By C. Julia Nelson
The final vote on how three Northside elementary schools and their respective primary centers will be redistricted in Buckhead is slated for Monday, April 14.
The Atlanta Board of Education, the governing body of the Atlanta Public School System (APS), tabled its decision to redistrict at the March 10 legislative meeting to allow more time for public comment, according to APS media relations specialist Joe Manguno.
“During the (March 3) community meeting, the board took more comments from parents and took under advisement to postpone the redistricting decision,” he said.
In a letter written to the community and posted online at www.atlanta.k12.ga.us, Superintendent Beverly Hall said the 30-day delay will allow the APS staff to finalize cost projections and ensure at least seven to 10 years of overcrowding relief.
“I wanted to ensure that even with grandfathering, the recommendation would alleviate overcrowding for at least seven to ten years,” she said. “This additional time will allow us to be confident that we are setting forth the best possible plan to relieve the overcrowding in the Northside elementary schools.”
The current redistricting proposal calls for renovations to the Jackson Primary Center, located at 4191 Northside Drive, as well as the creation of new primary centers for Morris Brandon Elementary students at 2845 Margaret Mitchell Dr., the former Margaret Mitchell School currently occupied by the North Metro program and for Sarah Smith Elementary students at 4141 Wieuca Road.
It calls for the redistricting of attendance zones for Brandon and Jackson. There will be no changes to the attendance zones for Sarah Smith students.
In other business at the March 10 legislative meeting of the Atlanta Board of Education, the board authorized Hall to request a waiver from the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) on site requirements for the proposed new Sarah Smith Elementary School Primary Center .
Although the 6.24-acre property on Wieuca Road has not yet been acquired, planning is underway to construct the center there. On Feb. 11, the board allocated an amount not to exceed $8.3 million to acquire the property during a regular legislative meeting.
According to the board’s recommendation, the proposed site is believed to satisfy the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) requirements for the proposed school. The GDOE’s minimum site size requirement for a school of this type is approximately 11 acres.
Because the Atlanta Public School system is located in an urban setting, many of its school sites do not meet the GDOE minimum site requirements.
The April 14 legislative meeting of the Atlanta Board of Education will be held at The Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium at 130 Trinity Avenue S.W. Because of spring break, the board will have its committee of the whole meeting at 2:00 p.m.; normally this portion of the meeting would be held a week in advance.
A public comment session is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. followed by the regular legislative meeting at 7:00 p.m., also on April 14. Sign-in for the public session will be from 5:00 to 5:50 p.m.
A full version of the current APS redistricting recommendation is available online at www.ReporterNewspapers.net.