Decatur School Board holding special work session on facilities needs
Decatur’s School Board will meet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 to discuss “facilities master planning.”
There’s no supporting documentation for the board agenda. Last month, Superintendent David Dude said he would call a special work session before the next regular School Board meeting to discuss items removed from the previous agenda.
One of those items was consideration of a lease for Atlanta’s East Lake Elementary School. Another involved a discussion of pre-construction and design work for City Schools of Decatur building projects. CSD is expanding its high school and middle school. But the proposed lease of East Lake Elementary has received extra scrutiny from parents of students in Atlanta Public Schools and City Schools of Decatur.
Chief Operating Officer Noel Maloof reports that the lease of the school, located four blocks from City Schools of Decatur’s 4/5 of Academy, will save taxpayers millions.
Under the terms of the lease, CSD would begin renting the building in June and the lease would expire in 2019. CSD would pay $6,614 a month in rent, plus other expenses. Maloof told the school board the total costs for year one will be $220,000. Year two expenses would be $170,000. Those costs include utility bills for the school.
If CSD were to buy 24 portables to house students, it would cost $2.7 million for the first year, Maloof says. Total costs for the second year would be $288,000.
The prospect of renting East Lake comes as Decatur is grappling with growth. 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.
In East Lake, there’s some hope that APS would find a new use for the building which has been unoccupied since 2012. The lease indicates that APS doesn’t have any immediate plans to reuse it. In Decatur there’s trepidation about what leasing the school would mean for current CSD students. Would some be rezoned to East Lake? Dude has said he does not support that idea. At the moment, it’s unclear how CSD would use the property and it’s not defined in a draft of the lease posted on the school system’s website.
The School Board meeting will be held at CSD central office, located at 125 Electric Avenue in Decatur. All meetings are open to the public.