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Dunwoody school reform on the horizon
by Noreen Cochran
March 13, 2013 04:46 PM | 871 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Dunwoody school cluster may become the Dunwoody School System if voters approve a state constitutional amendment introduced Feb. 27 by District 79 State Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody.

He said House Resolution 486 is simpler than the 2008 cityhood bill.

“It’s a straight-forward process. In the city, we had certain choices on what to take and what to leave with the county. If this happens, we’d take over the schools,” Taylor told the Dunwoody Homeowners Association last week.

It would allow other new cities incorporated since 2005 — Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton, Chattahoochee Hills, Brookhaven and Peachtree Corners — to form their own systems.

They could even join up across county lines or partner with older cities, as long as they share a border.

The bill comes on the heels of the accreditation agency Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placing the Dunwoody cluster’s parent system, DeKalb County, on probation.

Loss of accreditation could mean graduates may not be able to enter the colleges, universities, technical schools or military programs of their choice, and could lose out on federal loans and scholarships.

Taylor said he did not expect the amendment to make it to the floor for a vote during this session.

“You drop it in year one. You hear it and consider it in year two,” he said.

Year two, or 2014, will be “an uphill battle” for the amendment in the legislature, Taylor said, because it requires a two-thirds majority of both chambers to pass.

Between sessions, the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government will study the amendment’s potential financial effects and report back to the legislators in 2014.

Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall said even the best-case scenario would not put the new system up and running before 2019.

“My guess is we’re probably talking five years, even if this goes extraordinarily well,” he said. “It probably won’t go extraordinarily well. There will probably be obstacles and challenges along the way.”

Nall denied that Dunwoody was considering partnering with adjacent Sandy Springs in Fulton County. “We haven’t had any discussion whatsoever about what cities,” he said.
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