Druid Hills Charter Cluster officially disbands

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 12, 2015
Photo obtained via https://www.facebook.com/DruidHillsCharterCluster/

Photo obtained via https://www.facebook.com/DruidHillsCharterCluster/

This story has been updated. 

The Druid Hills Charter Cluster board has decided to call it quits.

The board met on Feb. 10 and voted to dissolve Druid Hills Charter Cluster Inc. The group’s announcement comes after a recent attempt to restart discussions about the charter cluster idea with DeKalb County Superintendent Michael Thurmond.

Representatives from the board met with Thurmond on Feb. 4. While Thurmond described the meeting as respectful and suggested there might be a way forward, board members did not see it that way. A summary of the meeting obtained by Decaturish says that Thurmond remains deeply opposed to the idea.

Druid Hills Charter Cluster Board Chairman Matt Lewis said, “While our efforts to provide meaningful reform, including local autonomy, innovative educational programs, and the state’s first charter cluster open to any student in the attendance area failed, the attention to needed reform will continue.  We are grateful for the chance to have worked with our friends, neighbors, parents, teachers and other professionals to boldly try something different in the interest of improving k-12 public education for all students.  We hope that the increase in school-based parental involvement this effort helped create will continue.”

If the Charter Cluster idea had been successful, it would have encompassed seven schools – Avondale Elementary, Briar Vista Elementary, Fernbank Elementary, Laurel Ridge Elementary, McLendon Elementary, Druid Hills Middle School and Druid Hills High School. The annexation would also include Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some members of the Charter Cluster group have joined another group called Together in Atlanta. That group wants to annex three of the charter cluster schools – Briar Vista and Fernbank Elementary Schools, as well as Druid Hills High – into the city of Atlanta. That has raised concerns among parents of the other schools that feed into Druid Hills High. It is not known where these students will attend high school if Druid Hills High becomes part of Atlanta Public Schools.

The TIA proposal is part of a larger debate over annexation and cityhood in DeKalb County. So far no bills have been introduced in support of the annexation plans of Decatur and Avondale Estates. There are also no current bills in support of creating new cities like LaVista Hills, Tucker, Greenhaven or Stonecrest.

Decaturish has learned that there are currently ongoing negotiations regarding the boundaries of the LaVista Hills map. While a legislative panel settled LaVista Hills’ boundary conflicts with a proposed city of Tucker, the LaVista Hills map does still conflict with the Together in Atlanta map.

Here is the full statement from the Druid Hills Charter Cluster:

The Board of the Druid Hills Charter Cluster met on February 10, 2015 and agreed by unanimous vote of all members present to dissolve Druid Hills Charter Cluster, Inc.  The group’s web and Facebook pages will remain up for two more weeks and all records, research, drafts and other tools utilized during the charter petition process will be preserved and made available to other groups, clusters, or systems that have interest in or need of them.  The board asked that any remaining funds in the DHCC, Inc account be donated to the Druid HIlls High School PTA.

“While our efforts to provide meaningful reform, including local autonomy, innovative educational programs, and the state’s first charter cluster open to any student in the attendance area failed, the attention to needed reform will continue.  We are grateful for the chance to have worked with our friends, neighbors, parents, teachers and other professionals to boldly try something different in the interest of improving k-12 public education for all students.  We hope that the increase in school-based parental involvement this effort helped create will continue,” said DHCC Board Chair Matt Lewis.

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

    I assumed they had already disbanded after having been rejected and their request for reconsideration never advanced to the BoE agenda. Kind of a “dead man walking” scenario.

  • zeek

    has the TIA map shrunk back to the Druid Hills boundaries?

    • RAJ

      Stay tuned!

      • Guest

        You guys are making stuff up. The strongest support for Atlanta is actually east of druid hills and north of Decatur. Since Decatur rejected them out of hand and looks like it is financially feeble Atlanta is the choice of Medlock Clairmont heights etc. look at their surveys.

        • RAJ

          PLEASE pay attention to what I post. I am at the Capitol three days a week at great expense(shoe shine $7 +$3 tip; $9 lunch at “Sloppy Floyd” Bldg; $10 parking; $7 dry cleaning & laundry)so I don’t make this stuff up. Surveys are long since in and well considered for what they were worth(probably very little),all e-mails have been deleted. Annexations which go thru local delegations depend upon city-hood bills which go first. Crunch time is next week!

        • DHH

          My sense is that you are correct in Clairmont Heights and Medlock having higher support for Atlanta than Druid Hills in its totality, but with pockets of Druid Hills also having strong support too (eg Southwest corner). The surveys though are very rough estimates. Putting this on a ballot is really the only way that anyone can really gauge how strong the interest is, and not knowing at this point is worse than knowing. The sky will not fall if annexation is on the ballot in November.

          • RAJ

            TIA and LaVista Hills boundary discussions are reportedly still underway, to what avail, I have no idea since I think the LaVista Hills map is set at this point.

  • Marjorie Snook

    I hope people are beginning to understand now that annexation has nothing to with schools (it never would have saved the charter cluster, it would have dissolved the entire DHHS cluster that people were so happy with and joined it into a school system with larger problems than DeKalb’s).

    Annexation is about avoiding getting drawn into some novice, gerrymandered city, something that the Druid Hills area and Emory have voiced strong opposition to (smart people).

    If we want to avoid those areas going into Atlanta, we should oppose the current cityhood efforts. Even cityhood supporters who think cities are inevitable, and they may be right, should want a more sane process that allows areas to be rationally and fairly drawn, with public input. The current mad dash approach, driven by special interests that are not accepting input from communities, is not good public policy.

    • RAJ

      After meetings today at the Capitol things are coming more into focus. A possible roadmap was suggested by a key legislative decision maker and meetings of city-hood groups over the long weekend could produce some way forward next week. Don’t think a meeting about DeKalb Delegation rules yesterday concerning Atlanta annexation produced any results, but cannot be sure.

    • DecaturNotDecatur

      THIS annexation and the charter cluster were tied. Look at the players involved.

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