DeKalb County, GA, May 5, 2017 – by Stan Jester, DeKalb County School District Board of Education Member – In DeKalb Schools there are almost 4,000 open high school seats across the county. We could redistrict tomorrow and all of our problems with over burdened common spaces and over crowded high schools in Dunwoody and Chamblee would be instantly gone.
However, the school district will be adding 600 – 750 seats at Lakeside High School, Dunwoody High School, and Chamblee Charter High School to balance out the racial diversity and socio-economics of the student populations attending those schools as well as evenly distribute the students from Doraville and Buford Hwy across more affluent schools. I believe there are many reasons why the school district has chosen this path. The main one is they do not want to redistrict because the guidelines for redistricting wouldn’t accomplish the demographic blend they are seeking in North DeKalb.
In the mean time, here is the plan for trailers at the High Schools in Dunwoody and Chamblee.
Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS)
Chamblee Charter HS awaits the addition of 600 more seats expected to be completed on or shortly after the Fall of 2020. Fall 2016 enrollment was 1,624 students. CCHS can expect a Fall 2017 enrollment of about 1,721 students and 4 new classroom trailers. If construction of the seat additions is finished on time, CCHS should max out at 10 trailers by 2020.
Dunwoody High School (DHS)
In the Fall of 2016, DHS had approx 1,822 students and 4 trailers. 2 modulars were recently added. DHS is expected to have at least 12 portable classrooms before the seat additions are completed. It is undetermined where those trailers will go and if they will ever be inspected by the city.
On Monday, the Dunwoody Council will vote on an MOU with the School District for building plan review and inspection of capital and facilities improvements projects within the city boundaries. While the school district and the city bang out the details of the MOU, will our children are going to school in un-inspected trailers?
Note: Dunwoody High School, Chamblee Charter High School and Lakeside High School are expected to be at 100% capacity after all SPLOST V projects are completed.
Question – Wouldn’t it be best to build the schools a little bit larger to allow for higher than expected attendance levels in the future? Put another way, why build to a utilization of 100% rather than adding additional capacity?
School District Answer – District staff are aware of the uncertainty inherent in any future forecasting. Rather than risk the cost of “overbuilding” by adding much more capacity than is needed, or “underbuilding” by building much less capacity than is needed, the District is recommending adding capacity as the forecast data indicates is needed. These forecasts will be updated annually as we track demographic shifts across the District. Our buildings will be designed so that, if warranted, we can add additional building capacity to accommodate future student capacity needs at each school where possible.