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Posts Tagged ‘School Closure’

Foreclosures not the reason for enrollment drops in South DeKalb

March 2, 2011 2 comments

Would someone please inform the AJC that unless they have done the research, to stop insinuating that the high number of foreclosures in South DeKalb is the reason why school enrollment is down. There is no doubt that some students who leave a particular school has done so because their parents were forced out of their home, but enrollment in many South DeKalb schools has been declining for almost a decade. Here are a few examples from this year alone of the AJC making it a point to blame foreclosures for the recent enrollment drops. Here are a few examples:

 

From March 1st

Many speakers at the hearing accused the board of pandering to the interest of parents in affluent north DeKalb neighborhoods, while targeting schools in the south. However neighborhoods in south DeKalb are some of the hardest hit by foreclosures

 

In a story jan. 13th

Most of the schools slated to close are in south DeKalb, which has been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. Children from those schools would move to schools in other areas of the county

 

This from Feb 7th

However, south DeKalb houses some of the neighborhoods in metro Atlanta hardest hit by the housing slump and foreclosures.

 

I did some cursory research on school enrollment at a few schools in South DeKalb, and found that the schools scheduled to close were losing kids years before the foreclosure crisis. In fact during the recent foreclosure mess and economic downturn, some schools have been able to maintained their enrollment levels. I decided to go back to the 2003-2004 school year. That was when I purchased my home, and I remember that people were still high on real estate and foreclosure was unheard of. Her is what I found:

 

Atherton Elementary Had 466 students in the 03/04 school year. Two years later(05/06) they had fallen to 438. Two years after that, it was down to 419, and by the 2009-2010 school year, Atherton had 399 students. Gresham Park fared far worse, going from 400 students in 02-03 to under 300 by the 09-10 school year. Both schools had massive drops that started long before the economic downturn and the resulting spate of foreclosures

 

Contrast that to A couple of larger schools in newer areas of South DeKalb. Oakview, opened in 2005, started out with 876 students by 2010 they had 828, a loss of 48 students, still one of the largest elementary schools in the county. Chapel Hill had 784 students in 2003, and 763 by 2010. Both schools loss less than six percent of their students.

 

My point is simply this; Without any hard numbers, making assumptions that foreclosures are the reasons for these school’s falling enrollment is misleading and lazy. If the reporter had a simple knowledge of the area, they would know that demographics is playing the largest role in enrollment decline. Unlike in other parts of the county, some areas in South DeKalb are not replacing students at a high enough clip for these schools to maintain normal enrollment numbers. In other areas of South DeKalb you have schools that are. These phenomenon are nothing new. In the 90’s, schools in South DeKalb that were outside 285 experienced such rapid growth that new schools had to be built to accommodate the influx of students. A decade or so from now, the declining enrollment at schools inside 285 will probably spread to those outside 285 in South DeKalb. It is a shift in demographics. Unless young people with young children move into South DeKalb, you are going to see this play out several more times in the near future.

 

DeKalb school closure list revealed

January 4, 2011 11 comments
Updated this morning

DeKalb Schools has released possible attendance zones on its site as well as other documents pertaining to closures and redistricting. See them here. If you read the presentation, you should have a pretty good idea of what is proposed to change. The DeKalb site has been slow today, so you can  see the presentation here

The list is out and as expected South DeKalb could see many of it’s older schools shuttered. The AJC reported that 14 total schools are being considered for closing . The schools are Livsey, Medlock, Rock Chapel, Bob Mathis, Atherton, Glen Haven, Gresham Park, Sky Haven, Toney, Peachcrest, Wadsworth and Kittredge, Avondale High, and Avondale Middle, with the last two to be used as magnet schools. So let the arguing begin. Lets be fair here. Most of the schools that are on the list are in what I call “old” South DeKalb. No schools From the newer areas of South Dekalb, like River Raod, or Flat Shoals Parkway were affected.  These were schools built long before many of us were here. I hate to see so many South DeKalb schools on the list, but lets face it, those schools are not pulling their weight. They are under-used and are costing the county million to keep open. I say lets not dwell on the fact that we are losing some schools, but focus on making those that survive better. Don’t come to public hearings complaining that you want your school to remain open. Instead become more active in the school that your children will be assigned to. That will be more productive than screaming about how the process is unfair. The one thing that does bother me is that these buildings will be empty within the year and they will become eyesores to communities that have more than their fair share of dilapidated and broke down buildings. I hope the county will off set these losses to the community by either selling or auctioning off these surplus buildings. I would hate to see so many schools end up like the old Hooper-Alexander school with overgrown grass and a detriorating exterior. That to me would be a slap in the face to all of us in South Dekalb. Closing these schools will be a fleeting moment, but to allow them to become dilapidated and havens for criminal activity will have far reaching effects. let me know what you think. We know most of these schools will be closing, how should the county deal with this surplus inventory?

Celebrating Furlough Day in DeKalb

October 6, 2010 3 comments

Happy Furlough Day DeKalb

While driving my son to daycare Wednesday morning I noticed this sign proclaiming Furlough Day. It took me a minute to ingest Furlough Day. What the heck is Furlough Day. I never heard of that holiday before. So on my return to the house, I went to the web to do some research. I started with a quick Google of Furlough Day. Way too many results, it seems everybody all over the country celebrated Furlough Day, from Georgia to Michigan to Oregon. My next move was to search the schools system website. There it was, the nugget I was searching for, Furlough Day.  In DeKalb, Furlough Day is celebrated every month of the year except March. Some months have multiple celebrations, many just one. The exact day for Furlough Day is elusive and is based on your how many months out of the year you work. Some days a few employees celebrate, on others all are forced to participate. The exact history of Furlough Day is muddy at best, but its origins can be traced back to the days when governments were flush with tax dollars and showed little fiscal restraint. I do not know how it is celebrated, but a day off from work seems to be central to the celebration. Happy Furlough Day to all.