Rep. Drenner will introduce annexation bills on behalf of Decatur, Avondale Estates, Clarkston

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 23, 2015
State Rep. Karla Drenner. Source: Facebook

State Rep. Karla Drenner. Source: Facebook

This story has been updated. 

State Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, intends to introduce three annexation bills today, but told Decaturish that the bills may not be successful before the end of the current session.

Drenner made her announcement via, a social networking site that disseminates information at a neighborhood level.

She said she will introduce bills related to Clarkston’s annexation, portions of Decatur’s annexation plan that encompass her district, primarily on the city’s eastern border, and the Avondale Estates Annexation Master Plan.

On the website, Drenner suggested she still had some reservations about the Avondale plan, in spite of the recent election of Jonathan Elmore as mayor. While the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Elmore’s victory made Drenner feel confident moving forward with a bill, Drenner has reassessed the results of the election.

“I know that there are still concerns associated with this proposal; I also realize that the Mayor’s race was not a conclusive indicator, as I was led to believe while the candidates were running,” Drenner wrote. “(Note: I did look at all of the websites for their positions on annexation and people do flip-flop; I did watch the petition results (despite the fact that some said that they would not sign because it was too public). I have sought some level of correlation relying and respecting on our representative form of government.”

Drenner elaborated on her post saying that there will be another mayoral election in November, and Elmore is expected to run again. She is looking to that election for a clearer indication of which way voters are leaning on the annexation issue.

“This is an interim mayor they’ll have another election cycle in November and perhaps they’ll make it clear one way or the other whether they want to proceed forward,” Drenner said.

She also said that the current thinking is none of the annexation bills are going to move forward this year.

“Some of the rumors are that none of the annexations are going to go forward this year,” she said. “That’s what I’ve heard on the city side.”

Drenner said she is also not sure about the chances of the cityhood bills moving forward this year.

The borders of LaVista Hills and Tucker have changed again, and state Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, one of five appointed members who created the compromise map last year, said he’s not too happy about it.

“I gave my word to the people of both city hood groups that I would not support changes to that line and I will be true to my word,” he said in a Facebook post. “The Legislative process is far from over but in their present form, I stand now opposed to both the LaVista Hills and Tucker bills.”

Here is Drenner’s full post on


I wanted to let everyone know in advance that tomorrow at the DeKalb delegation meeting (12pm or upon adjournment, room 405 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building) I will have read three local bills that have to do with annexations. First, Clarkston’s annexation, this bill passed late last session and did not get on the ballot properly and thus voters had to request a special ballot.…

Second, Decatur, I will be introducing sections B-3, C & E of Decatur’s plan (does not include Suburban Plaza), this annexation only coincides with the areas that I represent. All other areas in Decatur’s Master Plan have not been introduced.……

Lastly, and of note for Avondale Estates, is the map highlighted in the link below minus Decatur Terrence. (When you look at the data make sure and delete Decatur Terrence from the totals.) I know that there are still concerns associated with this proposal; I also realize that the Mayor’s race was not a conclusive indicator, as I was led to believe while the candidates were running. (Note: I did look at all of the websites for their positions on annexation and people do flip-flop; I did watch the petition results (despite the fact that some said that they would not sign because it was too public)). I have sought some level of correlation relying and respecting on our representative form of government.

I understand that some residents inside of the City want more questions to be answered; some believe that it is not about the questions as much as it a “way of life”; and then others are goring a dead ox….

Then to those that live outside of the City, they have shown their support thru petitions and public meetings and by spending their money within the City of Avondale Estates, they also have made their case clear.

I would like to protect all of these potential areas from any encroachment, introducing the map does not mean that the map as is passes… it does mean that when it gets to the Senate, another Mayoral election can occur, more information can be obtained and the areas outside of Avondale can reevaluate if there are other alternatives that would be amenable. I know that all of us would like for some certainty and stability to occur in the County and yet our schools and commercial property are still in jeopardy from being annexed into Atlanta and if that occurs; it won’t matter where we live in a City or County, all of us will be paying the price. Tomorrow is step forward, not the last step… all of us have a role to play in solving these problems. I would like to thank all of you for your input.…….…

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect spelling of a name. The story has been updated with the correct spelling. 

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  • Guest

    Wow. Decatur’s annexation report said that its plan would add 432 students to City Schools of Decatur right off the bat. Most of that residential area is within the B, C, and D sections of Decatur’s plan, which covers the Laurel Ridge, McLendon, and Avondale Elementary zones. Moving that many kids into City Schools of Decatur is really going to decimate those schools’ attendance rolls, especially Laurel Ridge’s enrollment.

  • Done

    How can Drenner profess that she’s protecting DeKalb schools when she’s actively chipping away at the commercial tax base that supports DeKalb’s schools, and wrapping it up with a bow and giving it Decatur? She criticizes Marshall Orson for trying to keep a cluster together and takes resources away from the county at the same time? Really Karla?

    • Hugh Bean

      Karla’s given up on doing anything that could be considered “the right thing.” Now she’s doing the expedient thing.

      I suppose it should come as no surprise. Our elected officials in the General Assembly, all of them, are pushing to erase what’s left of DeKalb’s cohesion and integrity. So why would they demonstrate integrity themselves?

  • DHer

    It’s amazing how out of touch state reps are from local government. They operate in a different set of dimensions.

    • commoncitizen

      From the Decatur local government perspective, right or wrong, the city council and school board want annexation. Hence the “master plan”. Drenner’s actions, again, right or wrong, seem to be perfectly in touch with that.

      • DeKalbMama

        I can certainly see Decatur’s perspective, but what about DeKalb. The Atlanta annexation proposal is vehemently opposed because it is taking resources / money away from DCSD and removing students from schools. I find it bizarre that there is not the same degree of outcry, outrage, and outright calling for people to be fired in this instance.

        • MedlockDad

          Because Drenner is doing her job a representative for those areas and not stepping outside the areas that she represents. While I might not agree with Decatur’s annexation plan because of the loss of commercial revenue for DCSD, it is clear that she is doing her job.

          She is also doing her job calling out Marshall Orson, because if Druid Hills High School goes to APS, the kids of her constituents would no longer be able to go to their zoned high school. They can’t be annexed into Atlanta because they are in their own city.

          However, I don’t see how private meetings to develop a strategy for Atlanta to annex part of the Druid Hill’s cluster is really a part of Marshall Orson’s job description as a school board member for DCSD. Perhaps you can explain it to me though, because by your tone I would guess that you were either at those meetings or some of your close associates were.

  • DeKalbMama

    What is going to happen now, I wonder. Let’s see, we have a population in Avondale with an under-attended elementary school and vacation middle and high schools, under a city government that is not allowed to create a school system, sharing a significant portion of its border with another city that has an independent school district that is woefully overcrowded and now adding another 400+ students through annexation (not counting those moving into the system through families moving to that city with great schools)….. Wonder how this plays out? DeKalb will lose not only the kids in the attendance zones covered by Avondale AND the commercial properties whose taxes go to support the schools that Decatur is absorbing, but also those extremely valuable facilities, one of which houses its high-performing School of the Arts. Not to mention 400+ kids taking from LRE / DHMS / DHHS. Yowch, Drenner. Way to “preserve” DeKalb schools!

    • Guest

      So I suppose that could be what’s going on, and that would make sense if you lived in Decatur or Avondale Estates. Apparently the law is a little different from when City of Decatur was able to annex the City of Oakhurst and City of Atlanta was able to annex the City Kirkwood, in that Avondale Estates might have to unincorporate first in order to be annexed and become part of Decatur and its school system. But that approach evidently isn’t without precedence either, because that’s allegedly the route the City of North Atlanta took when it disbanded in the mid-1960s in order to become part of CoA.

      • DeKalbMama

        Yep. And I bet the 60% rule would work just fine for the AE to get their numbers.

        • MedlockDad

          Talk about a good conspiracy theory.

  • Hippokrit

    Great point. It is totally ridiculous Decatur has twice – twice! – the per pupil funding than Dekalb and Drenner is proposes to let them cherry pick some of the few commercial properties in this county? Note this also breaks up the elementary school zone for avondale while Atlanta annexation becomes more and more inclusive now with almost 70 percent of the cluster.

    • MedlockDad

      Not sure where you are getting that this breaks up the Avondale elementary zone. Last I checked, this wasn’t pulling any school buildings into Decatur. Although I do agree that cherry picking commercial property to fund Decatur Schools needs to stop. Our neighborhood association has been very vocal about this. Also, not sure where you got your 70% figure. It doesn’t seem to track with any ATL annexation map that I have seen.

      • Guest

        Take a look at the map released this week med dad. Atlanta has almost all the non LaVista hills and non Decatur and non avondale estates area now. Small part of unincorporated avondale left. Guess what – it’s 90 percent people and actually avoids sensible commercial. Atlanta actually wants to serve people not strip the county of commercial tax resources.

        • RAJ

          Atlanta really wants the $250M in school assets from DCSS!

  • blackbird13

    Seems pretty clear to me the takeaway from these statements is that there will be no annexation this year and probably no new DeKalb cities. Perhaps it’s time to move on from this, at least for now.

  • Kids don’t matter votes do

    The figures are out and Drenner proposes to take over $ 7 million from an impoverished DeKalb County school system to one of the if not the richest district in the state. Dekalb can run several schools on 7 million. She cares not about the refugee population in her district not wanted by Decatur clamoring for education as they do not vote.

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