Before APS decided not to close Coan MS, there were many factors for redistricting. Some say the redistricting of Coan was based on race; for others it was lack of enrollment with school’s capacity to hold more. There were five factors that few considered, before APS choose not to close Coan and redistricting King and Inman.
The first was the factor of race for Coan, Inman and King MS, which had clear differences. As of 2011, Coan MS was 96% black, 2% white, 1% Hispanic, and 1% multiracial. Inman MS was 46% black, 43% white, 2% Asian, 4% Hispanic, and 4% multiracial. King MS was 90% black, 1% white, 7% Hispanic and 1% multiracial. As the statistics show, Coan-King was predominately black, but Inman was mostly black with white students as a second majority. If all three MS are predominately black, then race was not the main factor.
Second factor to justify redistricting the three MS districts, was based on enrollment and capacity. As of 2011, Coan has 307 enrolled and holds 902, Inman has 867 and holds 770, and King has 551 and holds 880. In the 23rd March meeting at Coan, APS stated that consolidating Coan-King would bring more services to the students and the “utilization rate” would be 91% with a projection of 804 enrolled.
Another justification was capacity, which AJC’s Maureen Downey stated a problem for Superintendent Erroll Davis was “to deal with a system that has seats for 62,500 students but only 49,000 children enrolled.” 49,000 students for 62,500 seats, an enrollment factor with a large gap to fill. How can APS bring 13,500 more kids, unless they ship them in or create incentives to parents, which would cost money? Downey also stated, the 49% of the three MS that were suggested to be closed had misleading enrollment numbers, like Parks is 81% full, while Kennedy is 33.1% empty and Coan is 34% empty.
Other than race and enrollment, the third factor was where does the money comes from to pay for contractors involving new and remodeled schools? At the 23rd of March Coan meeting, APS said that King MS would get $15 million to build a more “friendly” and “brighter” building. Also, by consolidating Coan-King, APS would save $500,000 per school, but could not give the cost of busing children to King with the higher fuel costs. Where are the savings, if money is being spent on construction and busing?
The fourth factor was the miles the three districts cover. Using Yahoo Maps to compare the districts and the mile radius they cover: Coan is 4.02 miles long and 4.84 miles wide, Inman is 6.91 miles long and 8.24 miles wide, while King is 8.05 miles long and 5.65 miles wide. Coan is the smallest of the three, while Inman is the largest. Covering more miles, equals more people and enrollment.
The last factor was the population that lives in those school districts. As the 2010 Census data shows, there are 7 Census blocks that make up Coan with: 10,492 Black, 7,330 White, 243 Asians, 474 Hispanic, 32 American Indian Alaskan(AIA), 8 Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander(NHPI), 120 Other, and 400 multiracial; for a total of 19,099. Inman covers 29 Census blocks with a population of: 26,094 Black, 62,510 White, 7,234 Asians, 5,782 Hispanic, 243 AIA, 33 NHPI, 2,171 Other, 2,719 multiracial; for total of 106,786. King covers 21 Census blocks with: 31,904 Black, 17,871 White, 1,190 Asians, 2,639 Hispanic, 155 AIA, 19 NHPI, 1,086 Other, 1,321 multiracial; for a total of 56,185. If APS did combine Coan-King, the total population would be 75,284, but would still be 31,502 less than Inman.
In the three MS districts, more whites live in Inman, than Coan-King combined. Inman is mainly commercial in the downtown, Midtown, Virginia-Highland and Ponce areas, with residential housing; while Coan-King is mainly residential with some commercial. Clear differences based on income and population, not race. Since, people choose where they live not base on their neighbor’s race, but what they can afford.
The suggestion of closing Coan MS was not based on race and enrollment, but other factors: like the gap of empty seats versus enrollment, building contractors, the local population, and the radius that each district covers. To consolidate partly empty schools with others may increase funding for kids programs, but would have broken up corporate and nonprofit partners, like Emory with Coan.
Building more schools and hoping kids will come, does not mean they will. Children stay for 3 years in MS and need constant replacement to stay in business. Income and class are factors that some Americans refuse to talk about, even with redistricting. Race and enrollment with redistricting Coan and Atlanta schools, is just two factors of many.