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DeKalb Schools sues city of Atlanta over Emory, CDC annexation

The DeKalb County School District is taking legal action against the city of Atlanta over what district officials call an “11th-hour change” to the annexation of Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control.

The annexation — 744 acres, the largest by Atlanta since Buckhead was annexed 65 years ago — was approved by the Atlanta City Council on Dec. 4. The area became part of Atlanta in January. The students affected will become part of the Atlanta Public Schools system on July 1.

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Some DeKalb residents say they’re concerned with the changes.

District officials have expressed concerns since last fall about the annexation, saying they were initially told it would not impact the school district. Days before the Atlanta City Council voted on the ordinance, DeKalb County School District officials said the proposal was changed to reflect growth for APS, receiving $2.5 million in tax funds and nine students eligible to attend public schools.

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“The result could not be more unfair,” district officials said. “If left unchallenged, the ordinance will effectively transfer to APS from (the) DeKalb County School District over $2 million dollars in tax revenue, when APS is already the richest school system in Georgia.

“Our complaint seeks an immediate injunction against the expansion of APS boundaries into the annexed area, and a permanent injunction invalidating the annexation ordinance.”

Emory University, the CDC and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are being annexed into the city of Atlanta. The city’s 744-acre expansion grows it eastward into DeKalb County. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green said in December that he was disappointed by tactics used to deceive his district during negotiations, and suggested that he was willing to file legal action if APS and the city of Atlanta  were unwilling to find a solution. The district unsuccessfully sought legislative intervention to address the annexation and future requests.

“We upheld our side of the bargain and publicly supported the annexation,” Green said. “Then, (former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed) conspired with APS to amend the ordinance and unjustly enrich APS at the expense of DeKalb County and our school district. How could a city council engage in such a blatant bait and switch? We hope a court will right this wrong.”

RELATED: What is the CDC and what does it do?

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