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Springdale, Morningside Parents Voice Concerns Over APS Redistricting

Thursday night meeting kicked off discussions of proposed changes

A study of Atlanta Public Schools future enrollment and projected capacity shows the district needs to add more desks at neighborhood schools and close the doors of others.

But parents with students in Atlanta Public Schools offered solutions Thursday to avoid merging or rezoning neighborhood schools.

Parents from Springdale Park are concerned about the proposal that would merge Springdale with Hope Elementary to create a primary care center — kindergarten through second grade at one campus and third grade through fifth grade at the other.

“Has it truly been successful?” a parent asked about the primary care model.

Hope and many other elementary schools in the south-end of region three are under capacity. Region three includes schools from the Jackson High School and clusters.

Other Springdale parents suggested the district add more buildings at Springdale to make room for the Hope Elementary students instead of breaking apart the Springdale campus.

“We want there to be diversity,” parent Todd Sharp said. “We fought hard five to six years ago planning (for Springdale Park) and now they are trying to rip it apart.”

Parents gathered in groups to discuss options with demographers Thursday night, but one resounding message was clear: “don’t split our elementary schools and don’t split our neighborhood.”

Morningside Elementary parents are concerned that all four options currently on the table would move students out of the cluster and instead send kids to a proposed Midtown Middle School. Two of the options would send kids to North Atlanta High School instead of Grady High.

“We want Morningside and Springdale Park to stay together,” Morningside parent Sharon Bray said Thursday night.

Bray and other Morningside parents said the demographers should consider kids walking to schools, the close ties of the community to the schools and the history of the schools within the neighborhood.

Mary Lin Elementary parents are concerned that . Option two recommends adding desks and merging with Hope Elementary to form a primary care center. Option four recommends forming a primary care center with Toomer Elementary to avoid adding desks.

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Meetings will be held in January for parents and stakeholders to voice concerns in a town hall style setting that will allow a question and answer format, unlike the demographic study meetings this week that only allowed parents to listen to a presentation by the demographers and ask questions in a group setting.

Superintendent Erroll Davis said during a meeting Tuesday night that he expects to have a recommendation on redistricting for the board of education around March or April.

Follow city-wide APS Redistricting coverage on Facebook. Read more about redistricting on the VaHi Patch Atlanta Public Schools Redistricting Page and VaHiPatch twitter.

Denise December 02, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Ludicrous to consider students that currently walk to Grady being bussed to North Atlanta HS!!!
David Eckoff December 02, 2011 at 04:17 PM
Great coverage, Jaclyn. It amazes me that for an issue so important in the city, that the AJC doesn't have any coverage of the meeting last night. Shows me that you're much more plugged into the community. Nice work!
Sherry December 02, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Must clarify that Mary Lin parents aren't really concerned about adding 176 desks - that number comes from Mary Lin getting the addition that is included in SPLOST IV funding.
Joe December 02, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Hope Middle school serves a large section government section 8 housing, also known as the ghetto. Why would anyone buy a house in an expensive area like Virginia Highlands just to have their children end up being forced to go to school with ghetto thugs?
Randy December 03, 2011 at 04:13 AM
I totally understand why people that spent the money to be in a good school district would be upset to have their school compromised by political decisions. Being in Kirkwood (Toomer school district), I also have a sense of how people wanting to make changes in their home school feel let down by the city. It has always stunned me how some schools are taken care of and some not. And at this point, at least in Kirkwood, it is not for lack of parental involvement. Toomer, while not what it could be, has seen great advances in the last three or so years mostly due to parents wanting to "fix" a school they feel the city has forgotten. This issue has divided us as parents, as neighbors and as taxpayers while we continue supporting a school district that seems to have lost it's way. Perhaps we should be looking at the long-term benefits of demanding improvements to all the city schools rather than ostracizing those that lack the political or financial clout to make change happen for themselves. We are talking about children, after all. The situation we are born in to is beyond our control but let's remember that all those supposed "ghetto thugs" are going to get out of school one day. Maybe it's more beneficial to us all to try to impact people's lives when they are still in the system rather than wait until there is little-to-no hope of changing their outcome. It is human nature to protect one's own but we might be missing an opportunity to influence the bigger picture.
Andrew Lewis December 03, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Please feel free to reach out to Georgia Charter Schools Asociation at 404-835-8900/ www.gacharters.org to have us speak at your next meeting. We can provide your communities with a deeper understanding of how a charter can be used as a viable public school option, a "Plan B", and as leverage when dealing with the district.
Anna December 04, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Hill-Hope is an Elementary School. And while I do not have an elementary school aged child, and realize that emotions are running high, I take offense in you calling these young students "ghetto thugs". That was uncalled for.
lyra December 04, 2011 at 11:33 PM
Unless charter schools can be demonstrated to be not for profit, except every child and retain every child that walks through their doors, does not skirt employment regulations that other districts are mandated to uphold and do not drain funds/resources from the surrounding area schools, why would this be a good thing to introduce charter into this heightened mix. Some transparency around charter schools would be warranted in the press but your presence at any school meeting that looked to maintain a district and community would be only to add divisiveness. Even your very tone, to introduce leverage when dealing with the district smacks of coercion instead of communication. Not what the Grady quadrant has ever stood for and hopefully never would.
lyra December 05, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Mea culpa for the accept not except and other grammar errors.( plural nouns with singular verbs)
Joe December 06, 2011 at 02:58 AM
Anna: I feel sorry for you, that you are offended by me using the phrase "ghetto thug". Personally, I'm offended by the ghetto that exists on Boulevard from Freedom Parkway to Ponce. I'm offended that my tax dollars have to go to house depraved people in prime real estate near my neighborhood. I'm offended by the litter, the open air drug dealing, the prostitutes, the load music, the homeless and the gang members. The people that live there are thoroughly indoctrinated into ghetto thug lifestyle. The kids are in gangs, deal drugs and commit racial hate crimes against white people such as at recent Screen on the Greens. There is no way that I would want a child of mine going to a school in that neighborhood and the same goes for any other sane middle class person. I'm offended that after free housing, free food and free education they still can't manage to live like civilized people. I'm offended that after all this help that they get, after all the crime that they commit, they want to ruin a great school and drop property values in my neighborhood by 20-30%. There are real reasons why so many middle class families move out to the suburbs and the main one is to prevent their kids from having to go to school with or be exposed to this depravity. In the meantime, please find someone with a six year old who would also be offended by my use of the phrase ghetto thug and let them have their kid walk from Virginia Highlands down Boulevard to Hope-Will alone.
H.A. Hurley December 16, 2011 at 02:04 PM
You just exposed the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The communities with improved schools, high test scores, parent involvement and a major return to attending public schools are being considered for major rezoning. They also have the most to lose. SRT3 also has the most charter schools. The children who attend those charter schools, most likely, come from some of the lowest performing and under-attended schools in APS. Please improve all neighborhood schools and do not 'fix what ain't broke '(Morningside, Inman, Grady). It took our community 30+ years to improve our schools. The reason our schools are well attended, no surprise, due to good schools and parents who feel good about sending their children to public schools. If APS does not listen to the communities, those children will soon attend prive schools. We have been there before. Please pay attention and talk to people who know the history.
Michael Joseph January 11, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Does anyone know about Coan Middle?

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