DUNWOODY, Ga. — Austin Elementary will close its doors to students come January, and the City of Dunwoody will decide the fate of the property on Roberts Drive, according to Mayor Denis Shortal.
The mayor made the announcement May 20 before the City Council, adding that earlier doubt about whether the school district wanted to hang onto the property has been settled.
“It is now a dead issue and we will go forward with our plans for that property,” Shortal said, adding that future plans will be developed through open discussions with citizens.
The closing comes as a new Austin Elementary School that seats 900 students will open about a half mile away in January.
The school district arranged an agreement with the city in 2016 to lease the property for classes at a rate of $63,100 a month so that classes could continue while construction on the new property continues.
The school had been using portable classrooms to relieve overcrowding, and the district has needed greater capacity for elementary school students for years. Once the new Austin Elementary opens, the district collectively will be more than 500 seats over capacity, a statement from DeKalb Schools said.
To further relieve the district’s overcrowded schools, a general obligation bond is expected to be proposed formally at the next Board of Education meeting in June, as suggested by DeKalb Schools Superintendent Stephen Green in a community meeting in March. The money from the bond could fund construction of another elementary school in the Dunwoody or Chamblee area.
The old Austin Elementary school will remain in use for the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year.