The DeKalb County School District is gathering input on a plan to better school facilities and aims to have a final version in July.

The Comprehensive Master Plan process began last August in an effort to update school buildings and prevent overcrowding. 

“The Comprehensive Master Plan process is intended to first provide a district-wide, long-term facilities master plan in November of 2021,” said Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris at the Feb. 25 town hall. “It’s also meant to inform the comprehensive redistricting efforts, and lastly to inform effective and equitable allocation of resources.”

At the meeting, representatives from design firm Perkins&Will presented an overview of the timeline for the master plan as well as early results from surveys available on the school district’s website. 

“We want to end up with a plan that really establishes the system-wide goals,” said Barbara Crum of Perkins&Will. “We want this to be a real look at equity across the district and really have a system-wide strategic goal for this master plan. And most of all have a community-wide consensus.”

Crum said the district is working on assessing school facilities and has completed 116 out of 132 assessments. Those reports will be available online and should be ready to present in the second town hall on March 31. 

Crum shared some of the responses the school district has received so far regarding what residents want to strengthen in their schools. They include improved access to technology across the district, as well as diversity and equity. As far as building spaces, the survey overwhelmingly shows residents wanting to get rid of trailers and add additional classrooms. 

“That is really the major function of our master plan,” Crum said. “How to equalize the population across the district and provide the right size schools.” 

Crum presented a timeline for the next four town halls, which will be held virtually on March 31, April 29, May 27 and July 29. According to the timeline, a draft of the plan should be ready by the end of July. 

The plan process will involve collecting information about school facilities that will be used to help develop priorities for the next educational special purpose local option sales tax, or E-SPLOST, project list, according to the Dekalb County School District’s website. 

“We’re working towards the November SPLOST and want to get most of those decisions made by July,” Crum said. 

The school district did not take questions on the recently announced reopening of schools. 

Residents can offer their input on the Comprehensive Master Plan by going to the school district’s website and filling out two surveys — one district-wide and the other school-specific. Any questions can be emailed to CMP@dekalbschoolsga.org.