If the city of Dunwoody creates its own school district, it s students would be more likely to be white or to speak a language other than English at home than students in the present DeKalb County school system, a new study shows.

Robert Wittenstein, president of Dunwoody Parents Concerned About Quality Education, told members of Dunwoody City Council on Dec. 9 that the same study that shows a Dunwoody system could produce a $30.7 million operating surplus also shows that about 51 percent of the 6,000 students in the system would be white, compared with 11 percent in the DeKalb system.

Seventeen percent of Dunwoody’s students would be black, compared with 68 percent of the students in DeKalb, he said. Students with Asian backgrounds would make up about 12 percent of Dunwoody’s students, compared to 11 percent in the county system.

About 26 percent of the Dunwoody students would come from homes where a language other than English was spoken, compared with 18 percent of DeKalb’s students, Wittenstein said.

The study, financed by the city, found the Dunwoody system would produce $78.7 million in revenue from local property taxes and state and federal funds, but would have only about $48 million in operating expenses, leaving a $30.7 million surplus. It would be up to a future school board to decide what to do with the surplus, he said. He said startup expenses for the new system were estimated at about $5 million.

Dunwoody’s departure from the DeKalb system, he said, would cost the county schools a net of about $27 million, or about 3 percent of its budget, he said.

If a legislative proposal allowing creation of a Dunwoody system passes in 2014, he said, it’s possible a new system could open in August 2016. But, he said, the legislative process probably will take more time, so it’s more likely a Dunwoody system would not open until August 2018.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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