1. 1

    Eddie E.

    Your close observation of the recent, positive and effective changes will probably to little to change the minds of those who believe killing public schools is the answer.

  2. 2


    Thanks Kim. I filled out this survey last week and voted for option B. I then pondered in the comments the idea of building a ES, MS, & HS cluster using the current properties of both Woodward and CKHS. That would truly be a community school complex that is walkable from nearby Brookhaven neighborhoods. Think that could work since the current trend is to build multi storied buildings? The old Briarcliff campus is in one of the worst traffic intersections in the region.

  3. 3


    That is an active discussion as an option, yes. Should a “Option B”-type solution be the decision by DCSD the door would open to community visioning just as you have started yourself.

  4. 4


    The time is long over-due to address the needs of students in the Cross Keys cluster. But let’s not make short-term decisions that only benefit a few. Other options exist for solving these problems. Concerned parents of Region 1 have put forth an alternative solution (Modified Option A) that allows for a new state of the art school for Cross Keys and a new state of the art school in the Doraville area. THIS solution addresses the needs of students throughout the county, not just a small subset. Let’s make decisions that have long-term impacts and serve many. Let’s build the schools that we need, where we need them – this reduces traffic and encourages parent involvement – a key factor in school success.

  5. 5

    Survey Says

    You know the survey is accepting multiple votes from the same person/same device as many times as one would like to enter a response, right?. These responses are being tallied in the results. I hope the county will review this carefully and consider the implication of how skewed the survey results may be and even consider it invalid altogether.

  6. 6

    Cindy Pietkiewicz

    thanks for your advocacy and leadership to promote improved public education for all children Kim! You’ve made a big difference. Navigating public education politics is not for the faint of heart as I’ve learned in my participation.

  7. 7


    I believe that is one of the reasons why DCSD is unlikely to give the survey any decisive influence in their deliberation. It was not intended to be a “vote” but more of a sentiment survey. It’s not American Idol though some are treating it that way. They will review all the comments, though, to capture the themes. That is how they handled the elementary school redistricting survey last year. I would like the most participation possible in every public forum: in person and online. I personally believe that the more people invest in the subject the better formed views they develop. Win-win.

  8. 8


    Thank you, Cindy. Politics is a dirty business. Among politics, the politics of public education are the worst. It’s visceral for all parents because it involves their flesh and blood. There’s also a lot hyperbole about non-essential issues that get twisted and tortured as part of the debate. And the fact is it makes up the majority of our property taxes by far. Many good reasons for it to be contentious and all the more reason for honest and resolute people like yourself to stay engaged. I appreciate your good faith efforts and know that Brookhaven and our surrounding areas are going to be better served in the coming decades as a result of your efforts. With apologies to The Carpenters, “We’ve only just begun …” 🙂

  9. 9


    So in summary in addition to decades of demonstrated incompetence and widespread corruption the DCSD is not able to implement a decent online survey to gauge public sentiment. That inspires confidence. Or not.

  10. 10


    Worst.idea.ever. Why should Chamblee’s cluster have to suffer???

  11. 11


    HIlary, I appreciate your support for the Cross Keys HS replacement. As I’ve said elsewhere, there are many points of fair disagreement on the Secondary School Study options. Let’s not allow this to become one. The history is shameful. Thanks.

  12. 12


    As we have already established, we are in complete agreement about the history being shameful and the need to right past wrongs. However, I don’t think two wrongs make a right. We need to think long-term and create solutions that work not just for the Cross Keys cluster, but our neighbors in Lakeside, Clarkston, etc.

  13. 13


    I find it interesting given your statements above that you as the Founder and Director of the Cross Keys Foundation made the decision to use foundation funds to buy paid advertising on Facebook that directly solicits “votes” for the plan you created…

  14. 14


    Two wrongs do not make a right!

  15. 15


    I want to say a whole bunch of sarcastic things about those who think that these decisions are all zero-sum, but I’ll just say this:

    If everyone cared about as many ‘ other people’s kids’ as Kim Gokce does, this would have been fixed a long time ago.

    Kim – I don’t agree with you on all your details, but that’s OK; your principles are dead on. Thanks for your good work.

  16. 16


    Why not support the school that is already there without impacting any of the other schools that do support their schools like Chamblee does? This is not Chamblee’s problem.

  17. 17


    Hilary – the Cross Keys Foundation is an organization purpose-built for advocacy. We regularly use modern marcom tools and techniques to further our cause of “Every Opportunity of Every Child.” Our messaging via social media reaches thousands of followers organically every week. When we have an important message (and I think we can agree the Secondary School Study is an important topic) we employ message promotion on Facebook, yes. This is something we are proud of – so thank you!

  18. 18


    I appreciate the kind word and I’m very ok with disagreements. When honest people are afraid to speak up and even disagree, we’ve all lost. The subject at hand is a very important public policy one for DCSD. It has a long and fairly sordid history. Those who disagree with me on solution details may have very valid reasons. Those that ignore the injustices of the past decades are doing so willfully at this point. No one should defend what has been done to Cross Keys kids in the past twenty years or so (and especially the last five or six) and I don’t really hear anyone doing so. That is to everyone’s credit. So how to remedy what everyone recognizes as unacceptable? It’s very complicated and folks can come to their own conclusions. Our Foundation leaders have thousands of hours of collective experience on the topic and we have formalized our view in our letter. We expect our view to be no more or less perfect than anyone else’s. We do, however, believe it captures the essential constraints and obstacles to be overcome in a solution.

  19. 19


    I would add one more editorial point – I see in the current dynamics the same forces that created Cross Keys cluster. If we were left to the taffy pulling contest that is neighborhood politics, we would today recreate Cross Keys precisely as it was in 1990. The same pressures exist and exert themselves to keep these apartment kids out of Chamblee HS. To the credit of Dunwoody HS leadership, they are not looking to eject Title I Kingsley and Hightower kids (which “Option A” variants would enable). To the credit of Lakeside HS leadership, they are not looking to eject Title I Pleasantdale kids (which “Option A” variants would enable). The options presented to us all by DCSD essentially provide us the opportunity to isolate all the Title I kids from Chamblee and Doraville in an envisioned “Doraville HS.” I’m not suggesting that was the intent of “Option A” and “C,” but I am 100% sure that would be the result. Thoughtful people now recognize that reality and are rejecting it. It does require we think of others’ kids, though, not just our own. I was very moved by the humble comments by a Doraville girl at the BoE Monday night. Go to this video link and find the 10:00 minute mark. Leticia said it better and more simply than I ever have:

  20. 20


    We are 100% in agreement on these points. I fully support the positions of both Clarkston and Lakeside as well as Dunwoody and Druid Hills. As outlined in our letter, there are many areas of neglect where action is needed. We cannot reject incremental progress because all problems cannot be solved all at once.

  21. 21


    Thanks for the link, Kim – I wish I could have spoken that well when I was in high school!

  22. 22


    In Brookhaven I regularly hear, “Why should my tax dollars go to pay for other people’s children?” . . . generally from people that either don’t have kids or have kids but don’t have them enrolled in public schools.

    I always ask where they think America would be today if generations before us hadn’t supported public education.

    People need to get beyond the “me,me,me” mentality and recognize that our current lifestyles were largely made possible by the taxpayers before us.

  23. 23

    Russell Carleton

    For those interested in seeing a more detailed look at the results in real time:

  24. 24

    Howard S

    If we trusted our elected officials to be good stewards of our money I believe the “me,me,me” attitude would resolve itself

  25. 25


    Chamblee already has “apartment kids” in our local area. Yet we still have a top rated school year in and year out. That is because we support our school locally. That can still be done at CMS without breaking up the Chamblee cluster that we have worked all of these years to grow and support.

  26. 26

    cluster crazy

    Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that if you support anything but option B you are someone who wants to segregate? There are plenty of reasons to support options A and/or C without playing the race card. I think we are all above that.

  27. 27

    cluster crazy

    So money is being spent to advocate for people to vote for Option B? Wow….

  28. 28


    I don’t disagree that social media is a great way to reach people. I do think paid advertising soliciting votes for a preferred outcome has negated the integrity of the survey. It’s a shame, I think it was great to get community feedback.

  29. 29


    Kim, this is a gross misrepresentation. CKHS and the people who attend it. CKHS is currently ~40% free/discounted lunch and growing every year, with a rich diversity (45% African American, 24% White and 14% Hispanic). This is a racial diversity we are proud of and encourage. Everyone agrees with you that every child deserves every opportunity. However it would appear that anyone who doesn’t think your way is the only way to accomplish this gets labeled as having some ill intent. You had me with your first comment above, seemed open minded and balanced annnnndddd, then we’re back to the same old song with your “one more editorial point” – if you don’t want to do it my way you are trying to somehow hurt these kids and keep them from having a better education. It is categorically untrue and very disrespectful for you to suggest as you can’t possibly have insight into the hearts and minds of the people (58% currently) who think Option A makes the most sense to handle long-term growth in the county.

  30. 30


    Don’t see any edit option for these posts – but wanted to clarify above should be CCHS and the people who attend it…CCHS is currently…apologies for the mistype!

  31. 31


    You guys realize this isn’t fundamentally about CCHS, right? This is about Cross Keys, and the fact that kids have to go 7 and a half miles to CKHS instead of half the distance to CCHS – and have for 20 years. Look at that map, and defend it.

    Option A means that you want a newer, bigger school in Doraville – OK, great , even if getting that land is possible (hah!) – because the new school would be built big enough to fit both it and the resident population, the magnet will move there. So Chamblee can keep from expanding, but has to lose the magnet to fit all its resident population.

    Option B means that we keep two clusters, one around a new or rebuilt CKHS, which could get its own special achiever program – and an expanded CCHS, which keeps the magnet program. Everybody gets to go to their closest school – and yes, that means that some kids in Brookhaven will go to a different high school, also in Brookhaven. What’s the problem with that?

    CCHS can either find a way to expand, or it can lose the magnet – it can’t do both. The choice is pretty darned obvious.

  32. 32

    cluster crazy

    In option A, magnet does not move. Please review the documents that the county has provided before stating incorrect and unfounded information.

  33. 33

    The Brookhaven Post

    The Post recorded a video of the Cross Keys Meeting. It is in English and in Spanish. You can find it here as well as an explanation of the options.

    Just FYI.

  34. 34


    If you have kept up with things school related this editorial is written by a one plus one equals me person. They choose their causes expecting you to support them. They support you only if it is me me for them. Nothing changes positively with these people

  35. 35


    Oh, my bad – you are correct – the option that costs $60 million more than is available to put a school on land that doesn’t exist says that the magnet wouldn’t move,

  36. 36

    cluster crazy

    I will also say that Chamblee is now a title 1 school, so again this argument holds no water. This is not about race. Just stop.

  37. 37


    There are kids in rural areas that go 20-30 miles each way to school. 7.5 miles is nothing. Don’t split feeders and mess with the Chamblee cluster or magnet at all.

  38. 38


    Why is our community being rallied to participate “negating” the survey? Chamblee elementary school parents (presumably MES) make up nearly 1/3 of the entire vote. I say, “Bravo!”

  39. 39


    Folks that are throwing the “you threw the race card” card need to take a breath. I’m your best friend. This is about keeping apartment kids isolated. It was true before the latinx population grew. It was true before the black population grew. CK has had a working class or working poor profile for decades. So, no, this is not about race and I have always (10+ years) made this point to protect the argument from devolving into drivel. You’re talking to someone who believes there is only one race: homo sapiens. Find another reason to resent my views. It’s not about race.

  40. 40


    For folks who are bothered by my suggestion that kids that live within 1-3 miles of CCHS should be allowed to go there. What is your rationale for keeping them out? These kids actually live in Chamblee and can walk to the high school.

  41. 41


    I used the terms like, “Title I,” and similar to refer to the socio-economic status of the CK kids. The commenters here are substituting “minority,” and “race” into their dialog. That’s their issue; not mine.

  42. 42


    Chamblee is absolutely not a Title 1 school. It takes about 60 percent free and reduced lunch rate to qualify in DeKalb.

  43. 43

    The Brookhaven Post

    Hello Post Readers,

    After I was notified the Survey being conducted by DeKalb Schools to get ideas and opinions on options to solve overcrowding allowing more than one vote per participant, I reached out to the School Board and the School System for comment.

    I received no response from the Board but I did receive the following statement from the School District’s Director of Communications this afternoon:

    “The online survey is not a contest to determine the most popular plans, ideas, and alternatives. We are not tabulating the responses to the survey. We are looking for thoughtful assessments of the three alternatives that have resulted from a year of study and public meetings including any ideas (e.g., Option D, etc.) that we might not have heard or thought of. In other words, we might end up with an approach that only one attendee or a few respondents offered, if that idea is compelling and best addresses the problems of overcrowding.”

    Trey Benton
    The Post News

  44. 44


    Thank you for going to the effort, Trey. This is what DCSD staff have been saying all summer and how they conducted last year’s survey on elementary school overcrowding.

  45. 45


    This idea that nothing should change at CCHS is incredibly self-serving, yet not surprising. Here is the real secret, CCHS had only about 700 students from its actual attendance zone last year. (the number will be higher this year but only because of the redistricted CK kids).
    The magnet program was placed at Chamblee High to keep it open as its enrollment had dropped to precarious levels. Decades laterl and relatively few Chamblee area residents are using the school. We were Chamblee parents 15 or so years ago and had such high hopes for a true community school that housed the magnet program. That clearly hasn’t happened. It’s a shame.
    On our street, there are probably 8 middle school or high school age students — not one is in public school.

  46. 46


    If you truly don’t get it, then I am just speechless.

  47. 47


    The proposal we are advocating for is both – a new school for Cross Keys cluster and a new school in Doraville – not sure if you understand that. There’s no witch hunt needed here this is about capacity needs. Is it going to be expensive, yes, yes it is. Do our kids need it yes, yes they do. The projections say we will have a deficit of 2,000 seats in 2022 – and what about after that magical date? Do we want to do all of this again?

  48. 48


    Kim, once again you are mixing metaphors. Please show me the quote where someone said “I don’t want apartment kids in my school” or “kids that live 1-3 miles from CCHS should not be allowed to go there.” Personally I find your term “apartment kids” offensive. This is about projected growth. Region 1 is looking at needing 2,000 HS seats by 2022. I personally have no desire for everyone’s time and resources (I know I have kids and a job that need my attention, I’m assuming you do too) to do this again in 5 years. Let’s make smart decisions now and not get swept up in finger pointing and accusations about others’ intentions or beliefs. And just to clarify, are you insinuating that children who reside in apartments do not attend CCHS – that somehow they have been kept out?

  49. 49


    Thanks for getting that additional information, What a shame then that any money that could have gone to children was instead spent funneling votes…sigh!

  50. 50


    Yes. No insinuation – I asked the question directly. Why should kids that live within walking distance of CCHS go to the school?

  51. 51


    “should,” should, of course, be, “shouldn’t” …

  52. 52


    Hilary, we consider the money well spent to promote engagement in the survey. Once again (you have been informed of this but other may not know it), we are NOT a school foundation like those you may be familiar with in your school. Advocacy is our raison d’etre. We use social media for regular constituent communications. You have asked this question (thrown aspersions?) in three different online forums so far. Our efforts to promote the will of our stakeholders is one of our core objectives as an organization. Their voices are routinely silenced by opposition. This was evidenced in multiple breakout rooms at Cross Keys that were taken over by parents from Chamblee cluster schools. The problem is so severe I work with area direct service organizations like the Latin American Association and the Center for Pan Asian Community services to create “safe” forums for our community members to express themselves. Our facebook and social media is a trusted source of information for our community of interest. Are you so against our position that you want their views suppressed, too?

  53. 53


    Hilary, let me use a picture to ask the question. We may be talking past each other. In this image you will find CCHS in the gray block to the right and Sequoyah MS in the gray block to the left. They are about 1.5 apart. All the red blocks are apartments. The boundary between CCHS and CKSH cluster can be seen in black and purple highlight. My question is what is wrong with all the City of Chamblee residents with a 15m walk going to CCHS? What about the areas further south of Peachtree and over in Doraville within 1-3 miles of CCHS going there? That is what Option B type solutions propose. This question has been asked by the people living within 1-3 miles of CCHS for many, many years.

    Here’s the image:

  54. 54


    I don’t have a horse in this race but Kim and his group would be negligent not to use any method possible to get the message out to what is often a neglected audience. The opposing view is just as capable of doing it and therefore no unfair advantage to either side.

    Kim thank you for all you do to insure EVERYONE has an equal voice and chance for a quality education.

  55. 55

    Concerned Parent

    Sir – I ask this in all due respect. Is this about the kids or is this about you? A lot of this seems to be very self-serving. If someone doesn’t agree with your position you talk about your years of work on this and how you have given these people a voice and how you did this and did that. Very commendable. But you seem to be very one sided and reluctant to hear others views without casting dispersion on them or throwing out offensive terms like “keeping the apartment kids out” etc etc . Do you not think these folks that support option A have their own reasons beyond just that “they want to keep apartment kids out?” That is really making some rather poor assumptions about people. It comes off as a bit “holier than thou.” None of us have all the right answers. But we all have ears that we can listen to other voices. So maybe it’s time to cut back on the “I’s” and listen to other opinions without going into the gutter. I’m a parent with young children just trying to learn more and make up my mind. But your tone makes me want to hear less about option B and more about the others.

  56. 56

    Lost in the Shuffle

    Chamblee Charter High School is very likely to lose an entire elementary school feeder (Ashford Park) in pretty much any scenario. I’ve heard it’s being said that Chamblee isn’t making any concessions in all of this, which is sorely mistaken. We’re losing this great elementary school at the expense of creating the new Brookhaven or Cross Keys High, whether you agree or disagree with various positions or survey options. I don’t want that to get lost in all of this. It’s a pretty big deal and sacrifice for everyone in that cluster, I would say.

  57. 57


    The only person I have encountered who is viewing the survey as a “vote” is you, Hilary. It’s an opinion survey and we want to promote participation by our stakeholders. Can’t make it more simple than that. We’d pay for stamps and use USPS if we didn’t have Facebook. This is a silly discussion but I’ll address it everywhere and every time you try to make it sound dirty for folks who do not know our org and how we operate might take your mudslinging as fact. Please stop.

  58. 58


    I hear you in the I/we thing. I (!) have repeatedly and consistently supported discussion on the merits of “A” and, in fact, we at the Foundation support elements such as the needed addition as Clarkston HS. As for my tone with some here, I’d be lying if I said I was not frustrated with Hilary who is seemingly trying to devalue the voice of thousands of our Foundation followers by throwing accusations my/our way. For better or worse, I’m the face of the Foundation.

    It is clear she does not want the same solution as the majority of our followers andthe majority of Region 1 and 2 school councils want. The fact that we aren’t actually discussing any of the details in the position as outlined in the Foundation letter means she is succeeding in changing the dialog from the merits or demerits of our position to me and the Foundation’s use of Facebook. Not sure anyone really cares about those but I must reject the inuendo.

    I encourage you to review the data, the position statements of the various school councils, and the County documentation to form your own opinion. We at the Foundation believe we have summarized the position that best captures the constraints amd opportunities in the approaches DCSD has outlined.

    We can take some comfort in the fact that most Region 1 and Region 2 school councils endorse most of our position. We regularly engaged in open debate on these options when ither parties join in hood faith. The A vs B vs C thing is really a false argument as elements of all three are found in our position.

    The fundamental question is whether Region 1 should remain a three high school cluster or not. We believe it should and that building a new, larger building for Cross Keys makes more sense than adding a fourth high school based in Doraville. We outline our reasoning in the letter above.

    I hope you find it useful and thanks for commenting.

  59. 59


    Well said. Not sure who is saying there’s no willingness or concessions. Huntley Hills has been very proactive in suggesting a reclustering approach. My perception is most are more open to change than ever before.

  60. 60

    cluster crazy

    Seems to me that the school council vote is pretty even. You have the MES option which is “A” but still gives APES their new high school and it is also essentially supported by CMS and CCHS and then you have the CKHS option B which is supported by APES and you have some of Dunwoody that is supporting Option B. Have not heard from Vanderlyn, Austin, or Dunwoody Elementary. Pretty split decision. However, the narrative that if you don’t support option B, you “want to keep apartment kids in their place” is highly offensive. Gutter politics and its too bad some have to resort to that.

  61. 61

    cluster crazy

    You also have close to 60% supporting option A. I guess they are all segregationists and racists. A bucket of deplorables no less!

  62. 62


    Gutter politics is an interesting phrase. I have been in dialog on this topic with hundreds of individuals from all over DeKalb and completely respect those that disagree worth our view on “B.” The thing I will acknowledge is that I am hard on people who refuse to examine the data or answer simple questions with any sincerity or intellectual honesty. I promise to stay “out of the gutter” with anyone who will answer this question: what elementary schools will fill a proposed Doraville HS and what would its Title I rate be using today’s actual data?

  63. 63


    Take ‘vote’ out of the equation. It is clear we see this differently and no need to go round and round any further. I did notice that VERY shortly after concern was expressed about this tactic the post was no longer sponsored…

  64. 64


    And while I believe all stakeholders should have their views heard, my comment about school councils was for secondary schools which is what the DeKalb has asked to hear from formally. I am not 100% sure I understand CCHS HS and MS positions. Peachtree Middle, Cross Keys High, Seqouyah Middle, Druid Hills High, Druid Hills Middle have all directly endorsed B-type approaches. I haven’t seen a formal position from Lakeside HS, Henderson MS, Tucker HS and MS yet (the rest of Region 1 and 2). I respect all these parent groups and know the reciprocate with the CK Foundation’s.

  65. 65


    I don’t know anyone who advocates that they shouldn’t. My guess is that it may have something to do with overcrowding at elementary school level (no room to shift around at that level) and then wanting to avoid split feeders? Furthermore, part of your proposal creates the very scenario you claim is an injustice. If CMS is re-purposed in any way then kids that live across the street (literally) from CMS would be bused to a school 5-10 miles away. Is your belief that if it happens to what you often call “my kids” it is a travesty, but if it happens to “your kids” it is fine.

  66. 66


    Hahaha … slinging mud even when extending the olive branch. We had programmed in advance the promotion to end because the survey is ending. Thanks for your ongoing patronage and for following us so closely on facebook. My goodness!

  67. 67


    Kim, you just completely proved her point. I want to discuss your proposal, and have worked hard in other mediums to do so. Yet above you dodge her actual question by calling me out by name and questioning my intentions.

    When I ask you why your plan is so detailed in some points (down to what elementary schools should feed where) but vague in others (suggesting CMS be re-purposed, but no accounting of what happens to those children) I get crickets. Why there are no financial assumptions in your proposal? Why is there no accounting of what happens in other clusters than the one that you personally are zoned to? The MES proposal speaks to all of this, and unless yours does too we are comparing apples to oranges.

    I am not opposed to Option B, I think it is a viable option. I do not like the idea of building anything at Briarcliff site (traffic concerns, annexation concerns). MES has tried to work hard with APES and you to create a solution that works for all, but you were seemingly unwilling to budge from your proposal as stated. So, MES came forward with a proposal, that for the record, retains the majority of your proposal. This was done intentionally as we see the merits in part of your proposal and were hopeful it would bridge the gap to create Region 1 unity. Yet every time we try to engage you another red herring enters the picture. It shuts down the conversation with most (as many have spoken of feeling bullied and/or sheer exhaustion of the hamster wheel). Sorry that I won’t quietly walk away from these discussions. I believe too strongly that we have an opportunity here to make lasting change that works for all. That is what I am focused on – solutions.

  68. 68


    I wrote this editorial to engage the topic openly. If you have any question about the topic or anything in the Foundation position, I’m here to be accountable for my words and that position.

  69. 69

    Concerned Parent

    Sorry, but I’m still trying to understand all this. My understanding was that this is an effort to address the overcrowding. Why has this turned into a Title 1 vs non Title 1 argument? That to me seems like something designed just to inflame and guilt others into one position. Maybe I’m making this too simple, but why wouldn’t you add the 4th high school in Doraville? Gives you the seats you need in the easiest and simplest way. Dunwoody High, Doraville High, Chamblee High, Brookhaven high. 1 high school in each city. Figure out the lines later.

  70. 70

    A Parker

    Hilary & Cluster Crazy, can you tell me how the position statement from MES solves the diversity issue in the northern portion of the CK cluster?

  71. 71


    Ashford Park has been part of the Chamblee cluster for less than 15 years. It belongs in the CK cluster and always did. When the move happened, lots of us quietly wondered why — but there was plenty of space at CCHS and those spaces were going to be filled regardless though M to M or other methods.
    In the following years, say 10 years ago, there were discussions among some of us at Chamblee about fixing the attendance zone issues by adjusting the lines to include those CK kids that lived closer to Chamblee. In fact, the Chamblee mayor reached out on more than one occasion to ask us about this.
    The Ashford Park area parents at the time were always very concerned about a redraw because of what it would mean for them. Because CK wasn’t over crowded at the time, the discussions never got very far.

  72. 72



    I am not going to speak to the merits of what option you prefer, but will point out that healthy school systems that experience growth redistrict on a regular basis.

    And, frankly, if the system’s numbers are correct, then certainly by 2022 the magnet program must be relocated. The area needs those spaces at Chamblee.

  73. 73


    I am sorry but I live in Chamblee — could you show me the growth, outside of the elementary schools, that has occurred in the cluster. (Montgomery’s growth is likely due to the dramatic shift in demographics the school has experienced in the last decade. And many of those families don’t continue public for secondary school, unless in the magnet.) The number of Chamblee residents at the high school has been relatively stable– which is certainly not true at our neighboring schools that have seen tremendous growth in enrollment via students from their attendance zone.

  74. 74

    Concerned Parent

    Isn’t this about overcrowding?

  75. 75


    I’ve answered every single question you’ve asked here and in private facebook groups. I’ll summarize again for those who may actually believe your accusation that I’m not engaging with you. The fact that I don’t give answers you want to hear is beyond any help I can offer.

    “Why there are no financial assumptions in your proposal? ”
    -Because we do not presume to present an operational plan. We presumed to make a position statement on the items we value in the plan and address areas of concern we’ve heard from others (CMS use, Magnet move, etc.). We never had any intention of presenting a plan with financials. We believe that is it is DCSD’s job to do that with input from all stakeholders.

    “Why is there no accounting of what happens in other clusters than the one that you personally are zoned to? ”

    My primary residence in is Cross Keys’ current zone. My secondary residence is in Chamblee’s current zone. My kid went to Cross Keys’ feeders before winning the Golden Ticket where he is now a Magnet student. My wife and I have variously considered Montessori at Huntley Hills and Briar Vista, IB at Fernbank and Druid Hills, and other DeKalb programs over the years. I (we) consider ourselves stakeholders of public education in DeKalb broadly. Putting aside the personal aspect which I know is important to some, the more important point is regarding the overall Secondary School Study. There are really only two fundamental questions in the Options presented that drive all others: 1) Where to build a new high school, 2) To move or not move the Magnet programs. Until those two questions are answered, no logical positions can be established for any cluster’s secondary schools in terms of additions, target enrollment, etc. Therefore, we focused our position on those key decisions and set the expectation that DCSD should devise the plan that meets the needs of ALL clusters.

    These two questions from you above have been asked of me and answered in two forums so far. Did I miss any questions from your above comment? Are there any others? I have no problem addressing questions on the substance of the problem we are facing (re-cluster Cross Keys) and approaches to solving that.

  76. 76

    Double Standards

    Double standards all over the place. It’s so sad to see children’s futures tossed around carelessly in all of this all for personal agenda achievement. And I mean ALL children in these clusters, Every Opportunity for Every Child, right? I’ve watched this unfold on the sidelines, and am truly disgusted by everything I’m reading. If people cannot see through all of this by reading the editorial and the many comments the author has followed up with, then shame on them. I’m sure the editorial author will disagree with my comment and post about it here, Wait for it….

  77. 77


    Your plan is alarmingly dismissive of what happens to the kids who currently attend Chamblee Middle School. And “One plus One equals Three” is an alarmingly stupid title to give to an editorial.

  78. 78


    Concerned Parent – completely valid question. I think there are many obvious benefits to have a Doraville cluster that can be presented. There are few fundamental reasons why the Foundation sees this as the less optimal element of a solution. Individually they are a concern. Collectively we believe they are unacceptable.

    1.) We are concerned about the District’s ability to locate 40-60 acres of available land in Doraville to support their planned, new Elementary school and this hypothetical high school,

    2.) We are concerned that a new “Doraville cluster” would become “Cross Keys 2.0.” The elementary school populations that are nearly 100% certain to feed a Doraville HS would be: Hightower ES, Pleasantdale ES, Cary Reynolds ES, Dresden ES, and perhaps parts of Huntley Hills “east” and Kinsgley “south.” This results in a a virtually 100% Title I and high ELL student body. This defeats the stated purpose of DCSD.

    3.) We see that the kids left in the current Cross Keys facility would be disadvantaged again in terms of facilities and amenities. This is particularly disturbing with Title IX (female equity in extracurricular) areas,

    4. We believe it is fiscally irresponsible to add a new high school cluster when we demonstrably not able to maintain facilities that are already operating. We would like to see fewer sites and facilities better maintained and supported.

    We realize there are position statements that address item #3 (new Cross Keys HS) but believe these are not optimal due to the other three items.

    I hope I’ve addressed the question. It’s a good one!

  79. 79

    APES Parent

    I would argue that APES is the group making that “sacrifice”, not MES.

  80. 80


    I find the fact that everyone keeps labeling children “apartment kids” rather disturbing. Isn’t there a kinder and less condescending way to speak of these childrens’s socio-economic status?

    Calling children “apartment kids” sounds like something out of a Charles Dickens novel- at best.

  81. 81


    Hilary, I also hope you return the courtesy of addressing my question about the feeding elementary schools of your proposed Doraville HS. I just answered it in my above because it is part of the Foundation position. I still would like to hear from my best critic how a Doraville HS cluster is not recreating one of the issues DCSD is trying to address in the initiative. The Foundation position is that it does recreate the issue and a Doraville Cluster will be “Cross Keys. 2.0.”

  82. 82

    A Parker

    It’s not just about overcrowding. Dr. Green has gone on record that this is about solving the issues of geography and diversity in the CK cluster. I see how the MES plan solves the issue of geography very well but I do not see how it solves the diversity issue. It seems to me that by creating a new high school in Doraville you are just furthering the diversity issue in that new school. I’d really like to hear how that plan would solve that so I can be fully informed.

  83. 83


    While that may be true in the past, there is a paradigm shift occurring among many elementary school families in the area (both Chamblee and Brookhaven) who have rallied behind their public schools. These are the children who will be entering the middle and high school in the next 5-10 years, families are talking actively about keeping their kids in the public school system vs. moving them to private. These are conversations that are happening everyday, I hear them and have them regularly, and is one reason you see so much feeling centered around these discussions.

  84. 84


    Hi Ellen. I’m presuming you and I both are parents with a stake in CMS. I presume good intent on your part as we’ve never spoken on the subject. For those that have not read the Foundation position letter, here is the relevant text on CMS:

    “Proposal #2: Sequoyah MS should feed Chamblee Charter HS and the CMS site should be used for one
    of the following uses: as another feeder ES or MS of CCHS as a joint feeder along with Sequoyah MS,
    for future re-use for Magnet as a 4-8 academy at a dedicated facility (this frees up Nancy Creek ES to be
    an attendance area ES or “lower grade school” to relieve and feed Montgomery ES), or as swing space.”

    We feel that the CMS site and building can be effectively used in any one of the scenarios above. I think it is most appropriate for the Chamblee Cluster stakeholders to work out with DSCD as makes sense for everyone involved. It may forever feed CCHS as a middle school. It may be used in other ways. We are not dogmatic about this question but recognize it is a question for the stakeholders and one we respect.

  85. 85

    Brookhaven Mom

    When I read the Cross Keys Foundation’s plan, I saw very specific recommendations of which schools should go where (elementary schools feeding into high schools), suggestions of what should happen to other specific schools (secondary schools like Chamblee Middle and Sequoyah to be exact). To say that “no logical positions can be established for any cluster’s secondary schools in terms of additions, target enrollment, etc.” is not in line with the Foundations points that are written in the plan, on the piece of paper and signed by Kim Gokce.

  86. 86


    First let me say, you have once again misrepresented my statements. I never claimed you haven’t been willing to engage me. I stated that when I ask specific questions, they are not answered – the responses often go off-topic. Your response above is the perfect case in point. No, you did not answer the question about what happens to other clusters – you spoke about your own personal decisions re your child’s education. If the study was able to put together options that addressed both where to build a new school and what happens to the other clusters as a result of that decision (all ripple effect additions are spelled out in proposed A, B and C), why doesn’t your plan? You did not answer the question about CMS and how your proposal opens the door to children who live across the street from that school now being asked to travel further – an issue that you claim is unjust for others. You did not acknowledge that your proposal and the MES proposal are apples to oranges. I’m not saying your plan HAS to include financials, but acknowledging that there appears to be a disparity on how some level of detail is included, while other details seem out of scope for your organization. I welcome your specific answers to these specific questions.

    And frankly you didn’t answer the original question asked – you deflected onto me. Perhaps in a separate thread so we don’t mix topics you could address the future of Cross Keys foundation – what do the bylaws state about tenure of board of director members and officers? When will the foundation be represented in public forums by someone other than you? When will the board take over and you become a concerned parent like other members? Are you aware that the majority of your communications are I, me, my as opposed to we the foundation? That was the point s/he was engaging you on – not your frustration with me.

  87. 87

    Lost in the Shuffle

    There was no mention of Montgomery Elementary School, only that Chamblee Charter High School and Chamblee Middle School are both losing a great elementary school in having Ashford Park potentially move out of the cluster.

  88. 88


    Not referencing you specifically but rather the general narrative of this thread.

    Having moved here from a state that values top notch education (and ponying up the tax dollars to pay for it) I find a lot of the conversation around here against paying for quality schools *for all* profoundly disturbing.

  89. 89


    Alice – what is the reason those 8 students are not in public school?

  90. 90


    A very fair observation. Having grown up here (Atlanta) it is depressing to contemplate that it is so controversial.

  91. 91

    A Parker

    Hilary, when you get through with Kim can you answer my question from earlier? Can you tell me how the position statement from MES solves the diversity issue in the northern portion of the CK cluster?

  92. 92


    Totally agree with you on this particular point.

  93. 93


    Well, well, well. I guess APES parents will now start getting involved with the DeKalb School System now that their precious elementary school is in play.

  94. 94

    cluster crazy

    What is so funny is how argumentative APES has gotten with MES. And that’s a shame. But at the end of the day, I believe that is what some want – to help their agenda of separating the schools. People are playing right into their hand. Wake up.

  95. 95


    Yes, most organizations (including nonprofits supporting animals, the environment, women’s health issues like breast cancer, etc) pay to reach a larger audience- so bizarre that this is being labeled as corruption.

  96. 96


    Very appropriate and sensitive. The fact is that CK cluster has over 89 large apmt complexes. The largest number by far of any other cluster in DeKalb. The next highest is Dunwoody with half that. The only relevance is how these tend to correlate with lower income and working poor on average. I am with you, though, and there are certainly single family h homes sending kids to CK today. How DCSD has “gingerly” drawn lines around these apartments is questionable in to many cases.

  97. 97


    I will repeat what I’ve repeated on other forums to Mr. Gokce who chooses to ignore the point. Three out of the Four proposed options laid out in the plan (OPTION B) for CMS have it NOT retaining its status as a neighborhood middle school. That means 3 out of the 4 options have children being transported from the west side of Brookhaven over to I-85 and I-285. I am not going to gamble on an option where 3 of the 4 proposed options for CMS result in the destruction of a neighborhood middle school. While this option may solve the problem for one group of kids, it creates an entirely new problem for those resident students who attend CMS. It is my opinion that the MES plan is a much more equitable and fair solution to this conundrum than this plan.

  98. 98

    A Parker

    Tim since you seem to be in the know and Hilary won’t answer me, can you tell me how the position statement from MES solves the diversity issue in the northern portion of the CK cluster?

  99. 99


    Hi Tim. I formally acknowledge the point and understand the objection.

  100. 100


    A Parker, I’ll try to take that one admitting I don’t have all of the answers. The MES plan doesn’t address who goes to which school or suggest any attendance lines at all. Per Dekalb County, the attendance lines will be drawn one year prior to any new school opening. These sort of decisions should be open-ended for now due to the amount of change that can occur in any and all potentially affected areas within the next five years. I struggled with wanting to know what the potential lines being drawn will look like and knowing exactly where my kids will go in 5 years. While it’s a leap of faith for sure, I now understand the merits of the County approaching the process this way. That’s been one of the hardest things about all of this in my opinion.

  101. 101


    Brookhaven Mom, can you tell me what the target enrollment for Lakeside HS should be under the Foundation positions and what classroom and core services additions will be necessary to support that addition? As I stated, we saw no logical/defensible way to do that. If you can, I’ll bring that to our board members and have them consider addendums to the published position. Same goes for Chamblee cluster. These two clusters and Cross Keys are at the heart of the region and there are “x” dependencies in the options that drive different financial and construction outcomes. The only thing that is crystal clear to us is the call to “re-cluster Cross Keys” and we see only one logical way to do that. That is the heart of our position. The fact is some folks want certainty and there is none. We acknowledge that and understand it is frustrating.

  102. 103


    Hilary – I got the message. You don’t like the Foundation position. You don’t like me as a Foundation leader. You don’t like my answers to your questions. Is there anything else I can offer a comment upon vis-a-vis this editorial or the Foundation position? I wish I could satisfy you but that’s not in the cards and I don’t want to torture everyone else with our disagreements.

  103. 104


    A Parker, I tried to answer this under another post, but I inadvertantly added it to the incorrect thread.

  104. 105


    Hi Brookhaven Mom! Yes, we outline in our Assertions what seems to be the only logical way to “re-cluster Cross Keys.” That is very clear to us. How this assertion interacts with Dunwoody, Chamblee, Cross Keys, Lakeside and Tucker MSes and HSes depends on where DCSD decides to build a new high school and whether or not they create a fourth cluster. There are many scenarios that can be put forth and school councils and individuals are putting forth such scenario plans. We have not and will not do so. That is a role suited for DCSD and the school councils as legal instruments of the Board of Education. We have a position as documented; not a plan.

  105. 106


    One of the interesting parts of the CK proposal is that the issue of CMS being impractically small with apparently no room for trailers or expansion. If the enrollment in the Chamblee district is going to increase, I think it puts both KMS and the magnet program at CMS at risk.

  106. 107


    Re: “busing” … SMS is 1.5m from CMS. Perhaps 3m door to door. The extra 1.5m doesn’t seem as dramatic for the folks on the west. For folks in Sexton Woods, I get it because CMS is walkable from there.

  107. 108


    The issue, as I understand it, with the Cross Keys cluster history is that geography of the cluster makes no logical sense – causes some to drive by a perfectly good school to get to another school out of the way. I don’t know anyone who was a part of that process, so I will not say that I know what was in their hearts and minds. However, I can certainly see how one could make the conclusion that the lines were drawn to exclude some.

    Option A builds schools where kids live – it does not seek to exclude anyone. I do know my heart and mind, and I know the hearts and minds of others that I worked with on this. At no time was anyone seeking to exclude some – therein lies the biggest difference. CCHS is a diverse school, and we celebrate the importance of diversity. Creating a school in Doraville fed by the students who live in Doraville may not create the most diverse school, and that is something that we as an entire community will work to address. However missing this opportunity to use these funds to build the schools that we need is fleeting and if we miss this boat, we have no idea when we’ll have another shot at it.

    I think we can all accept that there is no solution is going to fix all of the issues – it’s actually a bit like whack-a-mole – if you fix overcrowding here, you may have imbalanced diversity there. If we fix diversity here, we’re going to have over-crowding there in a short amount of time.

    This part of the process is “where does it make sense to build a school” not who goes where (whether we like it or not, that is what we are being asked to provide feedback about at this stage). I believe (and you may certainly disagree) that neighborhood schools work – there should be quality facilities in the current Cross Keys location, and in Chamblee and in Doraville. I believe this reduces transportation costs (I would much prefer these dollars being put towards educational programs), reduces traffic (I think we can all agree this is a major concern for all parts of Atlanta, and provides opportunity for more parent involvement and student participation in extracurricular activities. I truly believe in the importance of diversity – I think it benefits each and every student. Does that answer your question of how this is different than the original cross keys cluster?

  108. 109

    Cluster Crazy

    And is it going to solve the diversity issue in the south part of the county? Is this Cross Keys plan? No? Then all of these plans must be immediately thrown out and we need to start busing in students from the southside to high schools up here and students from the northside down to schools down there. We need to blow up all these plans because the do nothing to address the diversity issues around the entire county.

    Get real. As someone said earlier, this is an overcrowding issue, not a diversity issue. Too many students. Too few seats. Building a high school in Doraville and building a new Cross Keys with middle schools nearby is the right thing to do. It keeps everyone off the roads for ridiculous commutes and also eliminates the disruption that building additions on to at least 7 schools will require.

  109. 110


    “A Parker” that truly made me laugh out loud. I was at work, so sorry that I didn’t get back to you right away. Please see my response to Kim above which does answer your question. For now I am signing off from this discussion. I am going to enjoy some R&R with my hubbie and kids. So, if I don’t respond to you please don’t let that get misconstrued as “I won’t answer you.” As Kim stated earlier I think people have made their stances clear, I think we all understand what we believe and why and appear to not be gaining much ground changing anyone’s position. Hope you and everyone else involved in this discussion have a great weekend!

  110. 111


    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the position you have presented, Hilary. The issues are the presumptive goal of “neighborhood” schools. My assessment (I could be wrong) is that DCSD is no longer promoting that as an assumption and is moving to larger format schools K-5, MS, and HS. This is a key assumption that we differ upon – that’s fine.

    Second point: Budget – the plan to build two state-of-the-art high schools is great. The allocation DCSD has committed falls short of the needed funds. Including land, they’ve been specifying $90 or $100M for new high schools. That’s more than entire budget.

    Third point: The “diversity” thing about a Doraville cluster is a sticking point for me. Many are sick of hearing it, I know. But I don’t see how it can be avoided given the populations in proximity. So while I agree this isn’t about drawing lines, we also cannot ignore the obvious. It’s obvious to me that AP is destined to feed south/west. It’s obvious to me that Doraville with be a Cross Keys 2.0.

    I appreciate you taking the time to outline what you see. I think it is well thought out and admirable. I just do not see it as flying given the direction from DCSD. That’s a subjective call and I expect no one to agree with my assessment just because I said so.

  111. 112


    I’m confused as to what you mean by that? AP has incredibly involved parents and community support. Are you saying AP does not engage in DCSD as a whole?

  112. 113

    Get Real

    Oh my! Such a gross and incorrect generalization of a very involved group of people. Have you been to APES? It’s a dilapidated facility wrought with issues, not some fabled institution as you have insinuated. The parents in the APES area have poured blood, sweat, and tears into raising its profile over the past decade, and I know that their leadership has worked very closely with DeKalb thoughout this entire secondary facilities survey. What would lead you to make such a petty statement? Or for anyone to “like” it?

  113. 114


    Confused, let’s try this. How about you answering your last question. Very much looking forward to your response.

  114. 115


    Sigh! I am not slinging mud, I’m sorry that you see it that way. I value honesty and integrity above all else. I didn’t follow it closely, it showed up in my newsfeed as sponsored on Wednesday evening and on Thursday morning it was still in my newsfeed, but was no longer sponsored. I have never contended that this is “corruption” that is entirely too dramatic for my taste. I have just merely pointing out the impact (in my opinion) to the integrity of the survey. I certainly accept that others see it differently, just one staeholder’s opinion to be sure. The good news is, we have all acknowledged that the survey is about the county gathering feedback, not votes. So if the final tally is 95% in favor of Option B those aren’t votes, just feedback in a survey that has known limitations. So fortunately no one will be trying to leverage that down the road.

  115. 116


    Again, sigh! Not at all words I would use. However, I agree with you that we both understand what Option we each think is best.

    As I have communicated to you before in another forum, I contend that there is more that we agree on, than disagree on. I remain optimistic about the fact that this mess of a process has garnered tremendous community input. The good news is we have an involved community that is passionate about what happens in our public schools. I am hopeful that we will all stay diligent in our pursuit of demanding quality facilities and programs from the county. I truly believe that all of our schools will be great, because we won’t allow otherwise.

    And so my fellow concerned citizen I wish you a restful weekend . We get a nice respite as the county synthesizes all of the feedback and we get to consider revised options later in the process. In the meantime, may the odds be ever in our favor! 🙂

  116. 117


    Get Real, so APES parents show up on mass at DCSS meetings? We all know about their participation at APES, but do they attend DCSS meetings? Can you honestly answer that they do?

  117. 118


    So moved! passed by acclamation! 🙂

  118. 119


    Sorry if this is posted here and I missed it- but will we be voting on this/something similar or anything education related in November?

    Sorry if this is a dumb question 😊 but I’m relatively new to the area, don’t have children, and need an “idiot’s guide”. ☺️

  119. 120

    Get Real

    I have personally attended only a handful of meetings where DCSD reps have been present, but I know the student council is definitely involved significantly at a county level. I’d venture to guess that the APES parent involvement is on par with that of all neighboring schools though – whereby they have representatives that are selected to foster and maintain those relationships at the county. Am I wrong in that assumption? Or are the other local elementary school parents (MES, HH, Woodward, etc) showing up en mass at every single DCSD meetings and APES is the glaring absentee? Why do you view the fact that APES has an active parent population at their school so negatively? I think it is a wonderful thing. Additionally, I’m confused about the statement below that APES’ agenda is to separate the schools. I don’t know anyone who actually wants to see that happen. Even more befuddling is the assertation that there is some conspiracy or game being played, and that APES has any more sway in the outcome of the board’s secondary schools vote than anyone else.

  120. 121


    Stop worrying about Chamblee and make your own school work.

  121. 122


    I can say for a fact that in the brief time (2 years) that I have been a parent at Ashford Park I have gone to 3 DCSD meetings, and I was not the only APS parent at any of these DCSD sponsored meetings. I honestly don’t know what you are talking about. Are elementary school parents pouring in to other meetings that APS parents are not? I’d love to hear your feedback.

  122. 123


    Get Real, do the APES parents attend the DCBOE meetings? If not, think they will start now?

  123. 124


    Confused, congratulations. How many DCBOE meetings have been held in the past two years?

  124. 125


    I am a strong holder in CMS and your suggestion of doing something else with it in your “position paper” was out of line. Really, this whole issue with ccks seems more of a play to push the minority kids out of your school than anything else. Wrapping it in the cloak of a “foundation” is merely a way of doing that while purporting to do good. People who are REALLY doing good work in their community don’t need to publish a sponsored commentary using the “foundation’s” funds to surreptitiously pursue an end that is far more self serving than altruistic.

  125. 127


    You are correct I personally have never gone to a DCBOE meeting – I can’t speak for other APS parents. However, are other local elementary school parents all attending these, and our school is not represented? If that is the case, then maybe we should start going, but I don’t think any of us were intentionally not going to BOE meetings as some sort of way to isolate our community.

  126. 128


    The Governor’s “Opportunity School District,” or OSD, amendment is on the ballot.

  127. 129


    HMM: I’m going to share another example of why this “appartments” question is central to the current re-clustering initiative. Here’s a picture of the results of the last redistricting in our local Brookhaven area. This came at a time that Ashford Park was under enrolled and Woodward and Montclair were over enrolled by many hundreds.

    I draw your attention to the red-circles. These represent two apartment complexes that were left in Woodward and Montclair zones after the line drawing exercise by DCSD. The one on the left is the most egregious example I point out of the type of shenanigans that have gone on in the past. That line is obviously drawn with great purpose around the apartment complex and is the only residential area left out on the north side of Briarwood road.

    This type of thing has gone on for decades and must stop. That is why I toss the “apartments” term around: it’s part of the reality of public school policy and redistricting.


  128. 130


    Completely irrelevant to this discussion

  129. 131


    Lol. If relevancy was a criteria for commenting, > 50% of these would be deleted. HMM had a simple question about “… anything education related in November?” I think OSD if THE education item this November. Apologies to Steve Martin but EXCUUUUUUSE ME! 🙂

  130. 132


    Ton of space for trailers at CMS (east side of bldg, parking lot, field etc) and also room for an extension or going up a floor. Costly but I don’t think space is a factor.

  131. 134


    That is no justification for being so cavalier about the fate of CMS students. That one small problem can be fixed even with option a, the best option

  132. 135


    It is completely irrelevant to THIS discussion and should not be brought up in this context. You are intentionally muddying the issue as you have with the vast majority of your comments and indeed with your original post.

  133. 136


    Still unrelated to THIS discussion.

  134. 137


    Thank you so much! 🙂🙂 I did a brief Google search for what we’d be voting on in November and didn’t really find an immediate, one stop site to educate myself on all the voting issues.

    I imagine the AJC will eventually do one but it will probably be right before voting and I prefer not to cram at the last minute. Hopefully Trey will do one here before November. 🙂🙂

  135. 139


    That is not what DCSD is saying about this site. I’ve heard variously over the years that the site was not suited for an MS to begin with and should not have been built. That it was poorly built and has had major maintenance issues since construction and that it was not engineered to support going up. Not a builder, engineer or architect, I defer to anyone who knows more or better.

  136. 140

    Get Real x 2

    ooooh. such disdain for APES parents. wonder where THAT comes from? There are plenty of parents who attend such meetings. Are you suggesting other ES having better turn outs? please.

  137. 141


    Get Real x 2, the local APES participation is legendary. With the school board not so much. You already know that.

  138. 142

    Enough redistricting

    Likely because APES has an inferiority complex when it comes to MES.

  139. 143

    Don\'t go too fast

    Shouldn’t we wait until after the election to make these decisions? If Trump is elected, we won’t have this overcrowding problem based on his new immigration strategy and moving the illegals back to their country of origin. How many will actually be left at Cross Keys?

  140. 144


    So far, that (false) rationale has been used effectively for decades to execute the neglect everyone recognizes now. How has that worked out? Hopefully, this time no one will be snookered into believing such a thing and treat these kids as they deserve.

    Once you sort them into train cars after the election, we’ll talk again. We’ll have wasted another few months and still have run-down, overcrowded schools in Region 1 and 2.

  141. 145


    If Trump is elected many will be too busy building nuclear fallout shelters to worry about building schools.

  142. 146


    Kim it appears you failed to notice the sarcasm font in that post. I did enjoy the “train cars” comment. Thanks for the entertainment. I can always use a diversion from the train wreck that is public education in DeKalb County.

  143. 147


    FWIW, I have a business that I use Facebook to reach our market for occasionally. FB sets this up so that you sign up for just a few days (about a week usually) and pay for a certain number of exposures. My bills are usually less than $30 for the whole week.

  144. 149


    Well, Kim, I have to give you major props for still working so hard for the Cross Keys cluster. I am sorry to say that I gave up long ago, after 13 years as a parent, PTA officer and about 6 years of intense blogging on the subject of DeKalb Schools. I do chime in once in a while, because I have this historical knowledge that I feel compelled to share. History is important – especially if we don’t want to repeat it.

    If anyone else is interested, here is a post written by Kim in 2009, advocating for redistricting the CK district.

    And here is a post written by me, showing the decay on the property. Some of it has been ‘fluffed’, and it’s come a ways, but the building in no way rivals the other high schools in the school district. In fact, CK still has never received the auditorium/career tech package promised to every high school. They did, however, enjoy the burden of merging the High School of Technology North into their building, and having it count as refreshing Cross Keys. The former HSTN site was then traded to Perimeter College to build land for Dunwoody ES. See how that all works? Time and time again, the squeaky wheels in DeKalb get greased and the rest go to the back of the line.

    The parents in the north do not realize that they have been pitted against each other purposely. There is a pervasive ‘scarcity’ mentality within the school district that keeps parents squabbling over who gets what. The very first eSPLOST that passed was done so due to the school district’s estimate that we had $2 Billion in need. That was FOUR full SPLOSTs ago. We have spent over $2 billion to date – and guess what? We still have $2 Billion in need!! I will leave it to you all to discuss… but bear in mind, that the school district counts on new parents and community members cycling through. That way they can recycle the same old stories that got them what they wanted in the past (ie; jobs and contracts).

    Best wishes – but I encourage you all to play nice. Otherwise, you are only playing into their hand.

  145. 150


    Cere! Thank you for the props. It has been long ago that it was voluntary. My affection for these kids compels me to not tire of the setback and the insults. When folks here me use the term “my kids” they think I’m being unfair. They don’t realize that I mean it literally and that my family and my home was long ago given over to them.

    On the SPLOST “backlog” here is my contribution to the dialog at the time escalating $1B, $2B, etc in District “needs:”

    What to do you make of the political alignment that is allowing all $230M in SPLOST V construction to be dedicated to “north DeKalb?” I think it is unprecedented and maybe (just maybe?) a sign of changing politics.

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    Ah! That was a classic post!! Funny – not a whole lot has changed. I pray you are right and people are just allocating SPLOST dollars where they are genuinely needed- as long as it’s equitable. Years ago, the growth was heavy in south DeKalb and more seats were needed. And they were built – in fact, overbuilt. Arabia – as you recall – was built ‘under the radar’ (never officially listed on any SPLOST project list other than the mysterious ‘new HS’.) It was built on the premise that it was to alleviate over-crowding at MLK. However, when it became clear that this school was going to be a real gem, the plan was forged by Dr Lewis to make it a magnet school for math, science and technology as a whole – not a program within a school – the whole school. It turned out to be a good plan – but Arabia sits at the farthest south border of the county. We could use a duplicate of Arabia in the north end – and I propose that the Old Briarcliff site would work. That would move the magnet students out of Chamblee and into a brand new facility (which I think should be built sort of as if it’s a small college campus – with arts, math, science buildings etc… even perhaps a few auto tech and other high tech programs.) The DeKalb School of the Arts could live here as well (I don’t agree with any school going from k-12 – ugh – what kid wants that really?) Anyway – sort of a dream of a magnet ‘campus’ if you will at the old Briarcliff site. It’s necessary in this new millennium. It’s different. It’s forward-thinking. And it’s not just one more identical high school providing ‘more seats’. I agree that it’s politically surprising that the board / staff would agree that spending is critical in the north end of the county – but in fact, the board once made the same decision – only it was to build, build, build in the south end of the county. Many students transfer to a school in the north from the south (we wrote a post about that once too — ) and there are students who make the trek from the north end to Arabia, since nothing like it exists up north. I just hope that in addition to putting politics aside, the board and staff are able to put the future in mind. We really need to get ahead of the 8 ball if we want to make a difference for the futures of young people educated in DeKalb County. The DeKalb jail is expanding – and chomping at the bit for new residents. Let’s do everything in our power to thumb our noses at them!

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    I’m glad you are entertained. “Joking” on the subject of a pogrom like contemplated in the comment above, sarcastic or not, is not funny to me.

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    I don’t know how but you’ve managed capture every misconception about me and Cross Keys in one paragraph. CMS is as much, actually more, “my school,” than Sequoyah in the sense you seem to mean it. But I reject that idea, anyway. They are both “my school” as are all area schools which you and I pay dearly for with our blood, sweat, tears and treasure. While we surely do not agree on this Secondary School Study and how it should address the constructions needs of the next SPLOST V investment, I hope we can agree that public education is … public good.

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    Not overbuilding in our region is one of the most compelling reasons I do not support A or C type approaches that create a fourth high school cluster in a region where we have not provided proper facilities for 20+ years to the existing three clusters.

    The idea of a site to support “academies” for choice and magnet programs has always been attractive in the sense that it would allow higher enrollment numbers (in theory) and allow more experimentation. If an academy opened on such a campus centered on transcendental meditation and did not work out, repurpose the space for the next educational fad.

    I hear many claim we have the money to maintain our 120+ school sites. I just don’t see it and continue to fight for fewer, larger format schools that are properly planned and operated. Maybe we are not capable of doing it like other districts.

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    Very true. But – we have to keep in mind that DeKalb is a very old county, with very old, narrow (congested) roadways. Where large-scale schools work well in counties like Gwinnett and other more rural areas, they may not in DeKalb, just due to the fact that our neighborhood roadways cannot handle the traffic.

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    And that is why I support two large scale sites: one 1 block off Peachtree Ind and the other 1 block off Buford Hwy :)… I miss you!

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    Kim, like it or not, truth or misconception, this is the perception of many, particularly in the Chamblee cluster. Many of your comments and written statements have an air of disdain for the Chamblee schools. Whether intentional or not, this is how these statements and comments come across. My comment is not meant to be combative, but merely to let you know how those on the other side of the situation are feeling. It’s certainly alienating at best.

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    And that is why expanding Lakeside any more is not the best idea. Probably not Dunwoody either. Traffic in both those areas has become hideous. Miss you too Kim! Glad to know you are doing well – you deserve all good things! Best to the fam! Here’s hoping we’ve turned a corner in DeKalb … who knows, the board might even figure out the developing the GM site in Doraville is good for the whole county!

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    Both the Lakeside and Dunwoody sites are severely constrained for transportation. It’s getting so riduiculous suggestions like swapping with their respective MS sites have been brought up. While Henderson is already huge and PCMS does have better site than DHS to expand, I’m not sure the transportation capacity is materially better at either. We are constrained in so many ways we’ve ignored so long. It is painful to be part of what’s coming.

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    I completely agree with you about the magnet program with one caveat – avoiding the scarcity mentality – why don’t we create a SECOND magnet program at a new location? The Chamblee magnet works well (still improvements needed with access, as none who qualify should be shut out) so let’s transform that program to a Region 1 magnet which can expand access and alleviate over-crwoding at all Region 1 schools. I completely agree with your comments above about us back-biting in the North, I have no doubt the county sees it like Hunger Games and we have played right into their hands. Some have tried to create a plan that addresses everyone’s needs…

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    This is such an important point that is getting so overshadowed! It is one of the main reasons building in Brookhaven doesn’t work. The new MARTA development in the exact area Kim is proposing is estimated to bring a 700% increase to traffic in the exact area proposed for a new HS. I hate to be a cynic, but if MARTA owns to the fact that it will increase traffic by 700% what do we think that number will really be? I live in Brookhaven, in theory I love the idea of a Brookhaven High School, however the negative impacts to traffic and the inability for this to meet the long-term growth needs (especially as BuHi is redeveloped) make it a short-sighted plan that will ultimately have negative community impacts.

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    Don\'t go too fast

    Lighten up Gokce! Learn to appreciate humor. You take yourself waaaay too seriously.

    P.S. You’re not that important.

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    Hi Stacey – Not taken as combative. I appreciate your sharing that. I think it is a valid point. I have realized it over the years.

    I have also realized some try to shame me into silence because I’m “the face” of Cross Keys for better or worse. I have questioned everything about myself and that I believe and hold sacred because of this dialog. My conclusion is that we are all broken and should speak our hearts and minds in any case.

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    Hilary, I think that transportation is a very important aspect of the planning of schools. The fact it, though, that the “Brookhaven HS” already exists – it’s called Cross Keys HS and is quickly moving towards an enrollment of 2,000+ … whether we provide the students with classrooms or trailers, the “traffic” is coming. This is my sticking point – there is no hypothetical HS in Brookhaven; it’s been here since 1958 and needs our help. If you can get DCSD to build two new beautiful campuses, go get it! I celebrate you and your vision! I don’t believe they are able to support it and therefore have adopted my view. I respect yours but don’t see it as practical financially.

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    Hilary, perhaps you can help me with a long-running problem I have not been able to resolve: what is the Magnet program at the HS? Before I get on board and say we replicate it I would want to understand what “it” is. I have not been able to find any documentation on what the HS Magnet provides for that others should replicate.

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    I’ll repeat for emphasis; a “Brookhaven high school” already exists. It is called Cross Keys High and needs our help. Please join me in supporting immediate and sustainable relief for our fifty-eight year old friend!

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    Hey parents 🙂, if you get a chance can you weigh in on OSD in the comment section of the article Trey just put up? I’ve been reading up on it to prepare for voting (thanks Kim!🙂) and have to say I’m rather torn. I know these things can have rather complicated back stories. Ty! 🙂

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    And Chamblee cluster!

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    Clustered District?

    Actually it is very important to this discussion. Many of the school’s we are talking about are failing schools. In fact the two that APES will be combined with Woodward and Montclair are under 60 in CCRPI scores and that determines whether the state takes you over.
    Likewise Dresden is in the category as well. Folks in these districts need to understand that this plan (Cross Keys) is to combine strong scoring schools with poor scoring schools, creating a system of mediocrity. It’s the socialism of school clustering strategy.

    I brought this up with some of my fellow APES parents and was basically told, “well hat can we do?” It’s too bad no one has the you know what’s to stand up to this and convince some that there are other strategies beyond acceptance of mediocrity.

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    Clustered District, I think you make an excellent point, and one I’ve not thought of in relation to the School Planning Study. But, the two could be very intertwined. If OSD is approved on the November ballot, what does this mean to the efforts of Dekalb with whatever Option they vote in favor of? How would the state be involved in decision making regarding school construction, future redistricting, etc? I think we all need to be asking more questions about this topic, in particular. If the state were to get involved in all of this, things could get even more complicated. I’m glad you brought this up, so thank you!

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    This blog post gives a bit of information, but the comments provide some good back and forth on the topic, particularly as it pertains to the mess going on in North Dekalb right now.

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    Clustered District?: Let me agree with you on your first point. OSD is relevant and raises very serious questions about how it would impact DeKalb in this process and other districts across the State. I do not know how the Governor’s plan can bring more improvement than harm when there is so little understood in terms of operational impact and what clearly appears to be the likelihood of it negatively affecting strategic planning in any district where it intervenes.

    Perhaps if such a thing were more thought out and elaborated upon. Right now, it is nothing more than a big stick.

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    Clustered District?: On your second point, I have a different take though I think understand your point.

    Having lower performing elementary schools in the same cluster as higher performing schools isn’t going to suddenly lower the performance of the higher performing schools. These elementary schools will continue to operate with independence and perhaps you are saying something else.

    If not as the Foundation and others support, what should the re-clustering of Cross Keys look like?

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    I’ve also heard that a “YES” vote for OSD in November opens the door for new school districts to form. I don’t yet know the details of this, but I’m definitely curious to find out more.

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    Correction to the above, it only opens the door for the state to form a new school district.

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