The Atlanta school board meets at 6 today to debate whether the high achieving Drew Charter School can expand to a high school.
APS superintendent Erroll B. Davis opposes the expansion, contending that Atlanta cannot afford to open a new high school when it has 6,200 empty seats in its existing schools and a depleted budget. As Davis notes, some of those unfilled seats are just down the road from the proposed Drew site at Maynard Holbrook Jackson High.
Drew Charter now ends at eighth grade. Many parents are eager for their young Drew students to have another option besides Jackson, which does not have a strong record of academic achievement.
Drew has some very influential supporters. I would not be surprised to see the board go against the school chief and approve this school.
The proposed high school, which would open in 2013 with 100 freshmen, has strong corporate and community backing, including support from former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.But the idea has one key opponent: APS Superintendent Erroll Davis.
The superintendent opposes adding a high school because the district has what he described as “an over supply of empty seats in the area for 9th through 12th grade students.” The district also is spending $40 million to renovate nearby Maynard Jackson High. And like other districts in metro Atlanta, APS is looking to shrink its workforce.
“Expanding the number of student seats in the same area at a time when we are embarking on a workforce reduction in the face of vacant student stations doesn’t coincide with the district’s strategic direction for that area,” Davis told the AJC in May.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog