City Schools of Decatur wants to rent East Lake Elementary from Atlanta Public Schools

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt November 4, 2015
Photo by Dan Whisenhunt.

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt. has learned that City Schools of Decatur is in the process of leasing East Lake Elementary from Atlanta Public Schools.

Representatives of City Schools of Decatur will attend an East Lake Neighbors Community Association meeting on Monday, Nov. 9, to present their proposal for the school. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Drew Elementary cafeteria.

APS closed East Lake Elementary in 2012 as part of a rezoning, according to

The East Lake Elementary building is one mile from Oakhurst Elementary on 4th Avenue. It closed due to redistricting by Atlanta Public Schools and was merged with Toomer Elementary in Kirkwood. Former Superintendent Phyllis Edwards told Decaturish in February that CSD was exploring several options to alleviate overcrowding, including renting the East Lake facility.

Attempts to reach CSD officials for comment about the Nov. 9 meeting have been unsuccessful.

CSD is projecting it will have about 6,296 students enrolled by 2020. Currently the school system has about 4,300 students. On Nov. 3, voters overwhelmingly approved a $75 million general obligation bond to build additional schools and renovate existing facilities. It includes $15 million for a new elementary school. The school board has about six acres along Talley Street under contract.

Tracy Gould Sheinin, president of the East Lake Neighbors Community Association, said City Schools of Decatur Chief Operating Officer Noel Maloof will be in attendance.

According to the ELNCA meeting announcement, “Representatives of City Schools of Decatur (CSD) and Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will be present along with Matt Westmoreland, APS Board Member. CSD is interested in renting East Lake Elementary school.”

Attempts to reach Westmoreland have been unsuccessful.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • lhsmith

    This is absolutely unacceptable! We pay a ton of money in taxes, just like every other resident in City of Decatur. We don’t want our children attending school outside of where we live and right off of Memorial Drive! CSD better have another plan for overcrowding! What’s the point in living here and paying to live here if our kids can’t go to school here?!

    • Mcd

      That school is currently unoccupied. It actually makes good fiscal sense to use an existing structure…and “right off Memorial” actually refers to much of CSD.

      • Decdad

        No. I am not paying these crazy high taxes for this. There will be lots of very unhappy parents. I bet there are legal reasons this will not fly either. Breach of taxpayer contract?

        • LukeIAmYourNeighbor

          What exactly is the problem you have with this? Do you have another solution?

    • Decdad

      And why are we reading about this here instead of talking about it proactively with residents before they start going forward with it? Do they know we won’t like it and they are trying to do something in secret. I’m mad.

      • King Tommen

        They, um, are talking about it proactively with residents. The meeting on Monday is a regular monthly East Lake neighborhood association meeting, not some clandestine thing. The kids have to sit somewhere while a new facility is constructed, and there isn’t much space left for trailers anywhere. Do you have a solution for where kids could go to school temporarily that is better than the elementary school within visual distance of the city line?

    • TJOak

      Wow, how elitist and entitled of you. “Right off Memorial Drive” and “outside of where we live” — why don’t you just say with *those* people?

    • JC

      This seems like a troll attempting to stir the pot. Someone trying to paint Decatur residents as racists or elitist. A small group may fall in to that pot, but most residents, especially those with kids, understand the overcrowding issue, and understand the steps taking place as a result

    • southernfriedlibrul

      Yeah, well I don’t want your bratty, entitled kids attending school in my neighborhood either, but sometimes an arrangement makes sense like this one. Get off your throne sometime and you’ll realize there’s life outside Decatur city limits, even–gasp!–near Memorial Dr.

      • tiredofdecatur

        +1. Thanks sourthernfried for putting a voice to many of us!

      • JC

        Jeff, don’t feed this troll please. Most people here in Decatur are not like this guy-there are some in every city

        • southernfriedlibrul

          Oh, I know…his language was just so ridiculous and offensive that I had to chime in and remind him that paying Decatur taxes doesn’t entitle him to be a d-bag without consequences.

          But who’s Jeff?

    • Will

      Its 0.5 miles from FAVE. About 3 block from the city line. Its a short term fix until they can reopen college heights as an elementary

    • LukeIAmYourNeighbor

      Unfortunately those high taxes aren’t high enough to build that wall around Decatur to keep us East Lakers out. I can see Decatur from my house which means we are neighbors, whether you like it or not. Most of us East Lakers work for a living, so we don’t have time to attack you in your Leaf or Prius in the carpool line. We also try not to run over children walking to school, even if they are interlopers from Decatur. (Makes the holiday potluck a tad uncomfortable if we do.) You should be happy to know, we no longer have a commercial district that specializes in hookers and blow. It closed down ten years ago and the area will soon be pimping beer and BBQ instead. We may even beat Oakhurst to a restaurant with tablecloths! Bottom line, suck it up buttercup. This move isn’t permanent and if it bothers you so much, there is always Cobb county.

      • Bejota The Destroyer

        This….This is why I love living in East Lake. You sir, are awesome.

    • Special Ed

      You need to look at the positives. With all the racial diversity we have in East Lake, it’s a fantastic opportunity for Decatur school children to get some exposure to other races and cultures. This is a chance for Decatur students to learn about neighborhood diversity and also for our diverse neighborhood to learn from the Decatur students. I don’t think they’re likely to get that opportunity if the school location remains in Decatur city limits.

  • Oakhurstian

    I live close by there and would welcome a short walk and a chance to be around my Atlanta neighbors while keeping awesome Decatur schools….

  • Volvo Liberal

    Terrific! Problem solved.

  • EvenMoreDecDad

    Dont Feed the Troll

  • Chris Billingsley

    Glad to see that CSD is considering this. Decatur taxpayers and school parents should look at the details carefully. If it can lessen the hit of the bond tax increase then it could be a good idea. This school is within walking distance of the south Decatur boundary. There is a beautiful cemetery nextdoor. East Lake country club is also within walking distance. The foundation that supports ELCC has been supportive of school innovation. Maybe they would support some sort of CSD/East Lake charter school. I suggest that we study the proposal.
    What I don’t appreciate is that this proposal was released the day after the election. Voters should have been informed before Tuesday. What other proposals will be released over the next few weeks besides the diversity report? We shall see.

  • lhsmith

    Wow! I have to say I debated whether or not to respond to the rhetoric as I truly have no need to justify my statement. However, the personal vitriol is ridiculous. I feel the need to clarify my statement last from last night. I was and continue to be furious at the lack of transparency by CSD. Seriously, the DAY after the bond passed, they release this statement. Why? Could it be that it would have had a large backlash had they released it prior to the election? It doesn’t take an entitled, elitist like myself to see the irony in this. My statement regarding Memorial Drive had nothing to do with the neighborhood. East Lake is a beautiful and diverse neighborhood, like Decatur. However, the elementary is at the corner of a 3 way red light intersection on one of the busiest streets in our area, Memorial Drive. Additionally, why is no one questioning the money that would have to go into getting this school ready to occupy? It’s not exactly in the best shape.

    To all of you out there so righteously correcting, shaming, and name-calling those of us who may feel this way, let me say this. As adults, it’s concerning that you aren’t aware of how irresponsible it can be to assign intent to someone else’s statements. Your assumptions that I was a) looking down at East Lake and Memorial Drive as being beneath me and b) that I am a male are both incorrect. If by entitled, you are referring to the fact that I feel that as long as I pay taxes and bought a house in a community where I want my children to go to school then my children should have the right to stay in our community, then you are correct.

    To the name callers, consider that I may not want children around you either, as I discourage bullying behavior in my own family. I also encourage my children to speak out if they are against something, even if it is not popular and subjects them to personal verbal assaults.

    • King Tommen

      You do realize that Decatur already has some elementary schools near busy roads, and that the Talley Street facility will be adding another to that list right?

      I’d love to hear your proposal for where to temporarily house kids during this transition period that creates no hardship or inconvenience.

      This possibility was mentioned as an option before Tuesdays vote. Because the purchase of the Talley street property was contingent upon the approval of the bond, it didn’t really make sense to start this process until that issue was settled.

    • Special Ed

      How is Memorial Dr any more menacing than Scott Blvd where Westchester Elementary is located. Scott Blvd — good. Memorial Dr — bad. I don’t get it….

    • southernfriedlibrul

      Don’t blame us for responding appropriately to your public tantrum.

      I’m sure you teach your (very well behaved) kids how to choose their words responsibly, so if you don’t want to be misunderstood, you should set an example by reading your posts before submitting them. Your tone is what generated the vitriol here, because we’re fiercely proud of what East Lake is becoming and you’d better believe we’re going to speak up when someone starts shrieking about what a horrible place East Lake Elementary must be. Your disagreement with the decision to relocate to a temporary facility is completely understandable, but your reasons aren’t:

      “…the elementary is at the corner of a 3 way red light intersection on one of the busiest streets in our area, Memorial Drive.”

      4th Avenue is used by almost nobody from outside the neighborhood, and the carpool procession at East Lake is orderly and drama-free. I know this because I drove past it daily when the school was still active. Memorial Drive is completely irrelevant to the ingress and egress from the building unless you’re approaching from that direction, which I’ll assume you aren’t.

      “Additionally, why is no one questioning the money that would have to go into getting this school ready to occupy? It’s not exactly in the best shape.”

      This was a fully operational school one year ago. It should need little more than some pressure washing and a few visits from the facilities folks to check out the systems and perform some maintenance. And that’s assuming they haven’t been keeping up with it over the past year.

      “Your assumptions that I was…a male are both incorrect.”

      My apologies, madam. I should’ve stayed gender-neutral. The rest of my statement speaks for itself.

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