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UPDATED: APS Rezones Summerhill To D.H. Stanton

New attendance maps have Summerhill community zoned to D.H. Stanton Elementary in Peoplestown, following APS Board Of Education's vote on schools closure recommendations.

The Atlanta Public Schools released a new set of maps late Friday that reflect new attendance zones, following the Board of Education's instead of 10 as.

While most of the attendance zones remain the same for the schools of East Atlanta Patch, there is one notable change for the Summerhill community.

The Summerhill neighborhood, which in Grant Park, is now moved from that school and is slated to attend D.H. Stanton Elementary in Peoplestown.

"The revised redistricting plan was approved in its entirety by the board earlier this week, including all rezoning and feeder pattern changes," APS spokesman Keith Bromery told East Atlanta Patch.

"I am not in a position to provide the rationale associated with specific zoning decisions, except that generally they are designed to more evenly spread student enrollment among the remaining schools following the decision to close seven schools."

Earlier plans had Summerhill zoned to D.H. Stanton, but Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. moved the neighborhood to Parkside as many in the community wanted.

The Cabbagetown neighborhood, which , remains in that school's attendance area.

That the change for Summerhill came without any board discussion, isn't unusual, Bromery said.

"Approvals without discussion of specifics are fairly common for boards of education," he said. "Boards commonly stay out of the weeds in these matters, leaving it to the superintendent and his staff to attend to the details."

Summerhill residents, meanwhile, planned to meet Sunday to discuss next steps.

Here's how the school attendance zones in East Atlanta Patch shake out based on the new maps (Bold denotes an East Atlanta Patch neighborhood school.)

Grady High School Cluster:

  • Inman Middle School
  • Centennial Place
  • Hope-­Hill Elementary School (Old Fourth Ward): Old Fourth Ward, Sweet Auburn, Capitol Gateway, Oakland and the portion of Downtown east of I-75.
  • Mary Lin Elementary School (Candler Park): Candler Park, Inman Park and Lake Claire.
  • Springdale Park Elementary School

Jackson High School Cluster (Grant Park) includes:

  • Benteen Elementary School (Benteen Park): Benteen Park, Chosewood Park, Englewood Manor and the area of Custer/McDonough/Guice** south of Custer Ave SE.
  • Burgess-­Peterson Academy (East Atlanta Village): East Atlanta Village.
  • Coan Middle School (Edgewood): Edgewood, Kirkwood, East Lake, Reynoldstown and East Atlanta Village.
  • D.H. Stanton Elementary School (Peoplestown): Peoplestown and Summerhill.
  • Dunbar Elementary School
  • King Middle School (Grant Park): Grant Park, Cabbagetown, Ormewood Park, Summerhill, Peoplestown, Benteen Park, Chosewood Park, Englewood Manor, Custer/McDonough/Guice (and Mechanicsville).
  • Parkside Elementary School (Grant Park): Grant Park, Ormewood Park, Boulevard Heights, Woodland Hills, Cabbagetown Glenwood Park and the area of Custer/McDonough/Guice** between the creek and Custer Ave. SE.
  • Toomer Elementary School (Kirkwood): Kirkwood and East Lake.
  • Whitefoord Elementary School (Edgewood): Edgewood and Reynoldstown.

Carver High School Cluster:

  • Parks Middle School
  • Price Middle School
  • Sylvan Hills Middle School
  • Capitol View Elementary School
  • Finch Elementary School
  • Gideons Elementary School
  • Perkerson Elementary School
  • Slater Elementary School
  • Thomasville Heights Elementary School (Thomasville Heights): Thomasville Heights and Chosewood Park.

** While Custer/McDonough/Guice is split at the elementary school level between Benteen and Parkside elementary schools, the entire neighborhood is zoned for Jackson High School.

TooBusytohate April 14, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I am sure this is all the fault of the Mary Lin people
Chris Murphy April 14, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Bud, go fight with ESL and the Kirkwood folks and have yourself a merry time.
Eugene April 14, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I live in Summerhill and this move is just wrong. Please consider asking the board members to accept the superintendents plan (which had Summerhill going to Parkside) and to stop wasting our taxpayer dollars by keeping under-enrolled schools open.
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 15, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Hi, Eugene: APS' spokesman said the district has to "more evenly spread student enrollment among the remaining schools following the decision to close seven schools."
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 15, 2012 at 03:37 PM
How would you reconfigure them?
Chris Murphy April 15, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Peralte, Peoplestown wanted Stanton open, and it got its wish. But Peoplestown doesn't have the right to drag another neighborhood into its plans to make its school viable. It's possible that a pre-school plan could help fill the school, without taking Summerhill from Parkside.
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 15, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I don't think Peoplestown said they had to have Summerhill. The only public discussions I'd heard vis-à-vis Summerhill from Peoplestown is that the P'town folks felt the drive for Parkside came from a vocal minority in Summerhill. Some in P'town believed that Summerhill wanted to be zoned Parkside because they felt more comfortable going to school with kids from Grant Park.
Terry Roth April 15, 2012 at 08:54 PM
When I looked at the tentative map, all of Custer/McDonough/Guice was NOT zoned for Benteen. A special part of it (north of Custer to the creek) is zoned for Parkside. And the school boundary as drawn does not follow any city or neighborhood-recognized boundary. As far as I know, it's the only neighborhood in the Jackson cluster that is split between two elementary schools. That's wrong as it's not a good practice, it arbitrarily splits a neighborhood, and it looks political. It should be fixed, if it has not been corrected.
Chris Murphy April 15, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Stanton has so few students that they had to pull more from someplace, therefore Summerhill was moved there. Peoplestown's wishes have affects on other neighborhoods and schools. Terry: and that split also sends them to different HS's, correct?
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Hi, Terry. You're right. Custer/McDonough/Guice, the area of Custer north to the creek is zoned for Parkside, but the entire neighborhood is zoned for Jackson High School, when they go to high school. I've updated the chart in the story. Thanks for noting that.
Feroza Syed April 16, 2012 at 01:12 AM
I'm a resident of Peoplestown, and have been very vocal in keeping the school open and making it bettter. What people fail to understand is historically speaking, Summerhill and Peoplestown have not only been zoned together, they've worked together on numerous items that affect them both (Turnerfield, growth, traffic issues, developments, etc.). This is a very heated and emotional subject, and we can understand some peoples concerns. However, not only did Peoplestown not request to have Summerhill students come back to Stanton, we were shocked ourselves when they got zoned out of Parkside. I understand that people may want their children to go to a better school, but what about the fact that we wouldn't even have one????? While some may wish to have a better school for values, or even in a sense as a luxury; our residents (many who don't even have a car) needed a school with walkability. Even if not, what about the mere fact that we may want to fight for our school like others fought for theirs? The tone that many blogs, groups, and emails have been relaying is that Peoplestown, or D.H. Stanton are not only inferior, but not worthy of being considered in the greater cluster, or East Atlanta area (continued in post below).
Feroza Syed April 16, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Let me again be clear... We didn't ask to be put on the list for closure, while other schools complained about the possiblity of closure, we were working on the back end to make our school better, and intend on continuing to do so. When we did get on the closure list, not only did we work with our neighbors to save our school, we considered their wants when we put together our proposal, which is why we went with the Pre-k option. We will not be talked down to, or have our school be the topic of speculation. Please read our proposal and understand what our intentions were and are. If you don't wish to have your children go to a school in which a neighborhood rallies behind it, avoids closure in 10 days, comes up with a proposal in five days, and pulls in over 240 people to meetings in the middle of spring break and Easter, perhaps you should send your children elsewhere. Don't however talk down to us or make comments about our school (not necessarily here), one that has great potential, a wonderful new prinicipal, only minor repairs needed on the outside of the school, and has a great community supporting it. We are excited that parents who have this much passion and well wishes for their community may be joining us, and hope to see this much feeling and zeal come to making the school even better and look forward to working together. Our neighborhoods have worked together long before this and hopefully well into the future after this, as this too shall pass.
Feroza Syed April 16, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Peralte, you are absolutely correct. It was not the stance of Peoplestown to pull from any neighborhood. Also as you mentioned, only a few of our residents/speakers at the meetings mentioned their personal opinons and not facts, as to what may or may not have been reasons for people's reasons for wanting or not wanting to go to Parkside.
Terry Roth April 16, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Chris- that was correct part of as C/MCD/G was zoned for Thomasville and then onto Carver. But now it is all zoned forthe Jackson cluster. But now the line dippsy doodles around Wesley and bring some of that neighborhood into Parkside and other to Benteen. If I'm looking at the map right, Bruce Circle gets sliced and diced, which is weird since it's not a neighborhood boundary of any sort. Can you imagine one side of the line having higher property values than their next door neighbor, etc. Also, our school board rep and her neighbors head to Parkside under this scenario.
JR Garcia April 16, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I understand school closures are difficult regardless of being severely under-enrolled. But when you say "I understand that people may want their children to go to a better school, but what about the fact that we wouldn't even have one?????" Are you saying to keep the school open just so Peoplestown can have a school? I'm not agreeing nor disagreeing with this comment, just that Supt. Davis has been adamant and clear that we (APS and the communities) are doing a disservice to students by not providing the full funding available - which is supplemented by meeting minimum enrollment of 450. It appears Parkside would be the only school in the Jackson Cluster with FULL services and support. Just a factual observation. But, for the record, Summerhill does not have a school - McGill ES was closed a few years back and now Cook ES is closing. After experiencing two school closures, I don't blame them advocated so strongly to be in Parkside. Yes, I totally agree each neighborhood has a right (and should advocate) for their interests.... and it was totally unfair to be put on the list at the last minute. But one needs to look at the numbers and the growth projections. It's going to be delicate and tough conversation... as the current and projected numbers for Peoplestown are stagnant respective to growth of school age kids. Especially, compared to neighboring communities like Grant Park and Ormewood Park.
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Terry: I think people would pay more to be in Parkside's zone over Benteen. But I wonder how much of the property values are affected by Benteen vs. the fact that there's a prison right there. What do you think? When I bought my place in EAV, I looked at Benteen Park, but the prison was more of a concern for me, being sans kids, than the quality of Benteen Elementary. Of course, that was before the cheating scandal broke. I guess the question is: Which is more of a drag on property values: a prison or cheating-tainted school?
Terry Roth April 16, 2012 at 03:34 AM
You bring up a good point, and I guess both are kind of a drag on property values. Personally speaking, I think many people might notice the prison as it's noted on maps, etc. But I know so many people who moved into their homes and neighborhoods without knowing or caring about schools. I mean, if you don't have kids, you might not think about it unless you are hip to the property value arguments, etc. Just my two cents.
TooBusytohate April 16, 2012 at 03:44 AM
It's a fairly sad state of affairs if we are not sure if a prison or a public school is more of a negative.
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I know I was among the "not-my-concern" crowd, Terry. When my Realtor said I should consider schools (she wanted me to think about Decatur) I said I didn't care 'cause I'd put my kids in private schools, just as my parents did for me. She said others will care and not everyone wants to pay for private schools when we all pay taxes toward the promise of having good public schools. I'm still happy with my decision to buy in East Atlanta, but ten years and one cheating scandal later, I realize we would all do well to pay attention, kids or no.
Feroza Syed April 16, 2012 at 04:22 AM
No Ramiro, I'm not at all insinuating that Stanton should stay open just so Peoplestown has a school, and if you read my comments above and below that you can see that although under enrolled, it's extremely important for this neighborhood, and the Summerhill/Grant Park neighborhoods as well, to have another walkable/west of Boulevard Public Elementary school. Bussing our children to Benteen, near the fed Pen is out of the question for us. There are many reasons why Stanton should stay open, but here are just a few. Parkside is a wonderful school, but from my understanding was at the verge of overcrowding if Summerhill was zoned there anyways. It seems all of the surrounding neighborhoods wish to be zoned to Parkside, so there's obviously a need for another good public school in the area. All things considered, Stanton seems to be the best school for the job.
Feroza Syed April 16, 2012 at 04:23 AM
The things we were working on at Stanton, (Leader in Me program, IB, increased parental input, funding and strategy from private investors/businesses (Annie Casey/Braves), among others all show that Stanton has significant potential to be that school, we just need time. As far as the numbers are concerned we understand the need to be fully funded. However, to my point again if Parkside is the only elementary school in our zone with full funding, especially if we have 7, doesn't that say something about the need for another school to step up? As far as Summerhill not having a school in their neighborhood, we totally understand and want a walk able school to both of our neighborhoods, ultimately whether they go to Parkside or not, if Stanton grows into what we want it to be they'll have the option of two great schools in the area. We also don't want to be in that position in a couple of years where we don't have a school in our neighborhood and are either trying to get into Parkside or heading for charters.
Feroza Syed April 16, 2012 at 04:30 AM
We know the numbers are a problem, but that's why we came up with several solutions. We asked for Pre-k (can fill 100 seats next year from our calculations), are working on improving the school (will increase enrollment on its own), are selling quite a bit of homes in the area 140 homes within .75 miles of the school within a year (more families moving in), and as a worst case, asked that Benteen be moved here. It would be great to have an influx of parents and kids in and around our areas, supporting the zoo, braves, local businesses, and additionally just from a logical perspective Peoplestown is significantly easier to get to as far as accessibility (close to highways and major roads, vs. Benteen). Again, with good leadership, excitement, ideas, and working together as neighbors to improve another school in the area, everyone will benefit. We defintely have never wanted or tried to make Summerhill feel bad for wanting to go to Parkside, we support their decision and all we ask is that we get support from our neighbors for what our goals may be also. We hope that requesting a little support and respect for our wishes isn't making anyone feel like we don't want the same for them. At the end of the day, we all have to come together once this craziness is over.
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Actually, TooBusy, I said the prison was more of a factor for me than the school. I know people who looked at Benteen Park and weren't so concerned about the prison (many because it is a federal prison and not state-run), because as Terry said, the prison is marked on maps and you can't miss it driving down McDonough Blvd. They were, however, more focused on the school because that was something under local control and it was far from its highest and best potential.
Chris Murphy April 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM
All due respect, Ms. Syed- I can appreciate the fact that you and others advocate for you neighborhood. But like I mentioned above, you advocate for bringing Benteen and its zoned kids to Stanton, and also claim that Summerhill would benefit by having a "choice." How do you think the Benteen parents feel about your idea to bus their kids? How "walkable" is Stanton for them? Stranger things have happened in APS- lord knows- but it would be the lone exception to zoning for Summerhill to get a choice of schools, rather than be zoned for one. Also, when Stanton was proposed to be the zoned school in a previous plan, it was scheduled for over $10 million in funds to renovate the school- that does not signify that, "only minor repairs needed." The announcement and timing of Stanton's closure was not handled well by APS- there should have been more notice, and not over break. What I think Davis and his team did, though, is look at locations and which were in better physical condition. Benteen received major renovations and technical upgrades just a few years ago. Because that south and southwest section of the proposed Jackson cluster has lost so much school-age population, something had to give, and Stanton's closure makes sense from those angles. That Stanton was able to get such support after the closure notice was impressive, and the plans are too. But I have to ask, just where was the support before the notice? That history doesn't bode well for the future.
Chris Murphy April 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM
People buy their houses for their own personal reasons, but to me the biggest impediment to that area is not the Fed. Pen. The only problem I can remember there was the Cuban prisoners riot, and that was in, jeez, '88? And even then it wasn't like anyone outside the gates was ever at any type of risk (although the news crews, helicopters and smoke from burning mattresses would have been quite the annoyance). The problem in that area used to be Thomasville public housing, and the New Towne complex. Thomasville is long gone, but New Towne is still a crime-generating slum. And the Fisher Rd. complex, good gawd it fills the crime sheet weekly. Gladstone is another bad spot, but it reportedly is being gradually emptied for closure. But the Fed. Pen? Back in the '80's, the staff housing was in great shape, just like you'd expect Fed. facilities. Now, all the houses along McDonough and Sawtell are in disrepair- if I had a complaint (and, I do) it would be with their upkeep of the property. Still, those are in better shape than 90% of the rest of the properties along McDonough. And the Pen provides no danger.
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Thanks for the history lesson, Chris, and putting it in perspective.
Rachel Quartarone April 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I completely agree with this assessment, Chris. I am a longtime Summerhill resident and am among those advocating for Parkside. Stanton has had many problems in recent years. I am happy that the neighborhood is starting to support it and work on improvements, but it needs MAJOR work -- the kind of work that takes time, money and massive community involvement. The some 175 elementary aged children of Summerhill need a strong performing school that is ready for them NOW, not 5-10 years from now. It is a disservice to the children of Summerhil to move them from one under-performing school (Cook) to another (Stanton). We absolutely will not stand for it and will fight as hard we can to stay in Parkside's district. We have already lost our neighborhood school, are facing yet another closure, and our kids deserve better.
David Bottomley April 16, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Neighborhood support for Stanton had already begun. Like many neighborhoods the rezoning discussion had really raised awareness of our schools in Peoplestown. We were increasing participation in the local council and begun planning for leadership programs. From the jump it looked like we were going to be zoned Stanton/King/Jackson and we were pretty pleased with that. Also, all of Peoplestown was going to be zoned in Stanton rather than being split between Cook and Stanton and we were happy with that as well. In the meetings I attended there was no discussion of who else was zoned where for obvious reasons. In fact the PNA letter we submitted only said that we supported the cluster system and we wanted high school kids that got rezoned to have the option of staying at their current school. Closing Stanton was not discussed until the last minute and our natural position was to keep it open. Everyone wants their school to stay open. In the millions of words spoken at the APS meetings I'm pretty sure the phrase 'I sure am happy my local school is closing' has never been uttered. However, for us in Peoplestown where anyone else is zoned is not our concern. Perhaps Summerhill's desire to be in Parkside had an influence on the decision to close Stanton. So? That's Summerhill's right to lobby for Parkside and they have no obligation to support us. At the same time we have a right to advocate for Stanton to remain open.
Jon Mickle April 16, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Choice. Walkability or Quality Education? Pretty Building or Quality Education? Passionate Activists or Quality Education? More SPLOST Funds or Quality Education? Summerhill deserves the right to answer these questions.
Kathleen R April 16, 2012 at 11:26 PM
I live in Summerhill and as a concerned homeowner with plans to raise a family I demand quality education for my children. This is why we rallied for support to attend Parkside. This was promised to us as a community and clearly spelled out in the zoning documentation provided by APS, we as residents trusted the word of APS and are very disappointed by this complete about-face which appear all to be knee-jerk reactions. We went through the protocol of providing input to the Board and this is how we are rewarded? This is a serious violation of trust! I am outraged!

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