The Dunwoody City Council is moving forward on seeking potential legal remedies to stop the DeKalb County School District from putting more trailers on school campuses to deal with overcrowding without more city input.
The council also revoked a two-year memorandum of understanding with the school district that was meant to streamline the city’s permitting and inspection process of trailers but instead was ignored by school officials, according to the city.
The actions were approved at the council’s Aug. 12 meeting. Several parents attending the more than 3-hour meeting applauded following the vote.
Councilmembers Lynn Deutsch and Terry Nall, both of whom are running for mayor, recommended revoking the city’s 2017 MOU with DCSD. The MOU’s intent was to ensure city officials reviewed DCSD site plans and issued land disturbance permits for any construction projects, including adding trailers.
But DCSD failed to get an LDP in July when it installed more portable quad classrooms at Dunwoody High School, angering many parents and residents who began demanding the City Council do something to stop the school district from adding more trailers at schools.
Nall also got the council’s support for his 5-part plan that includes the city taking the school district to court if it violates city ordinances and state statutes when it comes to construction projects as well as maintenance and repair projects at school facilities, including trailers, in the city.
Councilmember Tom Lambert said it was time for the city to take an aggressive stance against DeKalb Schools and its lack of long-term planning for overcrowding, including potentially taking the school district to court.
“I think it has come to that,” he said.
What legal authority the city has in enforcing its building ordinances is another issue, however. The City Council has said in the past that state law prohibits local enforcement of building codes against DeKalb Schools other than fire safety and erosion regulations.
But Nall’s plan includes seeking outside legal counsel to give an opinion on what the city can legally do to ensure DCSD follows it building codes, including taking DCSD to court for any violations. City Attorney Bill Riley said he could likely hire an attorney and get an opinion wrapped up in two weeks.