Editor's Note: This letter was sent to the Grady High School cluster school principals and local school councils. Agreed to and signed by several neighborhood association presidents, it asks the LSCs to request the process that Inman Park, Virginia Highland and Morningside embraced in its position papers.
Henry W. Grady High School principal Dr. Vincent Murray and LSC Interim Chairman Wiley Sommerville
Samuel M. Inman Middle School principal Paula Herrema and LSC Chairman Mike Szalkowski
Mary Lin Elementary School principal Dr. Brian Mitchell and LSC Chairman Jeff Shaw
Morningside Elementary school principal Rebecca Pruitt and LSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Rogan
Springdale Park Elementary School principal Yolonda Brown and LSC Chairwoman LeAnne Gilbert
Hope-Hill Elementary School principal Dr. Cassandra Miller-Ashley and LSC Chairwoman Priscilla Borders
To the Local School Councils:
We are committed to our neighbors in the decision to stay united with the communities with whom we have a history of shared SRT-3 and Grady High School Cluster focus. On Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, a meeting was held between the presidents and representatives from these neighborhood associations: Morningside/Lenox Park, Virginia-Highland, Poncey-Highland, Inman Park, Fourth Ward Neighbors, Fourth Ward Alliance, Candler Park and Lake Claire. While this meeting did not include all the neighborhoods in SRT-3 or the Grady Cluster, we are hopeful that all relevant entities will join us in this position as we believe that this process will give everyone a voice in the rezoning process.
The following was unanimously supported by the above-stated neighborhood organizations: The neighborhoods feel strongly that a more deliberate communication process is required. Such a process would allow our communities to work together to reach a common ground regardless of APS demographic decisions affecting all children in SRT-3 and the Grady Cluster. Now that the Dec. 16th deadline for public survey comment has passed, we propose augmenting the community input phase of the process at this point by adding the following action through our SRT-3 Local School Councils:
- Combine our SRT’s Local School Councils with the initial SRT-3 Focus Group to create a single task force charged with ensuring all community and stakeholder communication and inclusion in the rezoning process. Include also two representatives from each neighborhood, as defined by the City of Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Units, to join as stakeholders to the process.
- Use this task force, under Local School Council bylaws, to build community trust through constructive parent and community stakeholder engagement across neighborhoods. Ensure that all voices and options relevant to this SRT and high school cluster are shared and clearly communicated from demographic process, to Superintendent recommendations, to final ABOE decisions.
We respectfully ask that the Local School Councils formally request that Atlanta Public Schools give serious consideration to adopting the above model for the next step of rezoning consideration. It is our strong belief that without this model, trust and confidence in the process can never be achieved and will further divide the communities from the school system.
We are committed to a process that is collaborative and inclusive and we are looking to our Local School Councils to provide the leadership for this effort. In order to ensure that this process can be included in a timely fashion, we request that the Local School Councils make this request no later than Jan. 10, 2012.
Carmen Pope — Morningside Lenox Park Association and Regina Brewer — Inman Park Neighborhood Association
Kip Coombs — Poncey–Highland Neighborhood Association and Jay Sandhaus — Candler Park Neighborhood Organization
Jack White — Virginia-Highland Civic Association and Matthew W. Garbett — Fourth Ward Neighbors
Kit Sutherland — Fourth Ward Alliance Neighborhood Association and Peg Zeigler —Lake Claire Neighbors