CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a comment about advocating for Coan Middle School to Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith. Patch regrets the error.
The Organized Neighbors of Summerhill on Monday approved a position statement it will send to Atlanta Public Schools as the district is in the midst of a citywide redistricting initiative aimed at relieving overcrowding in some schools and underutilization in others.
Summerhill, one of the smallest communities in the city — it has about 700 single-family households within its borders — joins scores of neighborhoods across the city that presented APS with their own position statements.
The statements lay out to APS what the communities say is in the best long-term interests of their children and neighborhoods.
As with other neighborhoods, Summerhill, which abuts Grant Park and is in the shadow of Turner Field, wants a clear K-12 feeder pattern.
"All of Summerhill would like to be zoned to Parkside Elementary, Martin Luther King Middle or Sammye Coan Middle and Maynard Jackson High," the two-page letter reads. "This will ensure a level of quality education that Summerhill wants and deserves, after years of neglect by APS."
Through the letter, residents also seek:
- An elementary school that children can walk and bike to safely.
- Zoning priority to Summerhill since its seen multiple school closures.
- A robust academic curriculum with strong and diverse extracurricular options.
- Administrators and teachers in our cluster who are experienced with a proven track record of integrity, transparency and academic excellence.
There was some debate from a few who felt the neighborhood should express a preference for a middle school.
King Middle, like Parkside Elementary and Jackson, is in Grant Park and closer to Summerhill residents. Coan Middle is in Edgewood.
Under the two preliminary redistricting plans, both Coan and King remain open.
One meeting attendant avocated for the group to to pick one middle school — Coan — noting the $1.5 million grant it received last year from a BlackRock executive and Emory University. The grant is targeted at funding initiatives to boost student achievement and keep them in school.
If King closed it could be converted to a charter school.
Parents in other neighborhoods that feed to Jackson High have said if APS opted to close King, the campus could be used as a temporary home for Jackson High students. They will have to attend high school somewhere else next September because the Jackson campus is slated to temporarily close for a $36 million renovation.
Ashlie Murtha, ONS' secretary, advocated for King, saying it was geographically closer to the Summerhill neighborhood. She also said it could be strengthened academically by making changes and additions to the curriculum such as developing an International Baccalaureate program, which would complement Jackson's own IB efforts.
But most of the dozen or so ONS members in attendance preferred that the neighborhood not pick one school over the other.
In other business, ONS approved a liquor license change of agent request connected to the Holiday Inn at 450 Capitol Ave.
Residents also were given an update on the ongoing revisions to the residents-only parking regulations.
The regulations, which go back to the 1996 Olympic Games, were enacted to help Summerhill residents keep street parking since every home does not have a driveway.
But enforcement has not been consistent and some residents want more precise language dictating what is and isn't allowed to better manage traffic and parking overflow issues that hit the neighborhood whenever Turner Field hosts an event or s baseball game.