Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chamblee Charter High School Cluster: ACT NOW to Delay the Board Vote on Dec. 5th - Construction and Redistricting Update

Many in the Chamblee Charter HS cluster are seeking a delay in the Board of Education vote for the E-SPLOST V project list scheduled for December 5th.  Below is an email forwarded to me outlining what they are requesting.

I applaud this community's vigilance and, as a CHS alum, share many of their concerns, but I am not sure they will be able to delay that vote.  If the E-SPLOST project plan is approved as is, this will be a monumental change in the "way things are done" in DCSD.  CCHS will be affected by the E-SPLOST V plans far more than any other high school in the district has ever been affected by a swarth of facility additions/redistricting. Split Feeders have never been utilized within DCSD.  The district is heading into the unknown.   It is imperative that DCSD acknowledge this and Central Office personnel put forth a serious and consistent effort to fully participate in bringing forth these changes.  Do not task the CCHS or Sequoyah MS Principals, Assistant Principals or Teachers at these schools alone, or with little support, to perform the work that will be necessary to integrate this massive restructuring.  There is more work here than just building an addition to Chamblee HS and redistricting Sequoyah MS. 

Just my two cents...

However, I do not support a Doraville HS.  Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman also does not support a new Doraville HS at this time. Mayor Pittman's focus seems to be making sure the promised Doraville elementary school is built.  Please see Rebekah Morris' updated blog post:

Email Campaign to DeKalb School Board Members

Dear CCHS, CMS and Elementary School Families, Community and Neighbors:
WE NEED YOUR VOICE!! The DeKalb County School Board (DCSB) is scheduled to vote December 5th on a plan for the construction of an addition to and re-districting at CCHS as well as other county schools. These plans have been constantly evolving and shifting, with the final iteration provided to the DCSB only last week. This vote must be postponed to give our communities and representatives the opportunity to both review the proposal and consider alternatives. It is simply too important to rush this. Stan Jester, our DCSB representative, agrees that the vote should be postponed.

Please email and call every School Board representatives multiple times between now and the scheduled December 5th vote to request that the vote be postponed. Without your voice, this plan may be approved without adequate consideration for its impacts or alternatives.

The proposed plan includes a 600-seat addition onto CCHS without any additional land purchase, even though the proposal acknowledges the "extremely limited site acreage" that would leave CCHS "23.9 acres under the recommended state minimum for a school its size." For additional details about the building plan, click
HERE. In addition, CCHS would become the only dual-feeder high school in Dekalb County.

Here is a sample email you can send:

Dear DeKalb School Board Member:

As a member of the Chamblee Charter High School cluster community, I implore you to postpone the pre-maturely scheduled December 5th vote on the proposed construction and redistricting plan. I do not believe that either the School Board or the affected communities have been provided with adequate time and information to properly consider this plan or develop alternatives that are less disruptive and more feasible. This plan is too important and too expensive to rush.

Here is a list of emails that you can cut and paste, plus additional contact information below:
Dr. Melvin Johnson,, 678-676-0027
Dr. Michael A. Erwin,, 678-676-0027
Mr. Stan O. Jester,, 678-676-0027
Mr. James L. "Jim" McMahan,, 678-676-0027
Dr. Joyce Morley,, 678-676-0027
Mr. Marshall D. Orson,, 678-676-0027


  1. I'll give Donna P credit, at least she's saying something. Dunwoody mayor/council are silent on the expansion of schools in Dunwoody. I recall, somewhere, hearing the Doraville mayor talking about how unfair it was Doraville didn't have its own high school. She made great points. One thing she said was how Doraville students had a tough time participating in before/after school activities due to transportation. She spoke about the pride a new school would bring her community. Wonder why the sudden change. In DeKalb, anything is possible. Mayor P, why the change? Your community doesn't deserve a high school anymore? Inquiring minds want to know. Why the flip after meeting with DeKalb School officials? Something promised?

    1. Call her and she will gladly speak with you. Many people already have. I did!

    2. I reached out to Mayor Pittman this morning - with support for her.


    See the audio file at link above? People need to know why the sudden change of heart.

  3. So is Mr. Jester throwing Mayor Pittman under the bus?

    I'll have more thoughts on this tomorrow.

  4. Pittman was on NPR making the case for a Doraville High School. Now she doesn't want her city to have one. Stan just putting the information out there for everyone to see and hear. I' bet people want to know why she changed her mind.

    I favor a cluster here in Dunwoody that reflects city borders. We will have seats for those at Hightower and live in Dunwoody to attend Elem school in Dunwoody.

  5. Why did Mr. Jester post a 2015 video? He had to know the vitriol that would be focused toward Mayor Pittman because she changed her priorities. I also question his motive behind posting the letter from the Kingsley and Chesnut student councils.

  6. He posts everything, even when people disagree with him. There was a time when our board reps wouldn't tell us anything, and one time we awoke to a 4th-5th grade 'academy'. The reasons she gave for a new high school in 2015 are just as relevant today. The big issue is that many people in Dunwoody, Lakeside, and Chamblee do not want 2100+ sized high schools. The only way to avoid that is to build a new one, somewhere, anywhere. I'd rather have more and not less information on school issues. Mayor Pittman has the right to speak her mind. Is there anyone talking to other council members, parents and students in Doraville? I only know a few of people there, and 3 of the 6 liked the idea of a high school in Doraville.

  7. I wonder if the Board of Education would be willing to approve Categories 1, 3, 4, and 5 of the E-SPLOST-V Project List and take some more time with Category 2. Category 2 is New Facilities and Additions.

    The District's plan proposes to spend $202.5 million and end up with Lakeside HS, Dunwoody HS, the new Cross Keys HS, and Chamblee Charter HS all at 99%-100% capacity after the money is spent. The District is planning to make CCHS a 2400 seat high school on less than half of the land that the state of Georgia recommends. How is this good for students, teachers, or the community?

    Further, the District's plan removed one of the long-promised Cross Keys cluster elementary schools. How does that match the District's motto of "Building Trust Together"?

    Surely it is sensible to take a second look at the plan for new schools and additions.

    1. Or, perhaps not undertake all of the additions at once? Maybe a caveat, "if needed"? I think the district needs to go ahead and build the new ES in Doraville, build the HS on the old Briarcliff property to relieve the massive overcrowding at Lakeside/Cross Keys. Then reassess? Do all projects have to be begun at one time? As we saw with the building in S. DeKalb, population trends changed and now we have many buildings totally underutilized. A phased, as needed approach, perhaps?

  8. D-Mom,

    I'm confused. You side with Chamblee as they oppose (yes, a delay in vote is because they oppose it) a 600 seat addition, yet support Kingsley Chesnut and DHS for supporting a 600 seat addition in Dunwoody. Why is 600 more seats okay for DHS but not Chamblee?

  9. I would like to apologize for some of my comments that I posted on Sunday. They could have come across as snarky and mean. I learned my lesson about posting while trying to rid myself of a migraine.