Dunwoody Elementary School in Dunwoody, Georgia, on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. North DeKalb parents are riled by a redistricting plan that would move about 800 students into new school zones, beginning the process of alleviating overcrowding in many north county schools and reduce the need for portable classrooms. District officials presented the plan during DeKalb's monthly school board meeting and say it is necessary to lighten the load for those schools.

DeKalb County Board of Education to vote on redistricting plan

The DeKalb County Board of Education could approve a controversial redistricting plan today that would seek to alleviate overcrowding in the district’s northern end by moving a popular magnet program and moving Dunwoody Elementary School’s fourth and fifth graders to another facility, among other changes.

According to the plan, the Kittredge Magnet School would move from its current home at Nancy Creek, 1663 East Nancy Creek Drive NE in Brookhaven, to the former John Lewis Elementary School at 2383 North Druid Hills Road in Atlanta. The Nancy Creek facility would house fourth and fifth graders from Dunwoody Elementary, which currently is more than 200 students over capacity, holding about 1,175 students. 

The board will vote on the plan during its monthly board meeting tonight at district headquarters. The new attendance areas would go into effect July 1.

Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson, when she began presenting it last month, said her plan would begin to provide relief to overcrowding while populating a new elementary school and for families to feel minimal disruption.

Several of the affected families disagree.

“I’m shocked by the process by which the system proposed and I’m disappointed they’re voting on this tonight, especially with no community input or feedback,” said parent Hela Sheth, who participated in several community input meetings last fall. “It seems very knee-jerk, hasty and half-baked.” 

Sheth said details of how the Dunwoody Elementary split will happen, expected to be released in the days following a school board vote, could put some parents at ease. Those details also could be additional ammunition against the moves. Parents have suggested using empty seats in the new Austin Elementary School to help with overcrowding, too. 

“Details matter,” Sheth said. “What time would the new Dunwoody Elementary School (Grade 4 and 5 annex) start? What time would buses come to and from school to handle the traffic? Will there be a music program? Will there be after-school programs? To release (this plan) on Friday and vote on it today ... is unconscionable and a violation of public trust.

“Yes, this provides relief, but this is not a reasonable solution.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.