Tuesday, February 2, 2016

DeKalb County Schools Community Input: Midvale Elementary and
Cross Keys HS Cluster Over-Crowding Options

The following are two of the comments made by citizens at the DCSD Board of Education Community Input session of the 2/1/16 BOE meeting. (As an aside, watching the students from Stone Mountain HS plead for better facility conditions was hard to hear. Children should not have to advocate for their own education)

Cross Keys HS teacher and community member Ms. Rebekah Morris spoke to the options that DCSD has provided to help alleviate the overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster.  You can read her statement at the following link:  http://georgianeducator.org/2016/01/31/which-option-is-best-for-the-cross-keys-cluster/.

Below are the remarks concerning the conditions of Midvale ES by Kirk Lunde: 

Good Evening BOE members and Dr. Green. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this evening. My name is Kirk Lunde and I am here to speak on behalf Midvale Elementary. Beside me is Meg Thomas, who is the president of the Midvale School Council. She will kick me if I get out of hand.
Both of my sons went to Midvale. It is a wonderful school which is an International Baccalaureate Primary Years School and is “STEM ready”. Midvale will be STEM certified soon.  The teachers and staff at Midvale are exemplary. There is a lot of love within that school.
However, the physical structure of the school is old and needs to be updated. The Midvale School Council does not think the school needs to be rebuilt, but it does need to have its deficiencies addressed in SPLOST V.
Earlier today, I emailed each of you a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet documents the items deemed "Necessary" and "Potentially Critical" in the 2011 Facility Condition Assessment which did not get addressed in SPLOST IV.
Parking Lots were added to the spreadsheet because they are 24 years past their service life and are currently a hazard. The items found to be "Discretionary" in 2011 that are on this list include things which the School Council believes should also be addressed due to their age. If you look at the "Remaining Service Life" you will see, on average, these items are 23.5 years overdue to be updated.  
Mrs. Turner has talked about schools which have patches on patches. Midvale has not been patched yet.
At this time, Midvale is not fully handicap accessible. There is a lift in the northwest stairwell, but it has not worked in more than 8 years. This non-functioning lift is not mentioned in the 2011 Facility Condition Assessment. In the 2015 Facility Condition Assessment (FCA), it is listed as being halfway through its service life. The fact that it is non-functioning is not noted anywhere. The Midvale School Council is requesting the lift is repaired or replaced as soon as possible. It should have been included in SPLOST IV ADA accessibility upgrades, but wasn't.
Also, the 2015 FCA noted, regarding the bathrooms, "Fittings, such as toilet partitions, handrails and signage, are beyond their expected service life, not ADA compliant, and should be replaced.” The school council has asked Dr. Keating, the district’s bathroom consultant, to verify that statement. All code violations and accessibility issues need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Some students and staff have allergy symptoms while at Midvale which go away when they are not inside of the building. The most likely cause of this is the HVAC system. The 2015 FCA scores it as nearly new, but notes it needs $480,000 worth of repairs.  The 2015 Facility Educational Adequacy Assessment states, "The HVAC is inconsistent. Mold is an ongoing problem."  Yet, the HVAC is rated as "Good." The School Council believes the HVAC system needs attention, but is worried it won’t get any because it is rated as “Good.”
This raises the question, what is the process for validating the assessments? Ideally, some of the million-dollar consultants would meet with the Midvale School Council to explain the them and get feedback. How can that happen? If not, what can the School Council do to make corrections to these assessments?
Midvale Elementary has been waiting more than 20 years for significant renovations. 15 of the systems identified in the 2011 FCA passed their “End of Life,” on average, 23.5 years ago. Midvale needs to be prioritized ahead of schools which have had upgrades within the last 20 years. When you are  presented with a project list for SPLOST V, please ask which of the schools have been updated within the last 20 years... and please remember, Midvale has been waiting longer.
Thank you very much for your attention to Midvale’s needs.  
You can view the 2011 and 2015 assessments referred to in Mr. Lunde's remarks at the following link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vu3syW9UJhM9L90zJS0Np3bzAc1w1ApMtIuX-eTAnJE/edit
Note:  The updated DCSD timeline indicates the Assessment Data and Enrollment/Capacity Data will be available on the DCSD website March 11th: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/operations/building-spaces/timeline/ 


  1. Thank you for posting this.
    I want to share that emails asking how to make corrections to the assessments have gone unanswered.
    Also, the 2015 Facility Condition Assessments have not been shared with school councils. I obtained Midvale's through an open records request.
    Dr. Green's promise of a responsive administration seems to have been forgotten and, apparently, there continues to be no accountability within the AIC. Sorry if that sounds bitter. The errors in these assessments need to be corrected and nobody is responding with a mechanism to do that.

    1. Kirk, Has there been any movement on this?

    2. I got Dr. Green to reply to my follow up email by CC'ing State School Superintendent Woods, but the questions are still unanswered.