...Kat Lindholm, President, East Lake Neighbors Community Association

Why Coan Middle School is important.

Geographically speaking, East Lake is the easternmost community in the collection of neighborhoods that comprise what is the city of Atlanta.

But in the current redistricting debate engulfing Atlanta Public Schools, East Lakers feel their community is a metaphorical golf ball, being whacked here and there much like the ones hit by golfers in the East Lake Golf Club.

Seven plans have been presented as possible options to the 47,000-student-district's goal of reducing the number of excess seats.

But with a total capacity of 60,000 seats, APS has too much excess.

The most recent , released last week by APS Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr., reduces excess by 7,200 seats through closing 13 schools for a projected cost savings of $6.5 million.

Among the closures: and in nearby Edgewood.

Coan, which has 307 students, but capacity for 900, would be converted to an annex for the overflow of students from Inman Middle School in Virginia-Highland. Coan's kids would go to King Middle in Grant Park.

What's more, East Lake would be rezoned at the high school level out of Grady High in Midtown and into Jackson High in Grant Park.

All unacceptable say East Lake parents who were rezoned to Grady after losing in 2005.

It explains why East Lake, along with its sister neighborhoods, Kirkwood and Edgewood, to keep the school open for the neighborhoods zoned to attend it and stay in the Grady cluster of schools.

After the rally, East Lake residents met to discuss next steps and develop a plan of action. East Atlanta Patch met with Kat Lindholm, president of the East Lake Neighbors Community Association after the meeting.

Earl Williamson, RN March 11, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Coan Middle School Is Not Just A School, It's A Community That Cannot Be Transferred Or Replaced ! - Smaller classes - Walkable & Central - Graduation Generation Program of Emory University - Confucious Chinese Institute - Coan Learning Garden (1/2 acre) of Southeastern Horticultural Society - Coan Health Clinic - Public Park & Recreation Center Adjacent - Accessible & walkable afterschool programs - Program funding not dependent on APS - Community partnerships that save public dollars For the kids most of all, Coan Middle School must remain open and growing!
Decaturite March 11, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I get wanting to keep a community school open, but at what expense? Who is going to pay to keep Coan open when know one from the protesting parade sends or plans on sending their own child there? It is not responsible to ask the rest of Atlanta to have to pay more tax dollars to keep your small and underutilized school open. I have yet to understand how certain Toomer leaders are protesting at the Coan rally, yet send their own kids to Decatur with mine. It's noble to fight for your community, but please stop the grandstanding and identify yourselves as charter schools parents pretending to care for Coan.
Earl Williamson, RN March 11, 2012 at 03:21 PM
A great many of those at the rally currently have children attending Coan Middle School. Others plan on their children attending, in great part due to the walkable location and neighborhood quality of Coan. Please note that this was not a rally of Toomer parents ... it was a rally of Edgewood, Kirkwood, and East Lake parents seeking to keep their communities' middle school open. Coan Middle School is not small. It's capacity is on the order of 900+. Though currently underutilized it very clearly offers both the the location and available space to resolve worsening overcrowding at Inman Middle School. Hence the recent suggestion by some to add Mary Lin Elementary to Coan Middle School's cachement area. The existing infrastructure and capacity at Coan Middle School can relieve the critical overcrowding at Inman Middle School, currently at 113% utilization with projections reaching as high as 184% utilization. Coan Middle School is currently at 34% utilization and can accommodate hundreds of new students immediately with no additional cost to taxpayers. Kind of a no brainer if we're talking about cost effective utilization of available facilities and spaces. Particularly given the academic and non profit resources supporting Coan Middle School at no additional expense to tax payers.
ESL March 11, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Coan could also be used as K-8 for Eastlake, Kirkwood and Edgewood. If you close Toomer, and sell land- bing bang boom- additional savings to taxpayer. Also Access to Hosea Williams makes Pullman Yards more attractive to developers. There are currently 6 operational taxpayer funded APS facilities in Eastlake Kirkwood and Edgewood area- Burgess Peterson, Toomer, Eastlake, Whitefoord, Crim, Coan( not counting 2 charter schools) Earl WIlliamson I 'm with you on keeping Coan open just start advocating to close Toomer. If RN means that you are in medical profession then you must know the dangers of lead, barium and mercury especially on early childhood development. The 2007 environmental audit on Pullman Yards revealed 4000 tons of lead contaminated soil dumped right next to Toomer. For 90 years trains were sandblasted and the remnants were dumped in an area known as the BEACH in the environmental audit. Who in Kirkwood knows about the BEACH? Who in APS knows about the BEACH? You want to talk about keeping COAN? It is more than fine with folks NOD. It should not be fine with any parent in Kirkwood or the entire APS that Toomer is allowed to remain open- no child should have ever been 200 ft away from 4000 tons of contaminated sand.
Chris Murphy March 12, 2012 at 11:21 AM
ESL has his own axe to grind, and it isn't the safety of kids at Toomer. The Pullman Yards were environmentally remediated.
ESL March 12, 2012 at 01:35 PM
@ Chris Murphy- You have to use a machete not an axe to cut through the jungle of bureaucracy to understand my point. The remediation on Pullman was done in 2007. There is clear substantiated documentation of the location of the tailings from 90 years of sandblasting lead paint and repainting trains. The area known as the BEACH was right next to Toomer. Who knew about this ? Did Georgia Building Authority notify APS? Did APS notify parents? The dangerous effects of lead exposure to children has been well documented since the 70's. A generation of children were educated right next to the lead contaminated sand box known as the BEACH. The remediation itself was done by a contractor for GA Power which GBA negotiated the clean up in exchange for the land to place electrical substation. The sub contractor states that they used a novel treatment to bring lead to "acceptable levels.". In 2008 when GBA began aggressively to market the property again one of the bidders after testing property declined to bid because of " high levels of lead, barium and mercury" according to 2008 AJC article. ( CONTINUED...NEXT POST)
ESL March 12, 2012 at 01:37 PM
(continued from above) The current redistricting allows for an opportunity for the Kirkwood neighborhood to help get Pullman Yards redeveloped. This would be huge benefit to Kirkwood to have a vibrant mixed use development in the historic Pullman yards. If the K-8 model is acceptable to curriculum development people at APS and they use it at Centennial then why wouldn't Eastlake , Kirkwood and Edgewood get behind it for a location at COAN. Drew Academy has established that this can be a successful model. I was not the first to suggest K-8 for kirkwood. Doug Wood,CINS co chair presented this option last year to APS and it was rejected because converting an elementary school(toomer) to K-8 was cost prohibitive. If you did it at Coan you can save Coan and get the bonus of putting Pullman back into play Even though you may think I have an axe to grind it is more that I am offering solution options that solve multiple problems. I also know some former Kirkwood leaders who like this idea- and I don't think they have anything more to grind than their real estate interests and COAN was never considered a middle school option for their child.
Earl Williamson, RN March 12, 2012 at 02:06 PM
You appear confused. This discussion is not about the development of state owned property. It is about keeping Coan MIDDLE School open, as indicated by the consensus of the Edgewood, East Lake, and Kirkwood neighborhoods. It is also about ending the practice of using NPU-O communities as throw aways in re-districting and resource allocation (evidenced by the historical short changing of Coan). Clouding the issue with unrelated tangents (Pullman Yard, environment, K-8 Coan) appears more than anything yet another effort to cloud and dilute the positions of East Lake, Edgewood, and Kirkwood relative to preserving Coan MIDDLE School as a cost effective resource more than adequate to resolve growing overcapacity issues at Inman Middle School.
Acer March 14, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Drew Charter School : Pre-K-8th grade Imagine Wesley : K-8th grade Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School : K-8th grade All three charter programs are located within the Coan or King Middle School zones. Attendance is doing very well at all three programs. I'm not going to get into the charter vs. public school discussion here, but if parents within the Coan district want Coan to stay open........they have to send their own kids to school there!
Joe Landon March 16, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Acer... good point. All... because Kirkwood parents that I know don't want to send their own children to neighborhood schools - why would other neighborhoods want to come into these schools which your own residents recognize as inferior. Don't rely on Mary Lin and the Inman Park/Candler Park/Lake Claire communities to want to come in to boost your test scores. Stop throwing our neighborhood under the bus!
Yep, south of tracks March 19, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Joe, you ask others not to throw your neighborhood under the bus. You do realize that you do just that in this comment about Kirkwood? How many Kirkwood parents do you know? Two? A handful? Well, I am a Kirkwood parent and you are mistaken about our support for our neighborhood schools. I know dozens of Kirkwood families with elementary school age kids and all but one of these families go to Toomer. Let me help you understand why our kids are not at Coan. They're not old enough! We have an age gap in our community. We have two core populations - 1. elderly long-time residents who do not have school-age children. 2. young families with small children (especially toddlers and babies). This is clearly in evidence with the current Toomer demographics - 15 5th graders and 60-something kindergartners. Feel free to say the enrollment numbers aren't there for Coan today. That's true. But do not place the blame on Kirkwood parents. We do support our schools. Sorry our two-year-olds aren't old enough to fill Coan quite yet.


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