Dear Editor:

My name is Amy Quinn. I live at 3710 Woodsong Ct, Dunwoody, GA 30338. 

My husband, Frank, and I have three children: Annie, a rising 10th grader at Dunwoody High School; Kelly, a rising 8th grader at Chamblee Middle School; and Brigid, a rising 4th grader at Kittredge Magnet School.

I am reaching out to ask that elected officials and public employees address the overcrowding of our schools immediately. Please accelerate plans to redistrict and build new schools for Chestnut and Kingsley where our city is experiencing the most growth. I challenge you to develop a comprehensive plan for the long-term success of our students. 

Year after year, we know there will be overcrowding at our schools. Yet, more trailers are placed on the grounds of some schools, while others are under capacity. How is it that we can send the high-performing kids to other county schools, but we don’t offer that opportunity for all students? Please prioritize efforts to redistrict so that our kids’ safety is not at risk and they get the experience they deserve. 

In 2012, I took a career opportunity that relocated our family to Atlanta. When choosing where to buy a home, we looked in Roswell, East Cobb, Alpharetta, Brookhaven and Dunwoody. Dunwoody stood out for many reasons, but top among them were the consistently high-performing schools. When we toured Vanderlyn Elementary School, we were told that the trailers on the property were temporary. With that in mind, we chose Dunwoody and have had a great experience here so far. 

If I were driving around with my Realtor today, I would not choose Dunwoody. I would see new schools in most of the communities, except for Dunwoody. I would see public spaces for families to live, work and play. I would see a vibrant arts community anchored by state-of-the art facilities. These investments attract families to their communities. 

By contrast, we have trailers at our schools and dilapidated buildings in our city’s largest public space, Brook Run. If we continue to pass the buck on overcrowded schools, we will fall further behind neighboring communities and more families will choose to not to live here.  

Many people claim overcrowding is the fault of poor planning by the DeKalb County School District.That is simply not fair. 

Look no further than efforts like the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s “ChooseATL” campaign which has driven the explosive population growth in the metro area. Promises of a warmer climate, relatively affordable housing and economic opportunity helped drive nearly 20,000 people to the area in 2017 and 2018 alone. While the rate of population growth here slowing compared to other major markets, it is still on the rise. Other communities are using this growth to their advantage, investing in their arts and entertainment, recreation and housing options. All of this means less tax revenue for Dunwoody, which affects our ability to invest in our schools.

That is why this is not just a DeKalb Schools problem. It’s a community-wide problem. Make no mistake — I am less than impressed by the lack of urgency I see coming from the DOE and DCSD. But I am asking all elected officials and public employees to come together own this issue. Put aside your differences, your politics and your biases and come together for our students. Come together to identify solutions, not point fingers. You have an obligation to deliver solutions in the short- and long-term. Solving the overcrowding issues in Dunwoody is not solely the responsibility of DeKalb County Schools. The implications of this issue extend beyond the safety of our students. It will affect our ability to continue to reap the benefits of the region’s growth and thrive as a community. 

-Amy Quinn

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