Friday, April 2, 2010
Dekalb County Task Force Can't Decide What Schools To Close
If you were following me on Twitter last night you probably already got the gist of what went down at this meeting, but I figured I'd still post up this news clip.
Basically, Dekalb County put together a task force that for the past two and a half months, did research and were supposed to vote tonight as to which elementary schools they were supposed suggest to the Board of Education to close. On Tuesday they whittled the list of schools for consideration down to 10.
I got interested in this because I saw that my old school, Atherton, was one of those schools on the list. Even beyond that, most of the other schools on the list were pretty much in the same neighborhood, and all of them were in South Dekalb...
So tonight, the task force was supposed to come up with the four schools they were supposed to suggest to close...or "consolidate," which was the word they started using more as the night went on. Those schools were Kelley Lake, Gresham Park, Knollwood and Peachcrest.
Throughout the night these folks sounded pretty indecisive. Nobody really wanted to make a decision, except for Ron Broussard, who you see above. While I didn't really agree with some of the actions he wanted to take, because hell, nobody wants to see a school close...that can really jack up the surrounding community. But he seemed to be the only dude there ready to make a decision. Even though it was ironic that when a school located in a more affluent community, he was animate about not closing it. Everybody else was very wishy washy. Which led to them not making a decision at all. Instead, they are putting the decision in the hand of Board of Education, who can easily decide to say "fuck it, we gonna shut down more than four" and not even explain why certain ones were closed. Which was supposed to be prevented, that's why they put the task force together in the first place.
It seemed like the task force was afraid to make a decision in front of the people, in fear of being attacked on the spot. Sure, they were taking a stance of "no school should be closed" but it didn't really come off as a thing where they really meant it...it seemed more so seemed like they was coming from a place of not wanting to be responsible.
At the end of the day, like Broussard said in an outburst...the last two months were a waste of time. Parents still don't know if their kids are going to have a school to go to next year. The meeting where the final decision is supposed to be made is going to be on April 14th at 10 am...while everybody is at work.
In my opinion...I don't want to see any schools closed either. My thing is, they are going to close schools anyway. I would've liked for them to at least come up with this list, so that the people affected can at least make plans to protest/appeal, make plans to start adjusting or offer suggestions that make sense. If a school has 500 seats, is failing and only has 120 kids in the school...then yeah "consolidation" should be considered if that's the most viable option. However, the community needs to know that the it will be a move up. Kids that are going to a "good" school shouldn't be forced to move to a school that is already deemed inadequate. And on the flipside of that, the kids that are going to a failing school, if moved, deserve to get moved to a school that is better.
And again...I have to ask what the hell is really going on in the school system. When I was in school, Dekalb County was booming. New neighborhoods were popping up every month it seemed. They didn't have enough schools, that's why they had us in the trailers. After while they finally decided to start building more schools to deal with the overcrowding. But now, years later, you're telling me that that there are too many schools? I don't know about ya'll...but I don't see people disappearing. Yeah, more apartment complexes are being built instead of houses...but the fact is that people are still here and are still coming, with kids and making kids.
Then they keep talking about the need to save money. But with the school closings, they really aren't firing that many people, they are just moving them. So, you still paying salaries. So, really no money is being saved. Then, they haven't even said what (if anything) they are going to do with these buildings when the schools are closed. Will they become community centers? Libraries...shit, Walgreens? They aren't telling us anything.
But yeah, this post is getting lengthy, just wanted to share this information with ya'll. I encourage you to follow this story if it effects you or anybody you know. I'ma try my best to keep up with it myself.