After Months Of Debate, A Vote — And For D.H. Stanton, A Reprieve
Marathon meeting of parents and APS officials results in adoption of redistricting plan — with modifications.
Following months of discussion and sometimes cantakerous debate, the Atlanta Public Schools' Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a set of rezoning recommendations that results in school closures, but spares D.H. Stanton Elementary and two others.
The vote — which came at 11:31 p.m. — followed several hours of discussion from parents and supporters of D.H. Stanton, F.L. Stanton and Towns elementary schools who pleaded with board members to keep the three institutions open.
Rueben R. McDaniel III, APS' board chairman, suggested the final plan submitted earlier Tuesday by district Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. be revised to take them off the list of 10 slated for closure.
McDaniel's move was welcomed by those schools' supporters, particularly D.H. Stanton in Peoplestown and Towns in northwest Atlanta, which were last minute additions to the closure lists.
The two schools only learned they were in danger of closing on March 31st, as the district went on its annual spring break holiday.
The board vote which keeps them open was meet with shouts of joy, fist pumps in the air and applause.
"The past 10 days have been dificult for the D.H. Stanton community. We've have to shift from working to improve our school to working to get it off a closure list," Kevin Lynch, president of the Peoplestown Neighborhood Association told East Atlanta Patch following the meeting.
"Now that D.H. Stanton will remain open, we'll gor hs will remain open we'll go back to working with school and district leaders, neighbors and parents,
faculty and neighborood stakeholders to make it a school we can all be
proud to send our kids to."
But while the East Atlanta Patch neighborhood of Peoplestown, celebrated victory, another Patch community, Capitol Gateway, lost its battle to keep its school, Cook Elementary, open.
Cook, along with East Lake Elementary and five other schools will close at the end of the school year; the changes in Davis' plan are to to be incorporated by the time school resumes in August.
Cook supporters and other neighborhoods vowed they would not forget what they saw as a slight to their communities and that if they lost this fight, they would remember come election day next year, when several board seats come up for a vote.
The redistricting plan's other key points:
- It opens enrollment at the district’s two single gender middle and high schools – Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy and B.E.S.T. Academy – to students districtwide.
- It also creates nine clusters of elementary schools feeding into the same middle schools and then specific high schools. The goal is to keep students together from kindergarden through 12th grade.
For a recap of minute-by-minute events and highlights from Tuesday night's meeting, please click on Patch's live blog link.
Please click on the video clips above to see the historic board vote and the advocacy of Peoplestown residents for D.H. Stanton.