APS redistricting: Letter from VHCA to Superintendent Davis

Letter from the VHCA to Superintendent Davis

March 20, 2012

Dear Superintendent Davis,

We appreciate the difficult task you face. Our neighborhood schools are the foundation of our communities. Our schools are the reason people move into our neighborhood. Our schools are the place where parents meet one another and where a sense of community is formed. We respectfully provide the following thoughts and feedback as you try to save money and reallocate funds to further the education of our children.

We support the cluster model. This model allows neighborhoods to come together, rally around, and invest in our schools.

We support the expansion of SPARK and Mary Lin. These schools are highly successful. We believe expanding them to accommodate our growing communities makes sense.

We strongly urge you to slow down this process. There are many decisions that can be made in April and implemented this fall. But some choices within the Grady Cluster, such as how to add middle school capacity, do not have a clear answer and justify further research and examination.  On those issues, we ask that you slow down the process and partner with us and the surrounding communities to create long term solutions for our cluster.

Additional middle school capacity for the Grady Cluster should be as centrally located as possible.  A central location saves money on transportation and incentivizes community and parent involvement.  For that reason, sites like Inman Middle School and the David T. Howard school are better long-term candidates than those on the perimeter of the cluster. They both deserve serious consideration and thoughtful examination.

While that occurs, we strongly support using Inman Middle as a short-term solution; the school, teachers, and administration are familiar and well-respected.

We request an appropriate allocation of SPLOST funding for our cluster. Families in the Grady Cluster are fully invested in the Atlanta Public Schools. We have some of the best performing schools in the system, and their success attracts more families into our neighborhoods and schools. We ask that you invest in the Grady Cluster. Expand SPARK, expand Mary Lin, and address our middle and high school capacity, and in turn we will continue to invest in APS and help make our schools great!

Finally, we ask that you post APS’ new enrollment projections for the new Grady Cluster. The plan you shared with the district gives us a high-level understanding of how the zones will change. We are enthusiastic about your plan to put an end to administrative transfers. Unfortunately, without enrollment projections that include an estimate of how limiting administrative transfers impacts these numbers, we will not have a full and meaningful understanding of the proposed plan.

Thank you for your efforts in this process and for your consideration of the above requests.

Sincerely,

Virginia Highland Civic Association

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