Not to rain on Dunwoody’s parade, but the city’s state Legislative delegation doesn’t want to get the city’s hopes up about establishing its own school system.
Yes, DeKalb County Schools remains mired in dysfunction and infighting among Board of Education members, the delegation told officials during a Dec. 13 meeting, but the rest of the Legislature isn’t focused on that.
AdvancED, the accrediting body that includes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, on Dec. 17 placed DeKalb County Schools on Accreditation Probation. During the Dec. 13 meeting said the system losing accreditation would be the only way the Legislature would try to pressure DeKalb County Schools to change its ways.
But a Dunwoody City School system? Given that it would take a constitutional amendment that would potentially allow other cities to follow suit, it’s unlikely, Rep. Tom Taylor told the crowd gathered at the Capital Grille.
And since Dunwoody brought it up, the Legislature would like to focus on other counties besides Fulton and DeKalb for a change, he said.
Taylor said he got the point when he killed a bill he objected to during the last Legislative session.
“Right then, the speaker who I have a great relationship with, pointed at me and said now Mr. Taylor now that we’ve finished with DeKalb’s business for this year can we get back to the other 158 counties in Georgia …,” Taylor said. “A lot of the state thinks they spend an inordinate amount of time over literally two counties out of 159.”
State Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, reported a similar sentiment among his colleagues representing other counties.
“You have to remember if it wasn’t for DeKalb and Fulton County, the legislative session would only be 20 days and not 40,” Millar said. “They get real tired of DeKalb and Fulton.”
Mayor Mike Davis said the city is tired of DeKalb County Schools. Other cities might be in a similar situation, he said. Davis wants to pursue a Carl Vinson Institute of Government study that would examine the impact of new school systems statewide. The Carl Vinson Institute provided studies that proved the feasibility of Georgia’s new cities, like Brookhaven.
“We believe that a smaller school system can really work better, for Dunwoody especially, but I think we need to figure out a way to fix this problem statewide,” Davis said.
Taylor said the state won’t pay for a study and that the fastest any change could occur would be 2014.
He also said not to assume that all Republicans would support the idea. Many represent school systems that are doing just fine, thanks.
“They’ve got large school systems but they’re not broken and they would not want to see Canton, or Woodstock or Suwanee split from them next year,” Taylor said.