Urgent School Information

Feb 21 2012

We are asking all Candler Park residents to please do two things to support our community and schools:

  1. Complete the APS survey BY FRIDAY, FEB 24 at http://www.survey2go.net/aps/?sidx=203. Note that CPNO supports Option A, and the statement details talking points about the options and our preferences going forward. Survey responses are permitted from EACH ADULT in the household.
     
  2. Please review and sign (if you agree) the Renew Grady Cluster Petition ASAP at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/renewedgradycluster. This is a cross-neighborhood grassroots effort. The approach presented is 90% consistent with the CPNO principles. It advocates for a defined Grady Cluster that includes Mary Lin and we think that’s important. Again, responses are permitted from EACH ADULT in the household. In the notes section, please identify yourself as a Candler Park resident.

In the survey and petition comments section, be sure to mention Mary Lin’s expansion, and the need to think about alternative grade configurations as a shared solution for the Grady cluster. The cluster’s elementary schools are overcrowded. And Inman Middle is or will be soon. APS needs to know of our support for expanding Mary Lin. Meanwhile a neighborhood task force is looking at innovative solutions such as a cross-cluster 5/6 or 6th grade academy; APS needs to see our interest in a full range of creative solutions.

More important information:

Mary Lin Elementary Local School Council Statement

Inman Middle School Local School Council Letter

Candler Park School Redistricting Page

Meeting with State Rep Stacey Abrams

February State Legislative Update

State Rep. Stacey Abrams (HD-84)
Date: Saturday, February 25, 2012, 10 am

TOPICS INCLUDE:

  • Key Legislation
  • HR 1162 - Special Schools Bill
  • Budget Proposals

All persons are welcome to attend. This event is FREE. Light refreshments will be served.

For questions, please contact Ashley Robinson, Chief of Staff, at 404-656-5058 or email ashley@gahousedems.com

State House District 84 includes Candler Park, Columbia, Druid Hills, East Lake, Highland Park, Kelley Lake, Kirkwood, Lake Claire, Oakhurst, unincorporated South DeKalb, Toney Valley and Tilson.

Date: 
Sat, 02/25/2012 - 10:00am
Location: 
Oakhurst Presbyterian Church, 118 2nd Ave, Decatur, 30330

Mary Lin Local School Council Summary of Round Two Options and Recommendations

Feb 19 2012

From Jeff Shaw, Mary Lin Local School Council Chair

Atlanta Public Schools (APS), through their demographers, recently published their second set of, or “round two”, proposed options.  These proposed options may be viewed on the Atlanta Public Schools website, under “Demographic Study” [http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/Page/413 select “Option A and Option B Feedback Form”].  Everyone is asked to fill out surveys and provide feedback regarding the proposed options by February 24, 2012.  The survey is available on the APS website under “Demographic Study” and then under “Option A and Option B Feedback Form (1/31/12)”.  We strongly encourage all Mary Lin parents and residents of the Lin community to complete the survey by February 24, 2012.  The Mary Lin LSC’s recommendations with regard to responding to the survey, and suggested comments to be made on the survey, are set forth below.

APS’ round two proposals include two options, Options A and B.  The Lin LSC has reviewed these two options in light of three guiding principles or fundamental goals that the LSC has followed throughout this process:(1) Keeping the current boundaries for Lin intact, so that the Candler Park, Inman Park, and Lake Claire communities remain together; (2) Expanding and renovating Mary Lin; and (3) Keeping Mary Lin at Inman middle school and Grady high school.  Of the two proposed options,Option A is consistent with these three fundamental goals, and is therefore recommended by the Lin LSC.  [1]

Some of the reasons the Lin LSC supports option A, and some suggested comments to make on the survey form, are as follows:


Elementary School

Option A keeps the current Lin boundaries intact and includes the addition and renovation at Lin.  Option B, on the other hand, merges Lin with Toomer elementary school, with a K-2 school likely at Lin, and a 3-5 school likely at Toomer.  Option B also does NOT include the planned addition and renovation at Lin. 

There is a long history behind the planned addition and renovation at Lin that significantly pre-dates the current demographic study process.  Lin began to reach capacity in 2006, and multiple portable or trailer classrooms were required by 2007.  Shortly thereafter, Lin was notified by APS that an addition was being planned for Lin, and by the 2008-09 school year, a set of architectural plans or drawings was presented to the Lin community by APS facilities personnel.  There were multiple meetings at Lin in 2009 between Lin parents and APS building representatives discussing and going over the architectural plans and drawings, and there was discussion that construction would begin within two years.

By 2010, Lin parents were told that the Lin addition project had been put on hold.  We were first told by APS that there had been a financial shortfall in SPLOST III, which the Lin project was part of, causing the project to be delayed.  We were next told by APS that the project would have to wait until a demographic study was completed, which started in 2010, and was completed in October 2010.  By 2011, we were told that there would be a second phase of the demographic study (which we are still in now), and the Lin project would have to wait until that was completed.  By latter 2011, we were told that SPLOST IV would need to pass in order for the Lin project would be done.  The Lin community, including the Lin LSC, campaigned for and supported SPLOST IV, and it passed in November 2011.  The Lin project was specifically listed in the SPLOST IV budget prior to the election, and it remains in the SPLOST IV budget today.

            The Lin addition and renovation project has long been planned, discussed, and promised – since well before the current demographic study.  Lin is now considerably over capacity, and has been using multiple portable/trailer classrooms for over five years.  The time has come for the addition and renovation project to be done, and the Lin LSC strongly urges the Lin community to provide feedback and comments on the survey forms asking that the project be done.

            Lin LSC recommended elementary school comment 1: The addition and renovation project at Mary Lin has long been needed and planned, since well before the current demographic study process, and has been a part of SPLOST III and SPLOST IV, and the project should now be completed.

            The proposed addition at Lin would add 176 seats (8 classrooms at 22 seats each), raising Lin’s capacity from 528 to 704 (based on 22 students per class).  Lin’s current total enrollment is 590.  Recent demographer projections, however, suggest that Lin may reach 780 students over the next 10 years.  If the addition were for 10-12 classrooms (which the Lin LSC believes is possible on the Lin grounds), instead of 8 classrooms, then Lin should remain within capacity for 10 years even under the demographers’ recent higher projections.  It is also possible that potential capacity issues after the addition could be addressed by pulling Lin’s 5th graders out and placing them in a new 5-6 upper elementary school (see discussion of new 5-6 school below).

            Lin LSC recommended elementary school comment 2: Because it is projected that Lin’s enrollment may reach 780 students in the next ten years, the proposed Lin addition should be for 10-12 classrooms (220-244 students), instead of 8 classrooms (176 students).  In the alternative, a new 5-6 upper elementary school should be considered.

            The proposed option B merger with Toomer elementary into split K-2 and 3-5 schools is disfavored for many reasons, including because it would not be possible for Lin students to walk to school during the 3 years they are at Toomer, it would be logistically hard on parents with children at both schools, it would add another unnecessary school transition, and it would cause traffic problems and other issues on DeKalb Avenue, a major thoroughfare with limited crossing points.

            Lin LSC recommended elementary school comment 3: I oppose option B and the merger with Toomer elementary with split K-2/3-5 schools because it would not be possible for Lin students to walk to school during the 3 years they are at Toomer, it would be logistically hard on parents with children at both schools, it would add another unnecessary school transition, and it would cause traffic problems and other issues on DeKalb Avenue.

 

Middle School

            Option A keeps the Lin area at Inman middle school, which is strongly supported by the Lin LSC.  Inman is currently near capacity, and projected to exceed its capacity with the attendance areas currently zoned to Inman in the near future.  Option A does remove Centennial elementary from Inman to address future over-crowding.  Centennial parents and leaders have expressed a desire to be a K-8 school, which APS is currently considering, and which the Lin LSC, and many neighboring schools, support.  Under option A, it is believed that Inman will remain within capacity (900 students as stated by the Inman principal) for approximately five years.

            After five years under option A, Inman will likely exceed 900 students and exceed capacity.  Also under option A the Hope-Hill elementary (Old Fourth Ward) area will not attend a middle school in the Grady cluster.  Although it does not currently attend Inman, Hope-Hill does currently attend Grady high school, and is likely to remain in the Grady cluster under all current or future proposals.  The Lin LSC supports addressing the future projected over-crowding at Inman, and bringing Hope-Hill into the Grady cluster middle school system, by considering certain alternatives that have been discussed by and are gaining some momentum with many parents and neighboring school leaders, including: (1) a new 5-6 upper elementary school, to include Lin, Springdale Park, Morningside, and Hope-Hill; (2) a new 6th grade only school, to include Lin, Springdale Park, Morningside, and Hope-Hill, located either on the current Inman grounds or other suitable location; or (3) an expansion of the current Inman facility. 

            Lin LSC recommended middle school comment: I support option A because it keeps the Mary Lin area at Inman middle school.  While Inman may remain within capacity for five years under option A, to address future potential over-crowding, and to bring Hope-Hill elementary into the Grady cluster middle school system, I urge APS to consider the following alternative solutions: (1) a new 5-6 upper elementary school, to include Lin, Springdale Park, Morningside, and Hope-Hill; (2) a new 6th grade only school, to include Lin, Springdale Park, Morningside, and Hope-Hill, located either on the current Inman grounds or other suitable location; or (3) an expansion of the current Inman facility.

 

            High School

            Option A keeps Lin at Grady high school, along with most of the current Grady cluster, including Springdale Park, Morningside, and Hope-Hill.  It should be noted, however, that current figures indicate approximately 300 out of zone students attending at Grady.  APS demographers have also indicated recently that a 20% “transfer rate” is built into their projections at Grady, meaning that they assume that fully 20% (or approx. 250 to 300) of Grady’s population into the future will be comprised of students who do not live in the Grady attendance zone.  We believe this is wrong and that no one in the current Grady attendance zone would need to be redistricted out if the significant out of zone student problem at Grady is brought under control.

            Lin LSC recommended high school comment:  I support option A because it keeps the Mary Lin area at Grady high school.  However, APS demographic data indicates that there are currently 300 out of zone students at Grady high school, and that demographers are projecting a 20% transfer rate (or 250 to 300 students) into the future.  This needs to be addressed and brought under control.  No one should be redistricted out of Grady until the number of out of zone students is significantly reduced.

            These are the Lin LSC recommendations and suggested comments for the round 2 options.  Please be sure to fill out the surveys on the APS website (or obtain hard copies in the Mary Lin office) by February 24, 2012.  Please respond to the surveys and provide feedback to APS as this is the best way to ensure that your, and Lin’s, voice is heard in this complex process.  The APS demographic process will continue with recommendations by Superintendent Erroll Davis in March, with a possible final vote by the school board in April.

            Thank you and please contact the Lin LSC with any questions or comments.

            Mary Lin Elementary Local School Council:

Jeff Shaw, Chairman

Dr. Brian Mitchell                 John Siebenaler

Andrew Coffman                  Michelle Hughes

Jennifer Hubert                    Joan Beaulieu

Will Shevlin                           Anne Steib

Kristen Howard                    Frank Smith

Lori Patton                            Peter Lefkowicz

            Carla Homer                                    Shannon Kettering




[1]
By recommending option A, the Lin LSC does not necessarily endorse or support other parts of option A that affect other schools, and does not endorse splitting any other neighborhoods  Specifically, the Lin LSC does not support splitting north Morningside from the rest of Morningside as in option A, nor does it support splitting Kirkwood as in option B.

Community Alert About Georgia Marathon

Feb 17 2012

Editor's note: The marathon course goes right through Candler Park, so please plan accordingly.

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Community Alert • Sunday, March 18, 2012

Expect traffic delays, road closings along the course of the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon, Sunday, March 18, between 7 AM - 2 PM

More than 16,000 participants, 2,500 volunteers and 30,000 spectators will be along the course from downtown Atlanta to Decatur and back, including Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia State, MLK Historic Site, Fourth Ward, Inman Park, The Carter Center, Candler Park, Agnes Scott, Emory, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highland, Midtown, and Georgia Tech.

For detailed traffic information and driving suggestions, go to www.GeorgiaMarathon.com, hover on Community and click on Road Closure Info. If you must drive, plan ahead, allow extra time, avoid crossing the course, and travel before the streets close.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
If you live or work near the course, please volunteer as a Course Marshal to help direct race participants at turns and intersections. You can sign up for the Zone that’s nearest your home or office and perhaps walk to your assigned location. To volunteer as a Course Marshal or other volunteer openings, go to www.GeorgiaMarathon.com and click Volunteers or email Jayne Nickell at JNickell@USRoadSports.com.

City Council & School Board Meeting on Redistricting Tomorrow (Mon Feb 13)

Feb 12 2012

Reminder about this important school redistricting meeting which is tomorrow, Monday Feb 13. Please attend if you can!

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MEETING NOTICE

On Monday February 13, 2012, Members of the Atlanta Board of Education and Members of the Atlanta City Council will convene a meeting.*

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the APS Demographics study.

The meeting will be held in the Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium Rooms 1 & 2 at 4:00 pm.

Date: 
Mon, 02/13/2012 - 4:00pm
Location: 
130 Trinity Avenue, SW, in the Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium

February Messenger

Feb 7 2012

Here it is!

School Board & City Council Meeting On Redistricting

MEETING NOTICE

On Monday February 13, 2012, Members of the Atlanta Board of Education and Members of the Atlanta City Council will convene a meeting.*

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the APS Demographics study.

The meeting will be held in the Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium Rooms 1 & 2 at 4:00 pm.

Date: 
Mon, 02/13/2012 - 4:00pm
Location: 
130 Trinity Avenue, SW, in the Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium

Candler Park Response to Round 2 Maps

Feb 7 2012

Candler Park would like to thank the Atlanta Board of Education, Atlanta Public Schools and Bleakly demographers for their continued efforts during the rezoning process. We understand that this is a difficult issue for all of the city’s neighborhoods, and appreciate APS’ desire to achieve the best outcome for the greatest number of children.

Our community is committed to APS and has demonstrated that commitment by sending the vast majority of our children to our public schools. We ask that APS support us by keeping Mary Lin K-5, delivering the long-promised Mary Lin expansion and keeping our students in the Inman-Grady cluster.

The proposal presented in Option A best supports the needs of the Candler Park community for the following reasons:

1) Mary Lin needs its long-promised renovation and expansion.

  • This project was scheduled to occur long before this redistricting effort began.
  • Mary Lin was last renovated in 1994 – almost twenty years ago.
  • Our entire 4th and 5th grades are in trailers, we have outgrown the space and the building is in disrepair.
  • Previous plans addressed not only over-crowding, but also long-time deficiencies involving the media center, lunchroom, front office and school security.
  • Candler Park voters went to the ballot box twice to support SPLOST, both times with the assurance that Mary Lin was slated to get its renovation.
  • SPLOST III included appropriations for Mary Lin, which were moved to SPLOST IV.
  • For years we have been told the project was merely delayed, and will still take place.
  • Out of APS’ 58 active elementary schools, only seven – including Mary Lin – have never received SPLOST funding.
  • We ask that APS honor its commitment and live up to its campaign theme for the SPLOST referendum: “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Option A keeps APS’ commitment; Option B does not.  Let’s make the Mary Lin project a “promise kept.”


2) APS should invest in success.

  • Mary Lin is one of the top-performing schools in the city and is in the top 10% of elementary schools statewide. 
  • We have made a firm commitment to APS. A full 96% of our elementary-age kids attend Mary Lin – not charter schools, private schools, or schools in other zones.
  • Candler Park parents roll up their sleeves every day to maintain the environment of excellence at our schools.
  • The K-5 model is serving our children well when it comes to instructional continuity, a nurturing environment, parental involvement and identifying special needs.
  • We believe that whenever possible, schools and communities should be kept intact; this goes for all schools and communities, not just ours.
  • Mary Lin is a cornerstone of our community and a source of community pride, and we have invested a great deal of sweat equity into it.


3) Our youngest children should stay in our neighborhood to promote community, safety and walkability. 

  • We care deeply about safe, walkable access for our youngest children because we have it today and have seen how well it works.
  • We value the opportunity to speak with our children’s teachers and find out how we can help. This is one way we have built a strong school support network.
  • For the 2010 Walk To School Day, the Georgia Transportation Commissioner came to Mary Lin to showcase it as a wonderful, walkable school.
  • Parents of multiple young children would find it difficult to shuttle between two facilities and remain as deeply engaged in both schools.
  • The CSX/MARTA/DeKalb Avenue corridor is a major barrier and high-speed commuter thoroughfare. It has a reversible “suicide lane” that causes many accidents and pedestrian hazards. It does not allow for safe, walkable access to school.
  • There are very few access points across DeKalb Avenue, which will cause significant traffic issues. This will be exacerbated by the several hundred new housing units going into Edgewood as part of the Comprehensive Development Plan, which will use the same crossing point used in the proposed split grade model.


4) Mary Lin must remain in the Inman – Grady cluster with our neighboring communities.

  • As part of the Inman and Grady communities, we have a 30-year history of working together and maintaining an environment of excellence.
  • Mary Lin has played a fundamental role in helping to build and maintain Inman and Grady’s success.
  • APS should make certain that administrative transfers are only allowed at schools with space for all in-zone students.
  • SPLOST dollars should be spent where there is current need, not just anticipated need.
  • If additional capacity is needed at Inman or Grady, APS should consider creative solutions such as an Inman annex and / or alternate grade configurations (e.g., a 6, 5/6 or 8 academy).


Thank you for your consideration and support.

Jay Sandhaus
President, Candler Park Neighborhood Organization

Candler Park Redrawn Into New City Council District

Feb 6 2012

Candler Park would be represented by Councilman Kwanza Hall under the latest map being considered by the Atlanta City Council.

Currently, the community is part of Councilman Alex Wan’s 6th District.

Read the full article here.

Mary Lin Local School Council Community Meeting

MARY LIN LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL INVITES YOU TO INFORMATIONAL LIN COMMUNITY MEETING ON THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, AT 7:00 P.M. IN THE LIN AUDITORIUM

The Mary Lin Local School Council will host a Lin community meeting regarding the current APS demographic study and redistricting process on Wednesday, February 8, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. in the Lin auditorium. 

Topics to be covered at the meeting will include the current status of the redistricting process, including where we have been and the steps still ahead, as well as a discussion of the current options A and B recently released by the APS demographers, and the Lin LSC’s thoughts and recommendations regarding these options. 

The Lin LSC will also discuss and recommend certain comments that the Lin community might consider making on the current survey forms (which are due to APS on Feb. 24) so as to ensure a unified voice and feedback from Lin to APS.  There will also be a question and answer period at the end of the meeting. 

The Mary Lin Local School Council has been working hard on this issue for a year, and hopes this meeting will help ensure that the Lin community is informed and united as possible about the redistricting process.  Please attend if you can, and please encourage your friends and neighbors who may not have current Lin students to attend as well.

Date: 
Wed, 02/08/2012 - 7:00pm
Location: 
Mary Lin auditorium