Recommendations to redistrict only a small number of students from Brookhaven elementary schools to the new Doraville United Elementary School does nothing to relieve overcrowding and instead breaks up a community, parents said at an Oct. 16 meeting. Parents said they did a support a plan to move students from Hightower Elementary to the new school to alleviate overcrowding at Dunwoody schools.

The new, 950-seat Doraville United school, formerly known as Cross Keys North, will open in August 2020 at 3630 Shallowford Road. The new school is expected to ease overcrowded conditions at Ashford Park, Cary Reynolds, Dresden, Huntley Hills and Montgomery.

At the Oct. 16 meeting, DeKalb Schools presented two redistricting options. One option calls for moving 47 Montgomery students to the new school and the other option recommends moving 20 Montgomery students. Both options recommend only 18 students from Ashford Park be redistricted to the new school.

“It is so few students, why move them at all?” one parent said at the meeting.

The first option focuses on relieving overcrowding at Cary Reynolds, currently more than 200 students over capacity; and Dresden at more than 300 students over capacity.

Option one of two presented at a DeKalb County schools Doraville United redistricting meeting Oct. 16.

The second option presented focused on alleviating overcrowding in the Dunwoody cluster by redistricting 106 students from Hightower Elementary to Doraville United. Hightower’s enrollment is more than 750 students, over capacity about 200. Dunwoody’s overcrowded elementary schools are Austin, Dunwoody and Vanderlyn.

Option two presented at a DeKalb County schools Doraville United redistricting meeting Oct. 16.

“We are all a little more pro-option-two because it had less of our kids going to the new school,” a parent whose child attends Montgomery Elementary School said. “But it is still a con because it breaks us up.”

Another parent also praised the second option over the first because it benefits Dunwoody schools.

“Option two offers significant relief for three very overcrowded schools: Cary Reynolds, Dresden and Hightower,” the parent said. “I think incorporating Hightower into the redistricting does offer some relief for more schools within the Dunwoody cluster.”

It is possible that students will be redistricted from one overcrowded school to another, not just to the new school, according to DeKalb Schools official Dan Drake. School officials said that students rising into grade 5 will have the option to continue in their current school, but with no transportation provided.

The first of three public input meetings about the redistricting process of changing school attendance zones was held Sept. 25. During a small group session, parents mainly expressed concern about safety and traffic patterns, and that neighborhoods should stay intact within the new districts.

One of the potential solutions presented on Sept. 25 from the district in response to overflowing school populations was to redistrict the Oakcliff Traditional Theme School in Doraville as a neighborhood school, the public school assigned by attendance zones.

After hearing community feedback strongly opposing redistricting Oakcliff to a neighborhood school, the district has decided to leave Oakcliff as is.

The district will explore the feedback given and present a final redistricting plan at a third meeting on Nov. 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Chamblee Charter High School, 7977 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road.

-Dyana Bagby contributed

Hannah Greco

Hannah Greco is writer and media communications specialist based in Atlanta.