Home > Education > DeKalb schools listens to parents; two South DeKalb schools stay open

DeKalb schools listens to parents; two South DeKalb schools stay open

February 7, 2011

The recommendations are out and South DeKalb neighborhoods fared better than expected. Two schools, Bob Mathis and Toney elemetary were spared the axe in a proposal by interim superintendent Ramona Tyson. Bob Mathis will have its attendance lines redrawn to take in students from Chapel Hill Elemetary, and Oak View will gain students from Chapel Hill as well. I did not see any information on changes, if any, at Toney ES. It seems Toney came out of this unscathed for now. Several schools in South DeKalb will be closed as a result of last nights proposal. Glen Haven, Sky Haven, Atherton, Peachcrest and Gresham Park will all be consolidated into other schools in the area. Columbia and Towers High schools will be getting students from Avondale High, which will continue to house the DeKalb School of the Arts. Columbia High will also pull students from McNair and Southwest DeKalb. Magnet schools will remain as they are, which was a core issue for many parents in the system. Livsey ES, the only North DeKalb school slated for complete closure, was spared. Some schools that got a last minute stay are not completely out of the woods. Tyson indicated that some of those schools could be closed after the next school year. Given the scope of how deep the school closures could have been, this seems to have been a compromise that benefits as many people as possible. Instead of 14 schools being closed only 8 were recommended for closure. Roughly 9000 students will be affected as opposed to the 16000 that were projected. South DeKalb will feel the brunt of the affected students, but that was to be expected considering the number of schools that were underutilized. One thing I did notice in this process was the level of parental involvement. Parents county wide were against the merging of the magnet programs. This seemed to have an affect on the decision not to consolidate those programs. Two schools, Livsey and Bob Mathis, had a vocal contingent that made clear it did not want its schools closed. Those desires did not fall on deaf ears. Save Toney ES, I cannot recall any of the schools slated for closure being vocal about saving their schools. If they were, they were drowned out by more vocal parents from other schools. Now the recommendations will go to public hearings and a vote by the board. I am sure there will be plenty of parents from schools scheduled to be closed who will beat down on the board and toss around accusations of fairness and the dreaded racism charge, but like I said earlier, schools with parental support seemed to have won the day. This should be a lesson for those of us in South DeKalb; get involved early and stay involved. There are going to be more issues that affect parents system wide, and those who stay involved throughout stand a far better chance of having their voices heard. Now it is time to see if the system can somehow improve the performance of its under-achieving schools. Here again is where parental involvement will be paramount. See the redistricting proposals here

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  1. Amazed
    March 5, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I am absolutely amazed about some of the comments pertaining to Columbia High School administrators. It this ai

  2. Name One
    February 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm
    • girlfriend
      March 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      The embarrassment is Mr. Agee still at Columbia and his suck up crew acting like the Agee Mafia.

  3. Yikes, Jay!
    February 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Jay Cunningham Friends & Family

    The latest on Jay’s son Jonathan Woods, who is an assistant principal at Columbia High School. Jonathan just got his leadership certificate in 2009 and started teaching in 2005. Remember Columbia High School Principal Uras Agee threw a chair and a temper tantrum at a faculty meeting because a teacher had helped a female parent file a sexual harassment complaint against Jay’s son. Well, a teacher has now filed a complaint against Jay’s son for race and age discrimination. What did Jay’s son do? He called a special meeting for Tuesday afternoon when the teacher was filing her complaint and then wrote the teacher up for having missed the special meeting when she went to file the complaint against him. He told her today that (1) he could have her do something one way one day and then change his mind and have her do it another way the next day because he is in charge and (2) he can send her e-mail but she can’t reply to it if she disagrees with what he has said because he is in charge.

    • anonymous
      February 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      How interesting….I don’t recall the Columbia High School Principal throwing a chair at a faculty meeting. It seems as though the focus is more so on that unity is nowhere to be found at the school. I wonder why that area cannot seem to keep administration teams there long enough to build up the academics to meet AYP? The focus seems to be on the wrong thing when it should be all about the students and their accomplishments.

      • girlfriend
        February 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm

        Are you one of Mr. Agee’s suck-up crew? You know the ones in the Business and Special Education Departments who do absolutely nothing for the kids in the classes, but run around trying to enforce Mr. Agee’s dictatorship? Especially that Business Department. That one teacher would like everyone to bow and scrape to Agee and follow all the rules but, that teacher doesn’t follow the rules. That teacher doesn’t really teach anything. That teacher is so opinionated about what other teachers should do outside their classes because that teacher doesn’t have to do anything in the class, except turn on a computer or two and pretend to be teaching. Give me a break. Agee should NOT be a high school principal. He has promoted DIS-unity since he showed up.

        Former principals. Last year’s Dr. Beasley was promoted. The previous two years Mr. Sanders was demoted because of his run-ins with assistant principal recently promoted. The previous five years Dr. Glanton was promoted. The previous three year was promoted. The previous eight year was promoted. I pray Agee will follow Sanders in the demotion department.

  4. EBrown
    February 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    The conversation should focus more on where small schools were clustered together. In the mid to late 80’s, schools in central and north DeKalb were closed due to low enrollment. Some of those schools were Briarcliff HS, Heritage, Warren, etc. Factor this in with moving to the middle school model, many schools in that are were repurposed and/or lost their identity.

    What were are seeing now is the natural evolution of population shifts. There are many childless households in South DeKalb that were formally sending children to schools in the area. Those residents have not moved to allow residents with children to move in. Ergo, you have schools that have low enrollment without short term prospects for getting more students. As sung in the Lion King, its the circle of life.

  5. Dekalbite
    February 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    “Livsey ES, the only North DeKalb school slated for complete closure, was spared.’

    Not really. Medlock Elementary which borders the Fernbank district was closed. Medlock is a small school with capacity for less than 400 students. It has a lot of special ed students (wheelchairs, etc.) so many of the classroom sizes are extremely low.

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