The AJC reports that 500 people attended the Atlanta Public Schools community meeting last night, many of them to support of Coan Middle School, which is slated to close under the school chief’s proposal.
Superintendent Erroll Davis spoke at the meeting. (He will be at another meeting tonight at 6:30 Carver High School.)
Redistricting always sparks a crowd because the issue rallies not only current parents in the system, but parents of younger children who will eventually attend the schools.
I’ve heard from several parents whose children are too young to attend Coan, but who hoped that the school would improve by the time their kids arrived there.
The problem is that Coan is at only 30 percent capacity, and it costs a lot to operate half-empty schools. Under his plan to close 13 under-enrolled Atlanta schools, Davis said APS would save $6.5 million.
So while the community members were arguing for the potential that Coan offered – it’s in a good location in an neighborhood with increasing appeal to young families — Davis was acting on the reality of the situation.
Not sure how to reconcile those different vantage points.
According to the AJC:
Wednesday’s meeting focused only on schools that are zoned to feed into Jackson High School and Grady High School. Many in attendance demonstrated the cluster route they desired by sporting bright green T-shirts that read “Mary Lin Elementary, Inman Middle & Grady High.”
“What makes our good schools good is the level of parental engagement,” Davis said. “The feedback has been voluminous.”
Davis will hold a similar meeting Thursday night at Carver High School to discuss schools that feed into Carver and South Atlanta High School.
Davis again shot down assumptions that race and class weighed in on his decision-making. “Most of our schools are in African-American neighborhoods, and if we close the schools that I recommend, most of our schools will still be in African-American neighborhoods,” Davis said. “Race is not a factor in this.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog