Avondale releases statement on Atlanta annexation

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 19, 2014
Photo obtained via the city of Avondale Estates website.

Photo obtained via the city of Avondale Estates website.

The city of Avondale Estates told residents via email on Dec. 19 that city officials are closely watching a proposal to annex the Druid Hills Neighborhood into the city of Atlanta.

That annexation, proposed by a group called Together in Atlanta, would encompass areas around Briar Vista and Fernbank elementary schools. The annexation would also include Druid Hills High School. All of the schools are currently in the DeKalb County Schools System, but could become part of Atlanta Public Schools if voters approve the annexation in a referendum.

If that happens, it would disrupt the feeder pattern for several schools, including schools in Avondale Estates, which is zoned to Druid Hills High.

The statement form Avondale says residents have called and emailed asking questions about the annexation proposal.

According to the city, losing this area to Atlanta would mean …

– The City and other neighborhoods would lose Druid Hills High School (DHHS) to the City of Atlanta.

– Students could lose the opportunity to take advanced studies classes at the Fernbank Science Center.

– Students may have less of an opportunity in high school and middle school to participate in sports due to the loss of a stadium.

– Possibility of loss in property value.

– Taxpayer investment in a brand new facility at Fernbank Elementary School, and improvements to DHHS and other facilities, could be lost without compensation.

“The City of Avondale Estates will continue to monitor the proposed annexation and will send updates as needed,” the city says.

There’s still an open legal question of what happens if these areas move into Atlanta. Would Atlanta own it outright, or would it need to be purchased from DeKalb County Schools? According to WABE, DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond will ask the School Board to allocate $2.5 million to fight the proposal in court. Together in Atlanta argues that the annexed property would move into the Atlanta Public Schools system. To read the full story, click here.

Here is the full statement from the city of Avondale Estates …

Potential Annexation of Druid Hills by the City of Atlanta:

DeKalb County School District Properties Could be Transferred to Atlanta Public Schools

The City of Avondale Estates has received emails and calls regarding the possible annexation of Druid Hills into the City of Atlanta and what it would mean for Avondale Estates residents, particularly parents whose children are enrolled in the DeKalb County School District (DCSD).

This E-News provides a brief summary of the annexation and its potential impact, and includes links to additional sources.

Together in Atlanta (TIA–a group of parents and residents from the neighborhoods near Emory University and within the Druid Hills High School attendance zone) is calling for a referendum on annexing their neighborhoods into Atlanta. The boundaries of the proposed annexation include Briar Vista Elementary School, Fernbank Elementary School, Druid Hills High School (DHHS), Fernbank Science Center, Adams Stadium, the International Student Center and other DCSD properties. TIA says there is precedence for these properties to be transferred to Atlanta Public Schools (APS). TIA stated on their Facebook page they submitted their proposed annexation map to the state legislature and will work with officials to support a resolution that incorporates the map and puts it to voter referendum in 2015. Only residents of the proposed annexation area vote on their own annexation–City of Avondale Estates residents would not get a vote. DCSD announced at their December 8 school board meeting they disagree with TIA and will fight for these properties to remain in DCSD.Read DCSD’s meeting PowerPoint presentation for their full analysis.

How could this affect the citizens of Avondale Estates if TIA achieves its goal and annexation occurs?

  • The City and other neighborhoods would lose Druid Hills High School (DHHS) to the City of Atlanta.
  • Students could lose the opportunity to take advanced studies classes at the Fernbank Science Center.
  • Students may have less of an opportunity in high school and middle school to participate in sports due to the loss of a stadium.
  • Possibility of loss in property value.
  • Taxpayer investment in a brand new facility at Fernbank Elementary School, and improvements to DHHS and other facilities, could be lost without compensation.

The City of Avondale Estates will continue to monitor the proposed annexation and will send updates as needed.

Resources:

News articles:

DeKalb Superintendent Wants To Be Ready For Schools Annexation Legal Battle (90.1 FM WABE)

Annexing Druid Hills into Atlanta: A cherished DeKalb school community will be lost (AJC opinion blog)

Atlanta Mayor supports Druid Hills annexation (Decaturish)

Annexation – Student Enrollment and Tax Implications (DeKalb Schools Fact Checker

This is the latest version of the Decaturish annexation and cityhood map. It reflects the boundaries for the proposed cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills approved today, Dec. 19, by the cityhood subcommittee of the state House Governmental Affairs Committee.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • DHer

    So let me get this straight Avondale is worried about Atlanta annexation, but it is okay for AE to annex the DeKalb Farmers Market and Rio Circle from DeKalb?

    • DHH

      And they are ok being in a city but not cool with others being in a city

    • mbk

      Avondale’s annexation does not involve schools. Atlanta annexing Druid Hills affects the schools, since potentially several schools including the high school would leave the DeKalb school district.

    • CJ

      AE annexation doesn’t take schools from students.

  • Insight

    The stadium is staying with DeKalb county school district along with the old Briarcliff high school and the international student center there (across from target). The avondale email was wrong about those things

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