants how much the district was saving under each proposal – and what could be done if the board wanted to eliminate more seats.

The options presented Monday are still in the proposal stage.

There will be further public input workshops:

  • Jan. 11 – Miller Grove HS, 6:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 13 – Chamblee HS, 6:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 18 – McNair HS, 6:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 20 – Stone Mountain MS, 6:30 p.m.

On Jan. 31, interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson will present her recommendations for the district's consolidation and redistricting.

Feb. 22 and 24, there will be formal public hearings on the issue.

On Feb. 28 the board will be voting on a recommendation.

For more information, go to: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/redistricting

Jonathan Cribbs, editor of North Druid Hills-Briarcliff Patch, contributed to this report.

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