Decatur City Commission will hear school GO bond report and consider becoming a ‘Welcoming City’

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 1, 2015
Decatur City Hall

Decatur City Hall

Decatur’s City Commission meets Monday, March 2, and City Schools Superintendent Phyllis Edwards will give an information briefing about a plan to borrow millions for school construction.

The information briefing will be held at the work session, which begins at 6:45 pm. The meeting will be held at City Hall, located at 509 N. McDonough St. All meetings are open to the public.

School Board members are asking the commission to approve a bond referendum that would help the system cope with a projected surge in enrollment. The current enrollment is 4,364 students. All of the general obligation bond estimates considered at Tuesday’s meeting envision a low-growth scenario, which predicts a total enrollment of 6,527 students without annexation.

The board members had considered asking for an $82 million GO referendum, but backed away from that idea during a Feb. 23 School Board meeting.

Residents would be asked to vote on whether to raise their own taxes to pay off the debt.

In other business on Monday’s agenda, commissioners will consider adopting a resolution designating Decatur as a “Welcoming City.”

“Welcoming America is a national, grassroots-driven collaborative that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans,” the memorandum for the resolution says. “The ultimate goal of Welcoming America is to create a welcoming atmosphere – community by community – in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns.”

The organization is headquartered in downtown Decatur and Executive Director David Lubell is a resident.

The resolution would appoint Assistant Director Linda Harris as the staff contact for the organization. Last April, Decatur signed onto the Charter for Compassion and became a “Compassionate City.”  Commissioners later adopted “A Community Action Plan for a Compassionate Decatur.”

That plan that included a $25,000 contract awarded to The Art of Community. The money went toward facilitating a citywide conversation about compassion and diversity. While commissioners cited the Charter for Compassion in its proposal for the Community Action plan, Mayor Jim Baskett clarified that the $25,000 contract was not required because the city signed the charter

The Art of Community is also tasked with addressing concerns about racial profiling raised by the Decatur Community Coalition.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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