By Jason Massad
DeKalb County officials plan to close schools and redraw school attendance boundaries over the next few months in an effort to consolidate students in fewer of the district’s more than 140 educational facilities, school officials announced.
Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson acknowledged that the process will be painful as she rolled out the schedule for redistricting and consolidating the third-largest school district in the state, which has been beset by internal problems.
While parents, teachers and students have “emotional, personal and intimate connections” to long –operating schools, Tyson said that redistricting “is about making the hard decisions.”
A redistricting plan is scheduled to be adopted in February by the Board of Education.
The lists of schools targeted for closure is scheduled to be made public in early January.
The first of several meetings designed to create public input is scheduled for Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Chamblee High School, 3688 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.
Through late November, DeKalb school district officials will be conducting site visits at various district schools.
The meetings will run through November, giving parents, teachers and students an opportunity to make comments about individual schools.
Towards the end of November, the district is scheduled to wrap up the “data-collection phase” on individual schools, steps necessary to make decisions on school closures and redistricting.
By Dec. 6, the district plans to present a summary of public comments to the school board. A report will appear on the district website the day following the meeting.
On Jan. 3, the board will receive recommendations for school consolidation, closings and redistricting.
The district plans for the board to ratify a redistricting plan in February.
Distinct from the school closures and redistricting plan is recent move by the board to accept $58 million from a federal bond program. The money has been discussed as a means to rebuild Chamblee High School, one of the best-performing schools in the district.
The vote on where to spend the money generated by the bonds has not yet been scheduled, but many board members have voiced their support for rebuilding Chamblee High, an aging facility that has chronic problems with overcrowding and mold.