DUNWOODY, Ga. — The redistricting process for DeKalb County elementary schools in Dunwoody continued with a second public meeting Oct. 23, when the district laid out three possible enrollment plans. 

Austin, Chesnut, Dunwoody, Hightower Kingsley and Vanderlyn elementary schools will be impacted by the new plan, set to go into effect August 2020.

The final public input meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Dunwoody High School auditorium, when the school district staff will present their recommended plan.

The redistricting plan is expected to go before the School Board for a first read in January 2020 and for adoption in February.

Redistricting has come about with the anticipated opening of the new Austin Elementary School in January 2020. The school will have 950 seats, 450 more than the current school which has 500 seats, but 711 students enrolled.

During the first round of input, parents and community members raised concerns about traffic — particularly on Robert Drive, Mount Vernon Road and neighborhood cut-throughs — and relieving overcrowding at Dunwoody Elementary School. 

With 1,177 students Dunwoody Elementary is the largest elementary school in the cluster and, along with the next largest Hightower Elementary, is more than 200 students over capacity. 

The three options presented by the school district are 1) to balance enrollment as equally as possible, 2) to balance enrollment as equally as possible without adding portable classrooms at the new Austin Elementary or 3) to help relieve the Dunwoody cluster by shifting some of Hightower’s enrollment to Doraville United Elementary School. 

Under the third option, the students currently zoned for Hightower would continue to feed into Peachtree Middle School and Dunwoody High School.

Redistricting options

DeKalb County School District enrollment projections illustrate the difference between the redistricting options. Under option three, 106 students currently zoned for Hightower would attend Doraville United Elementary. 

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3 Field 4 Field 5 Field 6 Field 7 Field 8 Field 9
School Name Current Districts Option 1: Balance Enrollment Option 2: No trailers at Austin Option 3: Hightower to Doraville
Enrollment Trailers Enrollment Trailers Enrollment Trailers Enrollment Trailers
Hightower 748 11 662 7 651 7 625 5
Dunwoody 1,177 12 1,064 9 1,133 11 1,026 7
Vanderlyn 689 11 695 11 716 11 681 11
Chesnut 452 5 429 4 465 6 425 4
Kingsley 442 0 531 5 531 5 519 5
New Austin 711 0 1,055 5 940 0 1,054 5

All three plans would leave dozens of trailers in use and the Dunwoody cluster hundreds of students over capacity, leading some community members to call for a new elementary school. The school district has said using the old Austin Elementary School site is not feasible.

For all schools, rising 5th graders would have the option to continue at their current school, but no transportation would be provided by the school district.

The official criteria for school districts are primarily geographic proximity, instructional capacity and projected enrollment.

When the primary criteria indicate more than one option, the secondary criteria are safety and traffic patterns, previous redistricting, intact neighborhoods, special programs, condition of facility, school feeder alignment and efficient and economical operations.

For more information, visit dekalbschoolsga.org/operations/planning/redistricting/.

CORRECTION: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated that the enrollment at Dunwoody Elementary is 1,777 students. The correct enrollment is 1,177, according to reports provided by the DeKalb School district.

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