Parents concerned about the future of Dunwoody’s elementary schools – Vanderlyn in particular – recently gathered to discuss a way to influence a redistricting plan that has sweeping implications for DeKalb County pupils.

A consensus was hard to come by. Kathy Forte, who helped lead the  meeting Jan. 25 that drew more than 100 parents, said that the danger in the Dunwoody community not coming together is that it would lose influence when county schools are redistricted.

Informally, the group agreed to put its weight behind a plan that would keep all students in Dunwoody in the cluster of schools within the city. It also, as a majority, agreed that the elementary schools in the city should divvy up students from multi-family housing so that they go to all of the schools in Dunwoody.

But the group backed off two alternative redistricting plans that were created Jan. 21. Many voiced opposition to advocating plans to the district that hadn’t been vetted by the community.

“I’m a little concerned that this is the first that many of us have heard about it,” said Heyward Wescott, a Dunwoody resident.

Currently, the district’s “decentralized” proposal would create a kindergarten through fifth grade program at Dunwoody Elementary School. It would draw the majority of students from apartments and other types of multi-family housing, parents said.

“To unify the whole Dunwoody community, we should strive to be under 40 percent,” said Sarah Smith.

Her family could be affected by transforming Dunwoody Elementary School, now a fourth and fifth grade school, to a traditional elementary school.

Achieving a balance between students from single-family homes and those who come from apartments, could be difficult.

Many parents said they think too much is being made about parents from multi-family housing not being involved in the schools.