Druid Hills Charter Cluster group withdraws petition, alleges fraud

The leaders of a proposal to place a cluster of DeKalb County public schools under independent charter management have withdrawn their petition, accusing the school district of fraud.

In a letter delivered Wednesday to the DeKalb school board — and copied to high-ranking officials, including state and local prosecutors — the Druid Hills Charter Cluster leadership alleged that county school district administrators misled the school board.

The letter, provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Matthew Lewis, the chairman of the petitioning group, says district administrators “actively mischaracterized material facts, the law, and statutorily mandated budget calculations.” The group is calling for an independent investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution “to the fullest extent of the law.”

In a parting shot, the letter says DeKalb’s separate proposal for a petition to the Georgia Department of Education to become a charter district is a “pretense” to obtain waivers from state mandates, such as caps on class sizes, “and divert more funds to the central office.”

The cluster, which would have encompassed Druid Hills High and its feeder schools, is being abandoned to “give life” to other options, such as annexation and cityhood, the letter says. Neighborhood leaders in Druid Hills have been discussing annexation with the city of Atlanta.

District officials issued a statement that said the charter cluster petition did not address deficienices noted by the administration. The statement did not address the allegations in the letter.

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