Again – Middle school merger on APS agenda

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 21, 2014
Coan Middle School. Photo by: Dan Whisenhunt

Coan Middle School. Photo by: Dan Whisenhunt

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis, emboldened by an online survey, said he still wants to move forward with a plan to combine Coan and King Middle schools.

Davis said the Atlanta Board of Education will have his recommendation on its April 22 agenda.

On online survey about the proposal showed that a majority – 55 percent – either agree or strongly agree with his idea. According to the survey results, 38 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. The survey showed 6 percent of those responding held no opinion.

“Under the preliminary proposal, the district would combine Coan Middle School and King Middle School, refurbish one of the campuses, preferably King, and build a preeminent academic and student support program at the combined middle school,” Davis wrote in an April 18 letter to parents in the Jackson High School Cluster, the schools that feed into Jackson High.  “I continue to lean toward this proposal, which has the support of 55 percent of individuals who responded to an online survey.  However, my preliminary recommendation will be modified to include more definitive information about the transition support, Coan’s potential movement from the East Lake site, and a projected timeline for the renovation project – all taking into account the best interest of our students.”

The BOE had been set to consider the idea on April 14, but Davis asked for a delay “to give my team and me time to perform additional due diligence based on several valid concerns expressed by parents.”  The board was ready to consider a recommendation from Davis that would’ve moved King Middle School students to Coan Middle’s campus this fall so APS could renovate the King campus.

Under Davis’ initial proposal, Coan and King Middle would be combined at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Students in the new middle school would attend classes at the Coan campus for one to two years while King Middle undergoes a $10 to $20 million renovation. Students in the new middle school would attend classes at the Coan campus for one to two years while King Middle undergoes a $10 to $20 million renovation. Starting in July 2014 the middle and high school principals in the Jackson High cluster would hold a six-month discussion about the future of middle school education within the cluster.

Davis’ letter doesn’t say whether he intends to modify his proposal. According to the Talk Up APS blog, during the April 14 meeting, Davis said, ““The real issue here now with respect to Coan students next year, is should we move all the students into Coan because changes will be taking place at the King building? The other question is if it takes a while to get those changes started, should we move the kids at all? I hope to have an answer by next week. ”

To see the results of the survey on Davis’ proposal, click here.


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  • Rick Derris

    The question is, why is this lame duck superintendent being allowed to make decisions of this magnitude 2 months before he’s out the door. Let the new Superintendent bring fresh eyes to this.
    This decision is going to have an effect on Kirkwood and East Lake for years to come. So far, I can’t see how this decision will benefit anyone in those neighborhoods and we’ll have 2 huge properties in the neighborhood just taking up space and families driving through 2 and 3 neighborhoods just to drop their kids off to school.
    Not to mention that this show no foresight as to the baby boom happening there as a result of all the young families moving in and the movement in the city to more walkable communities, which, last I checked, also means walking kids to school.

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