Decatur Schools: Some Lenox Place residents want to stay at Oakhurst Elementary

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt November 8, 2013
An incredibly reduced photo of Map 7, the top choice of the City Schools of Decatur zoning committee. The attendance zone for Westchester elementary  is the blue section int he upper left hand corner.

An incredibly reduced photo of Map 7, the top choice of the City Schools of Decatur Zoning Committee. The attendance zone for Westchester elementary is the blue section in the left hand corner.

City Schools of Decatur staff and Board of Education members may spend the long Veterans Day weekend reading emails.

The CSD Zoning Committee made its recommendations about how to redraw attendance zones to accommodate reopening Westchester Elementary in 2014. The top three choices are maps seven, five and six, in that order.

The BOE will hear presentations of each option at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. The CSD School Board meets at 758 Scott Boulevard, Decatur, GA 30030.

Map 7 puts the Lenox Place and Rosewalk neighborhoods in the soon to be reopened Westchester Elementary attendance zone. The possibility of moving Lenox Place students to Westchester Elementary something that was frequently mentioned by neighborhood residents giving feedback to Zoning Committee members.

Residents of Lenox Place and Rosewalk currently send their children to Oakhurst Elementary. The other two map options keep some or all of these neighborhoods in the Oakhurst Elementary zone. Full disclosure: I live in the Lenox Place area, but I don’t have children in CSD.

I know parents in Lenox Place are planning on contacting their BOE members and attending the Nov. 12 meeting.

Looking at the maps, I’m struck by one thing about the top choice. The railroad tracks define Map 7’s southern boundary. I only mention it because one of the topics I discussed with Superintendent Phyllis Edwards was the attendance boundaries before the BOE closed Westchester in 2004, citing low enrollment.

“We had people pretty well segregated by the railroad tracks,” Edwards said in our interview. “This isn’t a good thing.”

The CSD Zoning Committee made the map recommendations, with input from school officials and residents. Given Edwards’ disdain for using railroad tracks as boundaries, I’m wondering how supportive she’ll be of the top option presented by the Zoning Committee. The other two options would include some or all of Lenox and its surrounding neighborhoods, which sits just north of the tracks.

I haven’t been able to locate attendance maps prior to 2004, but I’d be interested to see how closely they sync up with the current options on the table.

If you’d like to weigh in on this issue, please email me at I’ll post letters throughout the weekend as I get them. Please keep your letters short, thoughtful and constructive. I’d like for the letters to be signed, please. CSD staff and board members read Decaturish and your input will reach other interested parties as well.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Megan Johnson

    I’d say “some Lenox place residents” is an understatement. As far as I can tell, the vast majority of us want to stay at Oakhurst; we value walking to school.

    • Well, I didn’t want to presume the feelings of the whole neighborhood. I knew at least some of them are interested in staying in Oakhurst. Yay, reporter hedge. 🙂

  • Randy B.

    As far as the aversion to being separated by the railroad tracks, pre-2004 was obviously a different era than post-2013. The fact that people are fighting to get in to rather than out of Oakhurst speaks volumes. The railroad tracks (and accompanying roads) are a natural boundary line that makes good sense to me given the current circumstances, keeping in mind that there are no perfect solutions.

  • Sarah

    I really value walking to school — it was a big reason why we wanted to move to Decatur in the first place, and I’m really sad about the prospect of having to either drive or bus my son the 1.7 miles to Westchester instead of walking the .25 miles to Oakhurst. To be honest, it’s made me reconsider our choice to buy in Decatur in some ways. We feel like we’ve been priced out of most Decatur neighborhoods and after finding a place we could afford we’ll no longer have the option of walking our kids to school.

  • Jeremy

    I have to agree with Megan and Sarah. I think it is really, “All Lenox Place residents.” And I have also been rethinking my decision to buy here and move from private to public schools.
    I crunched some distances on Google maps, and it looks like Lenox Place will have the worst commute to school in the city by a pretty long shot.

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