The DeKalb County Board of Education delayed its first vote last week on the district’s 2016-17 Proposed School Organization, which serves as the foundation of the Local Five-Year Facilities Plan.
The proposed plan includes tearing down and rebuilding seven elementary schools, consolidating eight elementary schools, and moving four elementary schools to new middle/high school clusters.
The plan would also consolidate two sets of middle and high schools and increase capacity at two middle schools and five high schools.
According to school district news releases, the plan is required so the district can qualify for up to $40 million in funding from the state capital outlay program.
The district explained the goal of the plan is to “support teacher and student success by easing overcrowding at some schools while building student capacity in areas of the district.” However some parents, like Jennifer Hatfield, PTA president at Evansdale Elementary School, wonder how redistricting will actually affect the students.
“[The school district hasn’t] really shown how accelerating any of this is really going to benefit our kids academically,” said Hatfield, the mother of a second grader at Evansdale and a sixth grader at Henderson Middle School.
If school restructuring plans are approved as originally presented to the board in late November, students at Evansdale would go from matriculating to high-performing middle and high schools to lesser performing ones, she said.
She added when the district underwent restructuring two years ago, officials did a better job communicating information to the public and factoring in their input.
“This time around, it just seemed strange because there was no message sent to the parents ahead of time to warn us that this was coming up,” Hatfield said.
A series of public information sessions will be held from Jan. 8 to 17. The school board will vote Jan. 7 on the first draft of the plan.
The board is scheduled to vote on the final draft Jan. 23.