APS school chief Erroll B. Davis wrote a letter to parents outlining his guiding principles for redistricting. He is careful to explain that his thinking on this issue has “evolved.” The next round of public meetings on the controversial redistricting plans is the week of Jan. 30.
Here are the guiding principles set forth by Davis:
Ranking of Priorities
• Propose boundaries that will be functional for 10 years based on forecasted enrollment.
• Attempt to assign students to schools located closest to their homes. Allow K-8 students to walk where possible. The proximity of ES’s to MS’s should be maximized.
• Attempt to maximize/keep the school feeder concept intact. No more split feeders. Clusters only.
• When evaluating consolidation/closure scenarios and determining which facilities should be retained vs. closed, consideration should be given to minimizing disruption to established educational programming (retain existing IB programs, magnet schools, etc.)
• Ensure student safety and transportation efficiency by using major highway corridors and geographic features as zone boundaries. Give weight to traffic patterns, energy efficiency, etc. Consider time spent on buses.
• Assume NAHS capacity of 2400.
• Minimize impacts on areas that have been redistricted within the last three years.
• Recommend school consolidation/closures in areas where forecasted enrollment does not support multiple schools.
• Attempt to avoid splitting neighborhoods. (Neighborhood boundaries are determined by generally accepted definitions used by the City of Atlanta).
• Favor the retention of newer/larger facilities which have benefitted from recent capital investment in expansion or renovation.
• Retain more accessible, less congested school sites which have better transportation access and can accommodate future long-term expansion beyond the forecast period of this study.
• When consolidating, to the extent possible, avoid closing a high performing school to send children to a lower performing school.
• Don’t eliminate an IB school within an IB cluster.
• Retain ES splitting (K-3, 4-5) as a planning tool.
• Consider SPLOST funded school expansions as a planning tool.
• Be careful in moving students from high performing ES’s to low performing MS’s.
• Balance current utilization of retained buildings to 80% to 90% of capacity.
• In at least one model, minimize the number of transfers across the board.
• Before closing a school, consider the robustness of its partner support.
• No K-8 schools planning until Board reviews/resolves policy issues.
• Eliminate the 9th Grade Academy as a stand alone facility.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog