APS posts new maps and scenarios for redistricting. Are these any better?

Atlanta Public School has just posted its new redistricting scenarios and maps. Take a look and let us know what you think. Several of the files are long and will take a while to download.

I have dozens of notes from readers and friends unhappy about the first round of options. Are these any better?

If not, what scenarios can you suggest that can both deal with the serious overcrowding at some beloved schools and treat all students fairly?

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

272 comments Add your comment

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
5:47 pm

I’ve been looking at the maps for the last hour and I just came on here to see if you were discussing it yet. From our perspective they are better and make more sense. We like B MUCH better than A.

rojer

January 27th, 2012
5:47 pm

Better for me.

Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

January 27th, 2012
6:08 pm

I am a fan of B upon first glance. Much better overall.

option A

January 27th, 2012
6:26 pm

Vigorous support for Option A here.

Option B

January 27th, 2012
7:46 pm

Think B is a much better, fairer option. Do not like A at all.

Mike

January 27th, 2012
7:48 pm

Huge fan of B. A is inequitable and does not provide a fair solution.

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
7:58 pm

We are getting put into the new North Atlanta middle school in both options. I didn’t see that coming. Our elementary doesn’t get rezoned again so that is nice, but unfortunately my 5th grader would have to go to overcrowded Sutton for a year and then move to the new school, which I’m assuming won’t be IB certified for a while. Bummer. In option A it looks like they are just trying to fill that nice big campus right up. As far as I can tell, it only leaves Smith and Jackson feeding into Sutton. I don’t think that is such a good idea. Option B spreads it out more evenly.

I do not care for Option B

January 27th, 2012
8:12 pm

It seems most on here like Option B, but there are those of us out there who are harmed by it – the Kirkwood neighborhood is sliced directly in half by Option B with half of the neighborhood sent across I-20 over 2 miles away and the other half sent to Toomer is less than 1 mile away.

I know everyone cant’ have everything they want in redistricting, but some of the first priority guiding principles given to the demographers by Superintendent Davis were to keep elementary-aged students in schools closest to their homes and to keep neighborhoods together. While this may be have worked out for some neighborhoods under Option B, it did not work out that way for mine. Obviously, I don’t like it.

elmo

January 27th, 2012
8:14 pm

Option B is clearly more fair and provides a better overall plan than A. Neither is perfect, but if need to pick one Option B is definitely superior.

APS Mom

January 27th, 2012
8:18 pm

I like B much better

APS Mom Also

January 27th, 2012
8:19 pm

I agree with comments about B. Not perfect, but much better than A

A Dad with 3 kids

January 27th, 2012
8:20 pm

I see that B is most positive. After looking at maps, I agree. I am have same effect with both, but believe that B is fairer and more equitable.

Another Dad

January 27th, 2012
8:25 pm

I do not usually respond to these type of things, but feel like I should. I really like B much better than A. I am not sure what they were thinking with A.

There is a sickness in GA

January 27th, 2012
8:25 pm

If you like an option better say why, as @I do not care for Option B did, otherwise it is impossible for a person to understand why you think one option is better than another. Saying I like option b better, is no help at all.

Option B Supporter

January 27th, 2012
8:26 pm

In fairness to the demographers, the division of Kirkwood using Hosea Williams and Oakview is one that seems natural to many Kirkwood residents. It is the dividing line between Northeast and Southeast Atlanta and a lot of the newest development has occurred on the Northside of that line.

To add that part of Kirkwood to the Inman School district — as it is already a part of the Grady cluster — also makes sense for a neighborhood whose home values look much more like Lake Claire and Candler Park than Edgewood. Teardowns of homes, in the area north of Hosea, seems to be every other house on some blocks. New residents routinely decide between older Candler Park and newer homes just south of Dekalb Avenue, with similar pricing. (Newer homes in Kirkwood and renovations along Howard have routinely listed for north of $500,000.) While there are many families who have renovated homes south of Hosea, most of the activity is to the north.

The major problem for Option B for families South of Hosea is not so much losing Toomer as an elementary school — which has been a gem of small class sizes and excellent instruction contrary to what neighbors north of Dekalb assert without visiting the school — but rather the unwieldy Coan. Literally every concentrated area of poverty east of Peachtree Street is included in the middle school with little countervailing factors. Although many Eastsiders have considered Burgess-Peterson & Toomer for elementary school, particularly in grades K-2, very few of the yuppies that do so for the younger grades would even consider Coan for middle school as it is currently configured. Option B would make Coan an impossibility for many and should be reconfigured as a result.

There is a sickness in GA

January 27th, 2012
8:35 pm

Does anyone know if they are still trying to push that k-2, 3-5 stuff through. I see some districts have two ES in the same color block, does that mean that APS will being doing the k-2, 3-5 model in those areas? I tired loading some of the other .pdfs on the APS web site, but it took to long so I didn’t see if they have said anything about that.

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
8:40 pm

Load the summary form and read down to the elementary options and you will see the ones still being considered for splits.

There is a sickness in GA

January 27th, 2012
8:42 pm

Another question to the politically savvy among you. When the Republican get Milton County thanks to their pending gerrymandered Super-majority, might that affect APS and its districts at all? Or are none of the proposed parts of “Milton Co.” in APS’ area.

I do not care for Option B

January 27th, 2012
8:50 pm

I disagree that the dividing line “feels natural to many Kirkwood residents,” Option B Supporter. It doesn’t. We are a neighborhood. I have a “Welcome to Kirkwood” sign on our house, I vote in a Kirkwood voting precinct, and I have always felt pride in our WHOLE neighborhood, not just a section of it.

To suggest otherwise is insulting to me as I have believed that, for the past ten years I have lived here, that I am a part of the neighborhood of Kirkwood. Also, I believe your assertions give a false picture of what the majority of our neighborhood believes to others like the demographers and school board.

Maybe if you live north of Hosea you want very much to believe that the totally arbitrary neighborhood divide created by the demographers has actually existed before and is real now that you have a shot at Mary Lin and remaining at Grady, but the reality is that Option B just tears our neighborhood apart. I don’t feel that dividing line as apparently you do, Option B Supporter, and I have never felt it at our Spring Fling, at our neighborhood meetings, or at other neighborhood gatherings.

Certainly, we have enough problems with redistricting as it is, and all schools within APS have a lot of challenges to overcome. I don’t really want to fight with others that live in my area, but Option B Supporter, do you really think it’s fair to send my children over two miles away into the East Atlanta neighborhood to elementary school when Toomer is a mile away and in my own?

I have never been one of the parents who desperately want to get into Lin, and I understand the practicality of being rezoned to Jackson for high school. I think Burgess-Peterson is a beautiful school with exciting things happening actually. I just can’t walk there, and all of my children’s Kirkwood friends are going to Toomer as I believe mine should be.

There is a sickness in GA

January 27th, 2012
8:52 pm

@frustrated APS mom Thanks, it finally loaded for me. Well, I got everything I wanted in both options…still I feel bad that some people are going to have to endure the K-1, 2-5 “Grade Center Concept.”

I’ve hear anecdotal stories about students from out of the district going to APS schools. I have no idea if its a real problem, but if it is that might blow up all these demographic models.

Another Mom

January 27th, 2012
8:56 pm

@ frustrated mom – it looks like Garden Hills is being sent to Sutton in both scenarios as well as Smith and Jackson.

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
9:00 pm

I don’t think so. Look again.

bootney farnsworth

January 27th, 2012
9:05 pm

yet another reason I thank God my kid isn’t in APS

Another Mom

January 27th, 2012
9:08 pm

@ frustrated APS mom – it’s not in option A, but Garden Hills is zoned for Sutton in option B.

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
9:10 pm

Yes, that is what I said. :) That is why I like B better.

Another Mom

January 27th, 2012
9:22 pm

@frustrated APS mom – am I reading the map correctly? Are they also adding another school to the North Atlanta middle and high school cluster? Look farther down.

Freddie

January 27th, 2012
9:24 pm

I’m not sure I understand the objection to the concept of K-1, 2-5 schools. Both WT Jackson and SR Smith Elementary Schools in Buckhead are split this way (SRS actually is K-2 and 3-5), and it works quite well. These schools have been very successful with this model. My son attended K at one and 1st grade at the other, and I can say that it was very nice for him to start off his elementary school years without the distractions of older children. At both WTJ and SRS, the school principal is based at the intermediary campus, but the primary campus has a dedicated assistant principal who effectively is the principal of the primary campus. This enables the school leadership to really tailor their efforts to the narrow range of ages of their students. The same buses serve both the primary and intermediate campus, so parents with children at both schools aren’t inconvenienced by different bus schedules. From my experience, these bifurcated schools are a plus.

APSMomTo3

January 27th, 2012
9:24 pm

@Another Mom – yes, I believe that’s Centennial Place.

They both stink!!!!

January 27th, 2012
9:26 pm

Now instead of moving around the western E Rivers families, they are moving around the eastern E Rivers families. It all looks like social engineering and greased wheels to me!

Option B Supporter

January 27th, 2012
9:26 pm

@I do not care for Option B

I am not suggesting that the area south of Hosea is not in Kirkwood, just that if you needed to divide the neighborhood Hosea makes more sense than Delano — which was in the prior maps. There are maps that refer to the area south of Hosea as South Kirkwood, so it’s not a completely foreign concept.

Although the One-Neighborhood concept you suggest has a dividing line that is not geographic but is demographic. The Spring Fling in years past has played Bluegrass and Acoustic Country, which is fine, but certainly has created the odd scene of an overwhelmingly White community (and newer) in the midst of an historically Black community that does not participate. The neighborhood organization and to a lesser extent the PTA, has a similar divide. There are two groups, middle class to upper income yuppies and older and poorer African Americans who exist in the same space, but separately, save Toomer. (Compare Aces with Kirkwood Bar & Grill, the BP gas station versus anywhere else.) And the older African American community does not have nearly the voice in it’s “neighborhood organizations”, though it is clearly in the majority.

Since most neighborhoods do not have anywhere near this level of day to day interaction, even if one group can seem invisible to the other, this is not altogether a negative sign on what is an impressively diverse mosaic. Outside of the Eastside neighborhoods, many who complain about redistricting Citywide talk about redistricting with the hope that they can resegregate their kids in special programs to match the fairly homogenous nature of their own communities. So Kirkwood is special in that the parents are typically not just advocating for their own kids in a zero-sum detriment of other children.

What concerns me is when those in the Kirkwood leadership deem to speak on behalf of the entire community without having polled that other silent group that they co-exist with. (This was a problem when Dorsey was the Councilperson for new residents, so the problem cuts both ways.)

Option B provides for some of the neighborhood a much better middle school option, Inman over Coan. While for those who have the funds to supplement their child’s education with their own resources, and college-educated environment, there are other kids who lack that opportunity and have the right to have their wishes heard about Inman or Coan. (In fact, the huge numbers of kids who attend Drew Charter school suggest they have already made their decision.)

If some of the neighborhood wish to attend Jackson, as opposed to Grady as most of the neighborhood currently does, that’s fine. My only issue is to say that “the neighborhood” is in support, usually means the Spring Fling crowd and not the Branham rec football crowd.

My sense of what is best for Kirkwood, which I would say runs from Memorial to Dekalb, Wyman to 2nd Avenue, is that the area not included Toomer/Lin split, should be included. Toomer has very few school aged kids. (The Pre-K is 50% of the school and has more Mary Lin and SPARK kids than Toomer kids.) There are probably less than 40 kids who would be affected by the change and would do little to the attendance patterns.

Another Mom

January 27th, 2012
9:30 pm

@ Aps Mom – Wow, that’s a loooong haul to high school!

North Atlanta = Centennial Place?

January 27th, 2012
9:31 pm

Why would a non-IB, central to south Atlanta school be put in the overcrowded North Atlanta cluster? It makes no sense. Morningside being added to North Atlanta made more sense than that, and that didn’t make much sense!

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
9:33 pm

I think it is Cent. Place too. Do they feed into Inman and Grady now?

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
9:34 pm

And I agree. That is a very long way for those kids to go to high school. Why would they make this change?

North Atlanta = Centennial Place?

January 27th, 2012
9:43 pm

@frustrated APS mom, they made that change because the Morningside Elementary people were supposed to be added to the North Atlanta cluster, which if you looked at the districts as puzzle pieces, made some sense because they are actually physically located somewhat in North Atlanta, as they are almost directly east of E Rivers current student population, and not any more south than E Rivers current student population. However, when that was proposed in the initial options, the extremely vocal population of ME got out their pitchforks and held their breath, etc., until they got their way, and so now the demographers are looking at other options.

There is a sickness in GA

January 27th, 2012
9:46 pm

@ Freddie Thanks for your insight. Your the first person I’ve heard from who has said anything positive about the K-1, 2-5 model.

My concern about the K-1, 2-5 model stems from my belief that young children fair better in a consistent educational setting. They have teachers they know and who know them, are more familiar with their environment, and are less likely to fall through the cracks. I don’t have any data to back this up, it’s just an opinion. I appreciate you sharing your experiences though, as it helps develop a more substantive view of these types of schools.

frustrated APS mom

January 27th, 2012
9:57 pm

And @ NA=CP: so this is about Morningside. How are the powers that be going to justify taking away an IB middle school opportunity for a big part of the North Atlanta cluster? Honestly that doesn’t bug me as much as the idea of my child having to go to Sutton for a year and then go somewhere else that is starting from scratch, but I know it will be a big deal for many people that drink the IB koolaid. This kid had to start at one campus in k, move to the primary in 1, back to the other campus in 2, now will be expected to go to Sutton and deal with major overcrowding in 6 and and then switch to the new middle for 7 and 8. I am not hopeful that either of these public middle school options will work out for him, but hopefully by the time my youngest gets there it will be doing well.

Wait and see

January 27th, 2012
10:00 pm

I imagine that there will be a whole new group of people who find this blog because they are unhappy with these options. For example, in the previous four options, Brookwood Hills people stayed put with E Rivers, whereas Loring Heights people got moved around in some of the options. Looking at the demographers comment section, the Loring Heights people got vocal about the changes, but, as Brookwood HIlls people were unaffected directly, they might have made comments about keeping their neighbors across the street in Loring Heights in E Rivers, or they might not have made any comment at all. If the previous options did not personally impact you, you might have chosen to stay out of the fray. It is just human nature, so it will be interesting to see what these new options will stir up.

North Atlanta = Centennial Place?

January 27th, 2012
10:20 pm

@frustrated APS mom, yes, it is about ME. They united, they hired a lawyer, and they even bought yard signs. Of course, ME is over 90 percent white and mostly wealthy, so the parental involvement is enormous and hard to duplicate at more diverse, more working-class schools.

Rivers-to-be-Mom

January 27th, 2012
10:21 pm

I’m not happy with either option, but A works better for my neighborhood. We were silent because all original options kept us in Rivers (Brookwood Hills was actually out in original options). In B, Ardmore Park, Collier Hills, and Channing Valley are out of Rivers- we’re in a new elementary and middle school. I’m polling neighbors now! If they. An add almost 200 seats at Lin and Brandon, why can they not build a bigger Rivers?

All this mess is going to give more fight to the Parent Trigger Law that has been introduced in the legislature.

intowner

January 27th, 2012
10:22 pm

Option A makes perfect sense, gets my vote. MUCH better than option B.

Wait and see

January 27th, 2012
10:30 pm

@ Rivers-to-be-Mom, I knew the new options would cause new people to post on this blog. I was not actually redistricted in 3 of the 4 previous options for elementary school, and my youngest is a 5th grader , but I still expressed opinions based on friends that were being redistricted. Glad to hear a new set of parents are getting involved. Can only help the process!!!

Kirkwood South?

January 27th, 2012
10:35 pm

@Option B Supporter…..seriously? Total nonsense.

fill coan

January 27th, 2012
10:37 pm

Mary Lin should have moved to Coan.

Wheres the date

January 27th, 2012
10:43 pm

Like option A. But would need to see some numbers. Can’t see how either solves the overcrowding at Inman. Are they planning for all classes to go to 28 students plus the portables? Where are the numbers that compare the existing capacity to the projected growth? And do the projections included the existing portables to eternity?

Wondering Allowed

January 27th, 2012
10:52 pm

@Option B Supporter – Thank you for pointing out that house values are what’s important in this redistricting. If some Kirkwood kids have to be allowed into Grady, it should only be those who live in expensive homes. We wouldn’t want the poor kids to have access to the better teachers or learning environment. Thank you for being the voice of reason, making sure your schools are kept pure.

WTF???

Have you been into the East Atlanta neighborhoods? Teardowns and renovations are happening both north and south of Hosea. I’m friends with ALL the people on my block, some of whom are longtime residents, and some of whom are young couples with babies. We have summer cookouts. We take walks together. We belong to the same neighborhood associations and trade emails on the same listserves.

Option B is wrong for the East Atlanta neighborhoods. It arbitrarily and needlessly divides the neighborhoods. Why should children have to travel past one school and be driven miles to another?

Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

January 27th, 2012
10:55 pm

Here are some questions we need to ask and have NOT been answered to date (in fact, I’m not even sure APS has the data):

1. The only numbers the demographers used in the original planning options were for CURRENTLY enrolled students. Children not currently enrolled but residing in an attendance zone were not accounted for in the numbers. Census data was not used.

2. IF schools are brought to the 80-90% capacity that has been recommended, will they once again be open for NCLB transfers? If so, will this not defeat the purpose of relieving the overcrowding in the first place?

3. Why will the board not consider the K-8 options that at least 2 communities desperately want?

4. Before properties are sold, research should be done as to projected new construction, particularly low income housing in areas that have seen an enrollment decline. When Atlanta leveled the housing projects, families fled to neighboring DeKalb and Clayton counties. Now these systems are hot messes, and if low cost housing is available, I’m guessing some families may move back.

It is scary that so much work needs to be done with so little time left on the clock.

Grady

January 27th, 2012
11:28 pm

I like Option A. Option B is less exciting. However, both options A and B are substantially better than any of the first four from a month or two ago. People will still not like some things about these maps, but all in all, they are MUCH better.

Wait and see

January 27th, 2012
11:34 pm

@Grady, you mean thaws options are much better for you. Plenty of stuff in these new options for others to get upset about- you don’t speak for me! Round two will be interesting as a different set of equally involved parents realize their apple cart is about to be upset.

Wait and see

January 27th, 2012
11:38 pm

That’s “these” not thaws. Typing too quickly late on a Friday night on an iPad.