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Burgess-Peterson Academy Could Close Under School Redistricting Proposal

Consultant's study also calls for closures of Benteen, East Lake and Thomasville elementary schools

When Atlanta Public Schools faced the possibility of losing its accreditation, the district lived under a summer of fear.

That threat passed but APS may need to brace itself for a winter of parental discontent.

On Tuesday, APS released several proposed rezoning and school closure or consolidation scenarios that call for drastic changes for several schools in East Atlanta Patch neighborhoods.

Potential casualties include Burgess-Peterson Academy and East Lake Elementary.

The proposals come amid several meetings district officials have scheduled this including:

  • Erroll B. Davis Jr., APS superintendent on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. at , 774 Virginia Ave. NE and
  • 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Parkside Elementary School in Grant Park, 685 Mercer St. SE.

But the proposals drawn up by APS' consultants are sure to leave parents in East Atlanta Patch neighborhoods upset and angry:

OPTION 1:

  • Mary Lin Elementary: Expand total student capacity by adding 176 seats
  • Thomasville Heights Elementary: CLOSE
  • Cook Elementary: CLOSE
  • Burgess-Peterson Academy: CLOSE
  • East Lake Elementary: CLOSE
  • King Middle School: CLOSE

OPTION 2:

  • Mary Lin Elementary: Expand total student capacity by adding 176 seats
  • Burgess-Peterson Academy merges with Toomer Elementary
  • Parkside Elementary merges with Cook Elementary
  • Mary Lin Elementary merges with Hope-Hill Elementary
  • Benteen Elementary: CLOSE
  • Thomasville Heights Elementary: CLOSE
  • East Lake Elementary: CLOSE
  • Whitefoord Elementary: CLOSE
  • King Middle School: CLOSE

OPTION 3:

  • Mary Lin Elementary: Expand total student capacity by adding 176 seats
  • Hope-Hill Elementary merges with Springdale Park
  • Benteen Elementary: CLOSE
  • East Lake Elementary: CLOSE
  • Whitefoord Elementary: CLOSE

OPTION 4:

  • Hope-Hill Elementary merges with Springdale Park
  • Mary Lin Elementary merges with Toomer Elementary
  • Benteen Elementary: CLOSE
  • East Lake Elementary: CLOSE

All year, district officials have said no final decisions have been made, but at an October meeting of the Council of Intown Neighborhood Schools, Brenda J. Muhammad, APS board chairwoman, told parents changes are inevitable.

"The reality is that some changes are going to have to be made," Muhammad said, alluding to the demographic study.

"Nobody wants to see something happen to their school," she said, "but something is going to have to happen somewhere."

But the bulk of the closures seem to be affecting those schools south and east of downtown — the exception being Candler Park's Mary Lin — while children more affluent North Atlanta and Midtown would have new schools constructed for them.

"This is a starting point," said Doug Wood, CINS co-president. "That's why it's important to come out to the meetings, hear the logic behind it and provide input.

"The bulk of closures are going to be coming from underutilized schools, but how they reconfigured it, is that fair?"

Marcia Killingsworth November 30, 2011 at 02:20 AM
Ummm, wasn't Burgess-Peterson on display as a local educational success story for a visit from our First Lady earlier this year? And now one of the suggestions is to close it, and another to merge it with another school? Wow. Things sure change quickly around here.
Péralte Paul (Editor) November 30, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Don't forget, B-P's principal received a $7,500 grant just today today for her leadership as an educator.
Marcia Killingsworth November 30, 2011 at 04:22 AM
Thank you, Monsieur Paul. I saw that after I posted. So here's my question for the Patch reporting team: WHY is anything affecting B-P even on the TABLE????? Riddle me that! (I make light of it, but I'm dead serious about the question.)
Péralte Paul (Editor) November 30, 2011 at 04:37 AM
I could give a cynical answer, but it wouldn't be Patchy of me.
Marcia Killingsworth November 30, 2011 at 05:10 AM
Heh, Peralte. I won't try to pin you down. (And why can't I reply to YOUR comment??)
JR Garcia November 30, 2011 at 02:50 PM
These scenarios and initial recommendations by the objective demographers could care less about the First Lady and any organic garden being cultivated. They are looking strictly at the utilization of capacity. BPA is at 33%, the second lowest rate of all elementary schools. There are 259 students enrolled at BPA with a capacity of 770. They are looking at pragmatic number, only. Closure is ONLY one of the four scenarios. I think it's unlikely it will closed, considering it's a fairly new building - paid for by our tax SPLOST dollars. Let's not be alarmist and provide the requested (and needed) input to the demographers and school system :)
Péralte Paul (Editor) November 30, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Good points, Ramiro. What do you think all this uncertainty will do to property values in Candler Park, Kirkwood and Edgewood?
JR Garcia November 30, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Many, if not most, intown 'hoods will be impacted, somehow - some more than others. If Candler Park Lake Claire embrace the Kirkwood option, any short-term drop (if at all) will be gained by Kirkwood... So, in theory, the tax base to the school system and CoA, should not be impacted. Long term, by having Kirkwood 'improve' and somewhat 'buffer' the perceived 'better' n'hood, it all improves! Higher tax base overall, more kids coming together, sharing their educational experiences and becoming better citizens :) Kumbaya, kumbaya, kumbaya ...
Dennis Madsen November 30, 2011 at 07:09 PM
This points to a larger issue which is that neither of those numbers is accurate. BPA actually hit october with over 300 students, and the design FTE is actually 612 students; something close to a 50% utilization. Of course, all of this ignores all the things that come into play beyond pure efficiency. Aspects like role of a neighborhood school within its community, walkability, sustainability, potential for growth, condition of facility... It appears that the demographics have done what was asked of them - that is, analyze the enrollment v. capacity numbers - but that there are a number of subsequent steps and analyses that need to be made before any option can be reasonably considered.
andrew December 01, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Given that East Lake Elementary is closed under every option it seems the other factors outside of resource utilization have been considered. I'll leave this here. http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/05/atlanta.public.schools.scandal/index.html
JR Garcia December 01, 2011 at 05:12 PM
I think this is a bigger factor: http://eastatlanta.patch.com/articles/how-do-the-schools-stack-up#pdf-8582528 How Do The Schools Rank? Drew Charter Comes Out On Top

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