Are Dunwoody parents interested in education or economics in proposal to flee DeKalb schools? (Or both?)

Jeffrey Dorfman is a professor of applied economics at the University of Georgia. Here is an interesting piece he wrote on the economics of Dunwoody breaking away from DeKalb and forming its own school system. (Such a move would require a statewide referendum to change the state constitution.)

That topic is likely to come up Sunday night when interim DeKalb school chief Michael Thurmond meets with the Dunwoody Homeowners Association.

By Jeffrey H. Dorfman

A local educational and political issue is brewing in metro Atlanta that provides a great example of the inherent dangers of complicated schemes designed to avoid charging the customer for a service.

Government loves to construct mechanisms so that some people get the service free, some at a discount, and others pay much more to make up the difference. Public education is a prime example of such free lunch programs as nobody pays directly; instead we all pay taxes that are used to fund education, but the level of taxes paid is unrelated to the number of children that family has in school.

With the DeKalb County Schools suffering through a rough patch thanks to board dysfunction, a movement has taken shape to create an independent school district in the city of Dunwoody. While Georgia has a number of cities with independent school districts (Atlanta, for example), the state has capped the creation of new public school districts. Dunwoody needs the Georgia Legislature to help them accomplish their stated goal. While the Legislature considers whether to help, they should consider the more important question: what is the real motivation of the Dunwoody parents?

Dunwoody parents say they are worried about educational quality, but all the DeKalb County School District’s problems with accreditation are related to the behavior of the school board, not any concern over the education the kids receive. The recent removal of six board members by the governor and the appointment of Michael Thurmond as interim superintendent should reassure the concerned parents of Dunwoody. Certainly those actions should buy the district some time while the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools considers the fate of the district in light of these concrete steps to address the problems with the board.

Numerous parents have shown up for meetings and taken advantage of opportunities to express their concern about the DeKalb County schools. Why would the parents in Dunwoody be the ones who are interested in forming their own district? Well, since I am an economist, I naturally look for an economic reason.

There is no public data on the number of students within the DeKalb County School District who live in Dunwoody, but census data suggests there are probably about 7,200. The school district has over 97,000 students, so Dunwoody makes up only between 7 and 8 percent of the children in the district.

According to the county property tax digests Dunwoody is a high-value region of the county, containing about 15 percent of the property value within the county school district. That is, Dunwoody is paying about twice the share of school property taxes as the share of students that they send to those schools.

DeKalb County Schools levy a property tax at the rate of 23.98 mills (dollars per thousand of assessed property) to cover their spending of almost $4,400 per student of local dollars (out of $9,400 total spending per student).

To raise the same $4,400, a Dunwoody school district would only need a millage rate of 12.5. It appears that Dunwoody could form their own school district and save a lot on school property taxes. In fact, the owner of a $200,000 house might save over $800 per year in property taxes.

This column is also not meant to ascribe hidden motives to the Dunwoody parents who are working to create their own school district. The fact that Dunwoody property owners might save a lot of money if they got their own school district does not mean that is their motivation. However, I suspect it has occurred to some of them.

The more important lesson here is that as long as our society continues to construct schemes by which we finance things in ways that ask some to pay a lot while others pay a little (or nothing), there will be resistance. People getting the free lunch are happy, but those stuck with the bill will seek a fairer system in which they pay for what they get, but not for what others get as well.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

146 comments Add your comment


March 9th, 2013
4:57 am

Enter your comments here

Jack ®

March 9th, 2013
5:41 am

Nothing new here. Of course the residents of Dunwoody want their own system just like everybody else that’s trapped in a non-functioning county. Liberal legislators get reelected by promising even more government freebies to those who contribute nothing to the system while productive citizens foot the bill.

Wrong Starting Assumption

March 9th, 2013
6:44 am

“Dunwoody parents say they are worried about educational quality, but all the DeKalb County School District’s problems with accreditation are related to the behavior of the school board, not any concern over the education the kids receive.”

Dr. Dorfman, being an outsider, has made the wrong starting assumption for his economic argument. Let me outline just a few of the concerns I have about my kids’ educations:

- As a Dunwoody parent, I don’t want my elementary aged kids in a classroom with one teacher and 28-32 kids. Data shows that children in grades 3rd and under benefit significantly from smaller class sizes.
- I don’t want my child in a school that doesn’t get the funding it needs on basic supplies because the money is spent on a bloated central office with 6-figure salaries paid to unqualified people who are there because of blatant cronyism and nepotism.
- I don’t think kids are given the best education possible when a school is over one-third Hispanic but yet the county has fired all of its translators. Yes. This is a Dunwoody school.
- I don’t think the county can give the kids the best possible education when there are roof leaks that have existed for years and buckets collect dark water that sits for days in rooms occupied by children.
- I don’t think that my kids are given the best possible education when they are surrounded by teachers who must work in a culture of fear and poor leadership. This environment has been created and sustained by both a dysfunctional board and incompetence at the central office level.

The wrongs created by poor leadership and governance over ten years can’t be undone in a day, and it remains to be seen if this new interim board will have what it takes to begin a long journey of not just restoring full accreditation but truly giving kids the education they deserve.

Another quote is:
“The recent removal of six board members by the governor and the appointment of Michael Thurmond as interim superintendent should reassure the concerned parents of Dunwoody.”

Might I add that the former board hired the interim superintendent, and there is nothing that the former board has ever done that could be called reassuring. I do expect Mr. Thurmond can be effective to some level, but someone who is protecting a future political career undoubtedly has certain interests to protect when hiring, firing, and making the hard decisions necessary to right a sinking ship. Reassurance may begin when a new qualified superintendent is hired, but given DeKalb’s history and its reputation, finding the right person willing to take on the risks of failure and joining a long list of former superintendents may just no longer be possible.

To Dr. Dorman’s credit, economics do come into play in the decision, but I would suggest there is a stronger argument that such motives for the typical Dunwoody homeowner would be increased property values and increased economic development potential. And yes, wouldn’t it be great if property taxes for schools could actually go down? When the goals of a school system move from being a jobs program to educating children, I’m sure there is significant savings that can be found. Efficient management of money does have its rewards, and any savvy citizen should expect lower taxes as a result of good business practices being applied to the operation of a government service.

Finally, before an outsider evaluates the motives of Dunwoody parents, the starting assumptions should be validated by actually talking to the parents. I invite Dr. Dorman to attend the Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association meeting on Sunday, March 10 at 7:30 pm so that he can discover first hand what the motives of the Dunwoody parents are in desiring local control as a means to achieving the best possible education for their children.


March 9th, 2013
6:51 am

“as long as our society continues to construct schemes by which we finance things in ways that ask some to pay a lot while others pay a little (or nothing), there will be resistance. People getting the free lunch are happy, but those stuck with the bill will seek a fairer system in which they pay for what they get, but not for what others get as well.”

Absolute truth.


March 9th, 2013
7:06 am

If Dunwoody residences spent the same amount of money as they do now ,in their new school district. They would be able to afford the best educators, coaches, and administrators in the business, thus having to finest school system in the Atlanta area. Another benefit would be growth as people flocked to Dunwoody to live, work, and educate their children.


March 9th, 2013
7:14 am

However, due to the state formula currently being used to finance our state schools DeKalb County taxpayers (just as Fulton and Cobb) are sending a great deal of their taxes to finance school districts around the state. Even Gwinnett gets a big chuck of tax money from other counties that their taxpayers are not paying in.

I suggest that this is just as big a problem to taxpayers in the state as it is just for DeKalb County. However, I am not indicating that some of the poorer school district do not need assistance in funding their school districts. I am sure there is a need and the state is ultimately responsible for educating all the students in our state. However, I am bothered that some of my tax dollars in DeKalb are going to fund school systems like Gwinnett. Counties like DeKalb continue to go up on their millage rate in order to fund our schools. Does Gwinnett have as high of a millage rate as DeKalb County? Are the poorer counties paying their far share of property taxes also? This does bother me. Why is DeKalb continuing to increase their tax base? Maybe it is because of lack of budgeting priorities of leadership. However, it just does not seem far to me.

Dunwoody Mom

March 9th, 2013
7:22 am

Dunwoody parents say they are worried about educational quality, but all the DeKalb County School District’s problems with accreditation are related to the behavior of the school board, not any concern over the education the kids receive

Not sure this guys gets it either. When you have a BOE that approves a rise in class size, teacher furloughs, teacher pay cuts (which will lead to quality teachers seeking employment outside of the district, purchase of no textbooks, approving legal fees of over $37 million, then those actions DO IN FACT affect the education our students receive.


March 9th, 2013
7:26 am

The consideration of separately, locally controlled education begins with the quality of the education service provided by DeKalb Schools (inconsistent, lackluster, and chronically underfunded) and ends with the unmet needs of students (insufficient services for ESOL, abandonment of tech ed and driver’s ed, inadequate hands-on science instruction, disastrous math curriculum, etc.). The predominant presence at the first Public Forum and across social media has been parents. Certainly the economic impact of a lackluster school system is profound – businesses compare DeKalb to Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett high schools in choosing a location. But the immediate urgency is the education of our children.

It took ten years for this issue to boil over. It will likely take ten more years for DeKalb Schools to get its act together (if then). Our children can’t wait another lost year.

Aaron Borenstein

March 9th, 2013
7:28 am

I am quite sure that a majority of Dunwoody parents would gladly pay more in property taxes just to escape from DeKalb’s ethically and academically deficient school system. Actually many do, by paying tens of thousands of dollars to send their kids to private schools.


March 9th, 2013
7:30 am

Talk about your slippery slopes. This is going to be interesting.

The basis for the current system is rooted in the concept that the fruits of public education, an educated workforce, are of benefit to all. If you accept that premise, the funding mechanism makes sense, to a degree, if only because there is not a better functioning system that has yet been developed.

In theory, since everyone benefits, everyone chips in. The parents of school age children pitch in, local businesses pitch in because they will hire the product, childless individuals chip in because they will benefit from the economy supported by the educational system. One can argue for a multi-tiered funding mechanism but how to do it? Look back to preindustrial revolution England to see what should be avoided. The only people who could afford an education were wealthy since it was strictly privately funded. The general populace was on their own. There were a few methods available to them via apprenticeships with local craftsmen, but the majority of the population had no way of bettering themselves, remained in poverty, and the result was a high crime rate. Australia started out as a penal colony, that was one of the mechanisms for dealing with the uneducated at that time, ship them overseas. Georgia was close to becoming a penal colony but never actually fell into that category, non-violent convicts were given an option of relocating here but were never sentenced here. We really do not have a penal colony option anymore so that’s off the table.

So we are back too how to fund education for the masses. Governments have come up with various taxing schemes to do so, property taxes, income taxes, consumption taxes, etc. Over time, some states have determined some of these methods to be unconstitutional for funding education (i.e. income taxes in NJ). So we have property taxes as our funding source. But what happens when tax breaks to attract outside business interests cut into that? It screws up what balance existed and gives that outside business interest a free ride on the local dime. But that is another topic.

Since we all have skin in the game, we all should be chipping in. If there is a better method for determining funding, lets hear it.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is local education has lost part of its focus. Every parent wants what is best for their child but can have unrealistic goals for that child. 4-year colleges are not for everyone but local school systems have fallen into the trap of promoting just that. Over time, locals systems have trimmed programs from their offerings due to costs and what once was a healthy comprehensive school system is becoming an academy type system whre the entire focus is on college prep despite the fact better than 1/3 of the jobs the kids need to prepare for do not require college. The latest info I saw on this (about a year old) was that 30% of future jobs would need a 4-year or greater college degree, 33% would need a 2 yr or associates degree & 36% still would only need a HS diploma.

Steve Jobs shipped a lot of his manufacturing jobs overseas because, as he put it, US education is not providing “…sufficient emphasis on support for high quality career & technical education programs to address the needs of business & industry.” (Techniques, March 2013, Vol 88, No. 3, pg 13). This is, IMHO, at the root of our current angst over local K-12 education, we have lost our way by focusing almost solely on college prep and since the college prep course of study does not fit for a sizable chunk (70%) of the population, it looks like the school system is “failing.” It is only doing what local stakeholders are demanding, no matter that it is unrealistic. When a school drops a technical ed program, that is primarily because the administration does not see a direct correlation between it and test scores (no matter that the premise is faulty).

So Dunwoody does not want to pay a higher share of educational expenses because they view other parts of the county as not fitting into the college prep skein. A rather myopic view if you look at the big picture.


March 9th, 2013
7:32 am

I believe that funding for public education should be on a per-student basis – the money follows the student. Period. That puts more control in each school house, lets each staff develop the services and programs that meet the needs of THEIR students, and diminishes the power of a central office structure. That, Dr. Dorfman, is the true economics argument behind the local control movement.


March 9th, 2013
7:35 am

Dunmoody –

To be fair, it is the ENTIRE state of GA’s math instruction that’s appalling, not just DeKalb.

DeKalb does have a LOT of problems, but math is not their fault. I don’t have a dog in this fight though, so I’m just going to stay out of it.


March 9th, 2013
7:44 am

I imagine many citizens in Dunwoody (and other parts of DeKalb) would pay more for the privileged of becoming free of DCSS’ insane mismanagement and broken culture.


March 9th, 2013
7:45 am

Indeed, the corporate issue is math, but the local control solution is to change the curriculum and the training, materials, and pedagogy required to teach individual students.


March 9th, 2013
7:47 am

I would guess the people in Dunwoody think they can do a better job with their own system than the huge system they are currently in. Allowing these county systems to get so big is one reason they have so many problems. I grew up in Dunwoody 40 years ago. If I were there today, I doubt I would want my kids in that system. If SACS says they have problems, they have real problems. SACS does not get involved unless it is really bad,


March 9th, 2013
7:48 am

I have been waiting for such an opportunity to respond to the ludicrous objections to Dunwoody seeking their own school system.

FACT: Educating your child is a one shot deal. You only get one chance at this. For those of you who continue to say “…we need more time…”, my response to you is “…NO, YOU DON’T…” Sorry, but you don’t get any more time because time is not a luxury we can afford to squander on my child’s future.

FACT: When the educational system is dysfunctional, the surrounding communities that are part of that system suffer economically. Their homes are not worth what they were prior to the dysfunction.

FACT: The whole argument by the outgoing School Board Members regarding being disenfranchised is BS. They were elected to office, but the same people who elected them to office also approved a referendum to remove them from office should they fail to do their job. Their job performance was an epic failure. And no amount of public money should be utilized to defend these people.

FACT: The only reason for the 180 school system limitation in the first place was to prevent communities like Dunwoody from seceding should the become disgruntled with the current school administrative authority as a power play by those school administrations at that time. This amendment was passed unwittingly by the ignorance of the people of Georgia at that time and needs to be repealed. It has outlived its usefulness, is if there ever was one.

FACT: Downey (and Dorfman for that matter) has a clear agenda which has been represented by her articles on the subject of education and money and we all know what that agenda is.

Private Citizen

March 9th, 2013
7:50 am

The terrible truth is that local district school management is often like organised crime. Real people who come to teach, pilots, engineers, artists, mathematician, get screwed over by these folk with their harassment rituals and rubrics. It’s real and it’s happening. Who knows how to break the cycle, but my little bit of experience as an adult working in public education in Georgia has shown me a collective of unprincipled adults with the collective heart of a thief. Many of these can easily be identified because they are paid more than teachers, have several different job titles and activities over the years, but the one thing that is constant is their high rate of management-level pay. It is these who harass talent that is well above what they can relate to and insist to grind everything down to their level of functioning. It is a particle type of organised crime and yes, there is much thuggery involved, using outside talent and then screwing people around. You will not an opportunity is rarely missed to re-arrange the deck chairs, get rid of the people who see what they are doing, and appoint their own to “leadership” positions, like drug dealer positioned on various street corners who both cover the territory and keep a lookout for police.

Private Citizen

March 9th, 2013
7:57 am

Isn’t it shocking that applicants for the DeKalb appointment would express shock about a) background checks, b) disclosing family members employed?

This type applicants should be thrown out on the front end.


March 9th, 2013
8:00 am

@crankee-yankee: one of Dunwoody’s most profound frustrations is DeKalb’s focus on college prep. ALL OF OUR STUDENTS ARE NOT COLLEGE BOUND. That’s exactly the one-size-fits-all mentality parents are addressing with the local control model. We have refugees and newly arrived international students who cannot speak English and there is little to no support for them. We have students who should graduate with a certificate in a job skill – our only solution is to bus them to another school beginning next year, a creative solution figured out by the DHS principal, but imperfect because it impacts school-house scheduling. We have special ed students with inadequate teacher/student ratios. Our guidance counselors are too busy with county and state paperwork to actually counsel students representing a broad spectrum of emotional, socioeconomic, and academic challenges. So to suggest a stereotype about Dunwoody’s students is to perpetuate an illusion used against us over and over again by the Central Office (which most definitely should know better).

Maureen Downey

March 9th, 2013
8:09 am

@Newsreader, Ascribe all you like, but I have no “agenda” in regards to Dunwoody starting its own school system. Frankly, I haven’t look at the issue enough to know whether it makes sense, either educationally or fiscally. As a parent in a small city system, I can tell you that there are many benefits but a few drawbacks.
Also, I would view this article as a boon to the effort; one of the state’s leading and most respected economists says Dunwoody homeowners would save money breaking away from the mother ship and starting their own school system. I think that’s a valuable fact to have in hand and from a highly credible source without any personal stake to shade his assessment.


March 9th, 2013
8:14 am

@Maureen: the reason to create a school system should be education-centric. But a requisite feasibility study would address the impact on the potential local school system as well as on the county school system as a whole. Interesting economic analysis, but not the whole story. Dr. Dorfman is looking at the financial impact in isolation, regardless of a moral imperative.

Anonymous in DeKalb

March 9th, 2013
8:15 am

Redistribution of wealth—taking money from society’s “makers” and giving it to the growing number of “takers,” in exchange for their votes at election time—is a prime way in which the U.S. becomes more like Europe’s bankrupt nations with each passing day.

While stating helpful truths, the article’s author seems perhaps unclear about SACS and its purview. Does SACS, for instance, take into account educational results along with the qualifications of teachers and administrators? Essentially not. Therefore, the article is a bit misleading in suggesting that SACS “has no concern” over quality of education in DeKalb.

No doubt, many Dunwoody parents do.

And the “rough patch” the author ironically(?) refers to in speaking of the DeKalb School Board? It stretches across the entire lifetimes of many students now in DeKalb schools.

Maureen Downey

March 9th, 2013
8:25 am

@DunMoody, That’s because he is an economist. Clearly, the decision will entail many motivations and considerations. I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Dunwoody parents want their own system. I also think that the indifferent bloc — the people with no kids or grown kids — will be easily swayed if they can be promised lower taxes rather than higher taxes.


March 9th, 2013
8:29 am

One solution I think Dunwoody should consider while creating their own school system is allowing tuition based enrollment for out of district students. A portion of the tuition would be supplemented by the student’s original school district. Dunwoody will raise money, and concerned and dedicated parents from struggling districts will have a option instead of paying thousands of dollars for private school.


March 9th, 2013
8:30 am

Why shouldn’t they be allowed to start their own school system? If more cities/areas/etc were allowed to do that can you imagine how high we could soar? As a state, I mean. We buy homes in areas that have good school systems (or have enough money for private school)and when that school system changes then why shouldn’t we homeowners be allowed to start our own school system? The kids that are challenging to teach have, and always will, get the extras at school. There always seems to be “untouchable” money for them, but none for the other kids. I have often wondered what would be the result if the motivated kids got the extra attention. Maybe we could improve our ranking in the country???


March 9th, 2013
8:31 am

@Maureen – but to “promise” taxpayers a dramatically lower millage rate is misleading. Yes, homeowners/taxpayers will like this analysis. No, it isn’t the real story. That’s why economics analyses in isolation can be problematic.


March 9th, 2013
8:34 am

@Maureen, my comment about your agenda has less to do with Dunwoody and more to do with your historic pattern of reporting on education and money. In fact, I didn’t say you had an agenda on Dunwoody. All one has to do is go back and read the articles you have written, and a very clear picture unfolds – a point I’m not even going to waste my time arguing over.


March 9th, 2013
8:36 am

The good professor did not give much of a financial breakdown, but DunwoodyTalk did last week.


March 9th, 2013
8:39 am

Dorfman’s “economic numbers” make the authors of Freakonomics look like Nobel Peace Prize winners. His “assumption” that Dunwoody students would cost the same to educate than the county students is laughable at best. Let’s look a t a real example here in Georgia: Per student spending on PAS students = 12k; North Fulton about 2/3rds that amount.

Green Mountains

March 9th, 2013
8:45 am

97,000 Dekalb County students constitutes a population larger than many GA communities and is hard to manage.

Dekalb County Students are too diverse to educate as a homogeneous population.

The Board of Education is too far removed from Dekalb County Citizens to have any accountability.

Do you realize that the $37M in legal fees would educate nearly 4000 students?

Do you realize that the $37M in legal fees would would be the cost to educate half of the alleged Dunwoody school population?

Do you realize that the Dekalb County student population is bigger than the city of Macon?

Does the same accountability exist for the Dekalb County BOR as for the elected officials?

In 1946 the Dekalb County school population was 9,000 students, today it is 97,000 students. Should our means of school governance change?

Who stands for the children?

March 9th, 2013
8:55 am

@Private Citizen: interesting comment re “the applicants for the BOE expressing shock over questions about background checks……etc.” I have not heard that, but certainly do agree with you those people should NOT even make it to the second tier. Where can I find a news source on that issue? Secondly, another question I have wanted to ask since all these blogs began. Earlier I saw postings regarding DeKalb’s (either Board or Central Office) ties with New Birth Church. Can anyone enlighten me on that?


March 9th, 2013
9:01 am

In California, your property taxes are based on your homes purchase price forever. The idea is that higher home values are not always linked to higher income. Clearly this is meant to keep home owners from being forced to move because their home appreciates. What happens when a large part of the county loses 70% of its value. It is not indicative that you can not pay more than $500 a year for taxes (and for most home owners that is scchool and regular county taxes)? Even though my income is way down, I still pay as much as peak value because house prices are more stable in my area. It is not a race issue. I feel ripped off by the product and price chargd by DCSS and at times Dekalb county govenment. If Dunwoody leaves the schools, the rest of the North will have to leave to get away from much higher school. This will drive Lakeside cityhood, because we(my area) will need a mechanism to take our schools back and avoid a massive tax inrease. Personally, I want good government and not a new city and city schools, but I am taxed to the limit already and see where this is heading.


March 9th, 2013
9:15 am

One not-so-minor quibble with the facts in the story: The total spending per student is not $9400. The Dekalb County Budget shows a $774.6 million General Operating budget and $456.63 million ‘Other Funds’ budget. Assuming the ‘over 97,000′ students figure is correct, this works out to over $12,600 in spending per student.

Government accounting uses mathematical calculations normal human beings do not use, it would be helpful if the newspaper translated these figures into real-world figures rather than simply reporting the government-supplied figures. For example, many people may not realize that the frequently-reported-upon State of Georgia Budget of $19.3 billion is, in real-world numbers, something in the neighborhood of $35 billion.

Wondering Allowed

March 9th, 2013
9:21 am

One of Mr. Dorfman’s early statements is clearly off base, but accepted as the truth my many. He states, “With the DeKalb County Schools suffering through a rough patch thanks to board dysfunction…” The board disfunction is a manifestation of the disfunction among the different constituencies within DeKalb County. One group wants the best education for the children. The other constituency is more concerned about settling past scores and providing high paying jobs by taking as much money from one side of the county and allocating it to the other part of the county.

In pointing fingers at the economic greediness motivating DeKalb citizens, it is obvious that the group that is really driven by economics is the group that will no longer be able to use the DeKalb school district as what they perceive as a Robin Hood-like endeavor. How dare you, Mr. Dorfman, accuse those in the north side of being driven by economics while not, at the same time, pointing to the south side and calling them out on electing school board members who have been putting their own economics above the interest of education.

You have it backwards, Mr. Dorfman.


March 9th, 2013
9:25 am

Maureen Your premise is LAUAGHABLE on its FACE! I can hear the screams of laughter and the Floor rolling of the many supporters of that community as well the many others. The Parents of those communities and students, WANT OUT!

100% Gone, Removed, Away, Out of the AREA, As FAR as way as possible, I would not not leave my Dog or cat there :) , can we move Faster, you mean we have not left yet?, Are we Gone Already?,
Michael WhO? :) , is this a third world country?, No way Honey!, Forget about it!, We are outta Here!,
See YA!, Please, don’t follow us!, We are prepared to Give YOU A SCHOOL, CASH!, Sick of being a Hostage, Mud Slide, No my child will not work at Mcdonald’s, Our Superintendent will be Qualified and an experienced EDUCATOR!, Our children will go to College, Ivy League schools are a part of our childrens future Not prison! We will have a responsible School Board with Active and supporting parents, We want our Children to go to College, Our children will not be future drug dealers,welfare & food stamp recipients, Our children will not be seen on the local news about a serious crime they are involved in, Our kids have two parents in the home and legal incomes, We do care about our school system. we want Far better than Dekalb County in its Dreams for our kids, Rap music is not allowed to be played in our Homes, we turn our Televisions off during homework! We surpervise our childrens activities!, We are done with the Nightmares!, I would move first!, When PIGS FLY!, Does Peachtree street go to Buckhead?, Can we just Build a Wall or something? I do not want any of my kids friends name ending in a Vowel :) , How about Gates? We are Not Racists we just do not want to be associated with THOSE PEOPLE in anyway!, Is there a charity we can donate too? am afraid of teen pregnancy and the childs Name being SHEENIKA – DONTE – MEEKA – with nicknames that scare us, We will buy the school Buses for them if they would stay in their community school areas, We are not conseravatives and we did vote for President OBAMA, Its not about YOU its about US and OUR Children. We attend PTA meetings regularly, I know my Childs teacher’s home and cell numbers, We volunteer at our schools we support. we make sure ALL school supplies,computers, books etc are provided on the first Day of School. There is no need to Physically Abuse our children or berate them verbally. We sponser school outings and trips for our children regularly. Our Teachers smile and are eager to come to work DAILY, Our school Leaders listen – direct and work with our Teachers.

Maureen, I think that about SUMS up the true feelings and interest of the Dunwoody and other community sentiment about wanting to remain a part of the Dekalb County School System.

There is Nothing that could change or convince them to want to stay. Honestly who could blame them? Even You, would NOT send your precious Little ones there! :)

bootney farnsworth

March 9th, 2013
9:30 am

both, if they’re smart

bootney farnsworth

March 9th, 2013
9:39 am

its actually a very simple situation.

Dunwoody actually has the money and resources to form its own system. they do not feel, and the evidence supports it, they are getting the desired results from membership in DCSS they desire.

further, DCSS is in the act of imploding, and it will likely get worse before it gets better.

good luck to them


March 9th, 2013
9:43 am

I’ve always thought that the single, most important factor in the education of a child is the parents. If a parent works with his/her children, reads to them and with them, stays active in the life of the school, makes sure they have and understand their homework, challenges them to learn, takes them on educational vacations instead of beach jaunts, does things like this-it will very likely insure that the child will learn – regardless of the leaks in the ceiling of their school, and the quality of the board of education.

bootney farnsworth

March 9th, 2013
9:45 am

I would support the amendment to allow local communities WHO HAVE THE MEANS to break from the county they reside in.

there would need to be some baseline criteria
-economic resources
-agreement to abide by the rules governing education in Georgia.

but besides that – party on


March 9th, 2013
10:05 am

I have a different perspective to this than most on this blog because I have no children and I do not live in Dekalb county. However, if it happened there then it can pretty much spread out and happen anywhere. I am in the process of buying a house and it is really difficult because the school system effects the home values and, like most people when they make any investment, I don’t want to lose money.
The economic impact is all I would need to hear to push for a Dunwoody system if I lived there. I pay less for more and the value of my home would likely increase due to a high performing school district. There is nothing wrong with wanting a return on your investment. Actually, I would be willing to give up any savings via taxes and pump the money into the Dunwoody system because I know the value I would see on the back end with high level growth and development in my district.

We hear a lot about “shared responsibility”, but where is that requirement in the Constitution? As much as people rail against Christian values and push separation of Church and state (which I do agree), they do seem to want to force most of us to pay for and do things with which we don’t philosophically agree and for that we do not want to pay. Is there really that much of a difference?

I am willing to work hard, sacrifice and save for the things that are important to me. If you make other choices then so be it, but don’t expect me to pick up the slack. I want my stuff (school, house, community etc.) to better than yours and I’m willing to pay for it. There is nothing at all wrong with wanting something better for yourself especially when you are willing to work for it. My point is that no Dunwoody resident owes anyone any explanation of their motives even if they are only economic.And before anyone calls be an evil capitalist, I am a Nurse Practitioner who has been fortunate (via hard work and sacrifice) financially and I took a pay cut to work in public health for a couple of years in order to help the community so I am familiar with both sides on this.

If it is true that any candidates for the school board balked at a background check or full family disclosure then they should be immediately disqualified. I have had background, financial, and credit checks by the FBI, DEA, and any state where I have worked not to mention any employer or school (you have to pass one just to be accepted to a graduate and/or doctoral program) and I have had to provide full medical physicals and plenty or urine for testing in my career so I don’t think a little disclosure on your part is too much to ask.


March 9th, 2013
10:05 am

It’s more than economics. Dunwoody is one of the few majority white enclaves in Dekalb county and if allowed to form it’s own school system, it would blow the doors off the rest of Dekalb. It’s white flight without the having to sell your house and move 30 miles.

Same argument as the N.Fulton vs S.Fulton.

Basically, the producers are getting tired of the parasites.

What are the house prices in Dunwoody?

March 9th, 2013
10:06 am

I have never considered moving to Dunwoody before in my life but am suddenly now considering it in light of Dunwoody potentially having control over its own school system.

Currently my partner and I have a child in the 4th grade at Mary Lin, and she is in a trailer full-time this year. Next year she is going to be in a trailer again, and then when (if!) she gets to Inman Middle School, she is going to be educated in trailers as well, and were people aware that APS is planning to add even more trailers at Grady?

To put it politely, this situation is baloney. My child is going to spend the next EIGHT YEARS being educated in trailers, all because the highly paid bigwigs at APS are so incompetent that they think they are going to trailer their way out of poor planning.

I don’t want my child educated in a trailer. Is that so much to ask?

10:10 am

March 9th, 2013
10:09 am

@Bernie (9:25), you unwittingly voice the feelings of many middle-class black parents likewise fleeing the inner-city and its unsolvable problems.

Chamblee Dad

March 9th, 2013
10:12 am

I’ve made my position on this issue here repeatedly, and don’t have the time today to make them again, but I’ll say this today – this move, if it can be pulled off will take alot of time $$ & effort. And it is a longshot to win. I’ll agree if anyone can it is the Dunwoody crowd. But meanwhile you’re in this system, there will be soon be a new board & super. hopefully they will work together & time is of the essence. Fight your fight if you will, but why not join those that want to improve DCSS NOW? Constant complaint & criticism of a problem we’ve all gone over in excruciating detail no longer serves the common good. We get it, I’ve fought it for years, it’s a train wreck. Let’s get to work.

Disgusted in Dekalb

March 9th, 2013
10:16 am

“A rough patch”? He’s got to be kidding. And why should Dunwoody residents be “reassured” by the selection of Michael Thurmond as superintendent? He has neither a business background nor an education background and was clearly chosen merely to save the jobs of the now-departed board members. I don’t live in Dunwoody but I don’t blame its residents for wanting to discontinue supporting a system that is failing through lack of good governance and fiscal responsibility.


March 9th, 2013
10:19 am

I think small municipalities should be able to break out of these huge districts. There is too much distance from the CO to the schoolhouse. It is insane to have a district of 97,000 students. No one except the Lord Himself could manage it, and do right by the children. And I doubt He put in an application.

Vote Yes for Charters

March 9th, 2013
10:25 am

Also, look at the history of this. In 1945 the legislature decided to stop allowing local school systems. That was a mistake and led to the lackluster state system we have now. That was 68 years ago. Before 1945, any locality could form a school system if it wanted one. There’s no reason to continue with the failed system we now have. Open up the gate. let citizens be free once again to set up their local school systems. It will lead to dramatic improvements in education.

Anonymous in DeKalb

March 9th, 2013
10:25 am

@Bernie’s usual hyper race-baiting analysis at least ends with a tip of the hat to reality.

For the few who suffered to read that far.


March 9th, 2013
10:28 am

What other headline would I expect from this liberal paper? most parents, like those in dunwoody, want a good education for their kids, period! There is no hidden agenda that you & the prof imply, good grief! I bet taxes are the least of their concerns if it was supporting a world class school system!


March 9th, 2013
10:30 am

The city of Decatur has its own school system and they pay much more in property taxes than those in unincorporated DeKalb. Property values are also much higher in Decatur.

I wonder where Mr Dorfman got his information?