Crowding at six schools along Buford Highway, the Cross Keys cluster of schools, meant hundreds of students were attending class in trailers, called portable classrooms, like those shown. Green said addressing that problem was long overdue and proposed a redistricting plan that would shuffle students throughout the district and, eventually, build a new high school and middle school and two elementaries. After a series of hearings, the school board OK'd redistricting, in March.
Green arrives by helicopter in November at Stone Mountain Middle School to announce a partnership with Experience Aviation, The Flying Classroom and the Ford Motor Company Fund on STEM -- science, technology, math and engineering -- projects. Other changes in Green's first few months included a staff reorganization with several people hired who had worked with him in Kansas City, and the district's decision to become a "strategic waiver system," with exemption from some state regulation in exchange for more accountability for better student performance. DeKalb schools regained full accreditation early in 2016, after being on probation because of past management and governance problems. KENT D. JOHNSON/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
This month, Green submitted the first budget he has proposed for DeKalb schools. It's nearly $76 million more than the one for the previous school year and includes a districtwide 3 percent pay raise as well as money for recruitment and retention bonuses. Noting the increase, several board members were cautious about increased spending, mentioning past budgeting and management issues that led to a $14 million deficit in 2013. Many of the budget highlights are connected to district plans to revamp curriculum and instruction and retain the best teachers to increase student achievement, eliminating more than two dozen schools from a risk of state oversight through Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed Opportunity School District. Green's plan to turn around schools at risk of state takeover calls for a sharp focus on curriculum, heavy parental involvement and millions of dollars to get top teachers into struggling schools.