DeKalb County, GA, September 16, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Today, September 16, 2016, is the final day to participate in DeKalb School District’s Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study Online Survey. DeKalb is asking for input from the public on three proposed options formulated to address overcrowding and find solutions through community input.
Recommendations from the study will be incorporated into the Building Master Planning Initiative for the development of the 2017-2022 E-SPLOST project list. Final recommendations will be presented at the Building S.P.A.C.E.S. informational meeting at 7:00 p.m. on September 27, 2016 at the AIC auditorium (1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083)
A number of readers have contacted The Post with concerns the Survey allows more than one input per person, where participants have the ability to select one of three proposed solutions to solve overcrowding – Options A, B or C. The survey also allows participants to suggest other options as well.
On Thursday, The Post inquired with the School Board and the School District about this “voting” issue. The DeKalb School District’s Director of Communications provided us with the following statement:
“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.”
An explanation of the three options and what the School District is proposing are outlined in the handout provided below. The Post also attended the Cross Key meeting on August 25th and shot a video (below) of DeKalb’s presentation.
The three options presented vary in scope, and in cost. And the funding is to come from the 2017-2022 E-SPLOST, which is expected to generate $500 million broken out between $15 million in Safety and Security Improvements, $230 million in New Facilities and Additions, $100 million in Facility Condition Improvements, $65 million in Technology Enhancements and $40 million in School buses, Vehicles and other capital equipment.
The School System says the E-SPLOST program approved by voters on May 24, 2016 would provide somewhere in the range of $230 million over a five-year period for new school construction and classroom additions. Of that $230 million, DeKalb Schools says, approximately $60 million has been committed to build two new elementary schools in the Cross Keys area. That leaves plus or minus $170 million for all remaining new construction and additional new capacity for elementary schools.
The School System recognizes that both Option A ($247 million) and Option C ($224 million) exceed the available $170 million. Therefore, DeKalb Schools notes, “if the Board of Education should move forward with either option, additional funds beyond the sales tax collections (E-SPLOST) would need to be identified.”
DeKalb Schools says 6,500 projected additional students are anticipated to enroll in the DeKalb System by the year 2020.
So what’s going on when?
- Occurring through 11:59 PM September 16th, DeKalb Schools is conducting an online survey on the three options.
- On September 27th, their final recommendation will be presented at the Building S.P.A.C.E.S. informational meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the AIC auditorium located at 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083.
- Between October 4th and 17th, 5 public meetings will be held to present a draft E-SPLOST project list.
- From October 4th thru October 24th, DeKalb will conduct an on-line survey of the E-SPLOST draft project list
- On November 7th, DeKalb School Board Committee of the Whole will discuss the projects on the E-SPLOST list
- On December 5th, the DeKalb School Board will approve the E-SPLOST list
See below for the proposed options and the Survey can be found here.