Inman Park Neighborhood Association Position Statement:
RE: APS Rezoning Proposals A and B
Inman Park supports Option A for the following reasons:
- It keeps Inman Park in Mary Lin, Inman and Grady, and preserves our historic feeder pattern.
- It avoids a K-2/3-5 Primary Center elementary school model, which has no support among the Mary Lin community.
- It affords Mary Lin its long overdue expansion as per SPLOST-III and SPLOST-IV
- It does not require crossing DeKalb Avenue/MARTA/CSX tracks
- It preserves our ability to walk or bike to our local schools
However, we have serious concerns about the viability of both Options A and B as a long-term solution for our neighborhood, our schools and for the Grady cluster:
- Neither option solves the long-term overcrowding issues at Inman Middle School, and we will be revisiting the problem in a few years.
- Both continue to exclude our neighbors in the Old Fourth Ward from the Grady cluster middle school in their back yard.
- Neither addresses the lack of predictability and stability that currently prevents many parents from investing themselves in public education.
Inman Park strongly advocates the following:
- Cluster Focus: Work together across neighborhoods and schools for a stronger, coherent Grady cluster consisting of the following feeder elementary schools: Morningside (in its current form), Springdale Park, Mary Lin, Hope-Hill and Centennial Place (see note 2)
- Support the Centennial Place mission and model and its need to expand to a K-8 configuration. We welcome their inclusion at Grady, but respect their current neutral position with respect to high school.
- No more split feeders: The same feeder elementary schools should be included in any northeast middle school arrangement for the Grady cluster.
- The “New Midtown Middle School” is needed in the Grady cluster, rather than Buckhead. Given that there is not enough middle school space to accommodate Grady’s elementary feeder schools in the northeast quadrant, we request that the “New Midtown Middle School” funds be used to add additional middle school capacity in the geographic area that actually serves Midtown. Use a community-oriented approach consisting of all of these feeder schools to evaluate locations and grade configuration options, and consider vacant APS properties as potential locations, specifically the David T. Howard building.
- Alternative Grade Configurations: Request that APS and ABOE immediately explore policy revisions to add developmentally appropriate alternative grade configurations that can expand the options available to the administration, Board and the neighborhoods to effectively handle the natural fluctuations in population both immediately and over time. These options may be applied to different areas of the city as appropriate to their specific needs. These options include:
- a. K-8
- b. 5/6 Intermediate School, a form of middle school which focuses on the specific needs of early adolescents ages 10-12 in their transition from elementary to middle school
- c. 6th grade academies: same philosophy as 5/6
- d. 9th grade academies
- Keep Hope-Hill open: Having three vacant APS properties in one neighborhood would be devastating for the community. Given the current forecasts for elementary school enrollment, the northeast quadrant/Grady cluster will need that space within the 10-year planning frame, even with additions at Mary Lin and SPARK.
- Capitalize on positive features unique to the Grady cluster including the Freedom Park PATH and the Beltline.
- Demand that the requirements of special needs and gifted students be reflected in the data and solutions with respect to capacity calculations.
- Eliminate administrative transfers to overcrowded schools, particularly those for family and friends of administrative staff. However, we do support allowing teachers to enroll their children in the school/cluster where they teach.
- Demand that supporting data is published, evaluated and corrected before any plan is implemented.