Tom Taylor
Tom Taylor

Rep. Tom Taylor told members of Dunwoody City Council that although the final report isn’t yet complete, a recent study shows a separate city school system “is definitely feasible.”

“On preliminary numbers, the school system would have revenues far exceeding what we have now,” Taylor said at the council’s Oct. 28 meeting. “We have over $70 million in school revenues. We would have a surplus that would be more than the city’s operating budget.”

Taylor (R-Dunwoody) said the final report would be delivered to the council and released to the public before Thanksgiving.

He said its release had been delayed because some figures provided by DeKalb County school officials didn’t match ones in the report. “I really did not want to deliver any report that was going to be picked apart,” he said.

Some Dunwoody parents are working to organize a city school system separate from DeKalb County schools. An agency that accredits Georgia school systems has put DeKalb on probation, citing mismanagement by the county’s school board. Gov. Nathan Deal subsequently replaced six of the nine members of the board.

Taylor said the study used current DeKalb service levels to estimate costs and current school property tax rates, now 23.98 mills, to estimate revenues for a city system.

Taylor is calling for a constitutional amendment allowing an increase in the number of Georgia school systems. He also has introduced legislation that would allow a city created since 2005 to start its own school system or to join with a neighboring city to start a system. Dunwoody was founded in 2008.

“The bar is high here,” Taylor said. “I can’t guarantee this is going to go, but we’re at the high-water mark with a Republican legislature. …. If not now, when?”

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.