DeKalb Superintendent Steve Green said in a statement Friday celebrating the decision that he hoped all parties involved would return to the negotiating table “in a spirit of cooperation” regarding the matter.
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.
APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen at the time pointed to her district’s charter, which stipulated it grew when Atlanta did.
Changes made before the final vote had the effect of transferring that money and four students from the district to Atlanta Public Schools, the district argued.
DeKalb Schools was set to hand over students included in the 744-acre annexation on July 1. Tax revenue in the affected area would not change hands until Jan. 1, 2019.
Robbie Ashe, an attorney representing the city of Atlanta, argued that the school district had already debated the annexation matter under a previous annexation lawsuit several years before, bringing up the Emory annexation because it was already expected.
He also said the city was within its rights to change an ordinance after it was presented.
“If they thought it was urgent, they should have filed in December, January, February,” Ashe said. “They sat and waited. The urgency is of their own making.”
Parks argued that a late change to the annexation ordinance reversed previous conversations in which the school district was assured it would not be affected in the process, and violated the city’s charter.
“Up to that point, we had been supportive of the annexation,” DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green said previously. “We’ve been trying to find some kind of mutually agreeable situation, but we’ve said we were ready to take legal action if needed.”
The annexation creates the potential for MARTA to build a light-rail line from Lindbergh Center station to the Emory campus. A MARTA line could be built using city sales tax revenue that isn’t collected in unincorporated DeKalb County.