In the wake of controversy over a redistricting plan affecting several Brookhaven schools, the DeKalb County School District has announced a significantly different, temporary version that will take effect in July.
The “interim” redistricting for the new Doraville United Elementary School will move 108 students from Hightower Elementary to Doraville United; 209 students from Cary Reynolds Elementary to Doraville United; and 381 students from Dresden Elementary to Doraville United.
The plan was released at a Jan. 13 DeKalb County Board of Education meeting. Ramona Tyson, the district’s interim superintendent, recommended an “Interim Redistricting Plan” intended to prepare the way for a Comprehensive Master Plan, which will be completed in the 2020-2021 school year. The Master Plan process will include a permanent redistricting plan, but it is unclear when it will be put into effect or what the process will look like.
“This minimal redistricting recommendation is phase 1 for redistricting so as to not impact the comprehensive redistricting recommendations that are expected from the CMP,” a DCSD memo said. “It provides breathing space to develop a strategic vision for the CMP.”
The interim plan will affect a total of 800 students in the district and remove 50 portable classrooms, or trailers at schools. It will also locate land for a new elementary school for the Dunwoody/Chamblee clusters.
The district began a redistricting process in 2019 ahead of opening the new, 950-seat Doraville United, formerly known as Cross Keys North, in August. The new school is expected to alleviate overcrowding at Brookhaven’s Ashford Park, Dresden and Montgomery elementary schools, and at Cary Reynolds and Huntley Hills elementary schools in Chamblee, by relocating students to the new school.
During the redistricting process, the district held three public meetings with a large group presentation and small group discussions held in individual classrooms at Chamblee-Charter High School.
At the final meeting in November, the staff-recommended plan suggested moving 381 students from Dresden to Doraville United; 93 Huntley Hills students to Doraville United; and 108 Hightower Students to Doraville United.
The staff-recommended plan was controversial amongst Brookhaven parents, with many saying it splits up neighborhoods and doesn’t adequately address overcrowding in the long term.
The interim recommendation comes from Tyson, who is serving through June 30, by which time the Board of Education expects to have hired a permanent superintendent.