KEEP OAK GROVE IN THE LAKESIDE CLUSTER!!!!!
KEEP OAK GROVE IN THE LAKESIDE CLUSTER!!!!!
Dear DeKalb County Schools Superintendent, Dr. R. Stephen Green, and Members of the Board of Education,
We are writing with great concern regarding proposed plans that could adversely impact the Lakeside High School cluster and the students zoned for Oak Grove Elementary School (OGE). On November 7, 2016, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) proposal to address overcrowding at Cross Keys High School included a recommendation for redistricting within the Lakeside High School cluster. The DCSD recommended transferring 250 students from Lakeside High School to Cross Key High School. This move would include re-zoning one or several elementary schools that are in close vicinity to Lakeside High School.
We have been notified that at a recent meeting with concerned parents (November 10, 2016), Dan Drake and Joshua Williams indicated OGE is being considered as a possible target for redistricting to Cross Keys in the current Feasibility and Facility Study. This is the first we at OGE have heard that our students are at risk for re-districting outside of the Lakeside High School Cluster. We ask that you seriously consider the implications of such a proposal for our OGE students, the Lakeside Cluster community, and the community at large in DeKalb County.
This proposal threatens to disrupt a well-established, vibrant school community. OGE is practically right next door to Lakeside High School. OGE is but a mere ½ mile from Lakeside High School. In fact, the Lakeside High School Homecoming parade follows Oak Grove Road right past OGE, and the elementary school children cheer the parade with homemade signs and fanfare. OGE students look forward to one day attending Lakeside High School, a school that represents our neighborhood and our community.
Most significantly, it is very troubling to think that the DCSD would dislocate the OGE students from their neighborhood. Redistricting the students to Cross Keys, whether located at Briarcliff High School or at a new location in Brookhaven, threatens not only the integrity of our community, but the academic and social development of our children. For our students, leaving the Lakeside Cluster and attending a school in a different neighborhood will create a sense of disconnection from the neighborhood, the high school community, and their peers. Furthermore, the longer car or bus rides will extend their school days, thereby adversely impacting their opportunities to focus on homework, extracurricular activities, and peer relationships.
With regard to the impact on the larger DeKalb County community, it would not be logical to redistrict students from Lakeside and place them on buses to attend Cross Keys High School. From a pragmatic perspective, many students from Oak Grove can walk to Lakeside High School on safe, residential streets. Traffic in this area and surrounding communities is already a significant challenge. Redistricting students to a high school much further away would certainly not solve this problem. Instead, shifting students from a community right next door to Lakeside High School could only exacerbate problems with traffic congestion and pollution.
While we recognize the need to address the problem of overcrowding at local high schools, we have strong concerns regarding any proposal to disrupt the current school districting in the Lakeside Cluster. In addition to our grave concerns regarding OGE students, we must express uncertainty regarding the proposal to shift 250 students out from the Lakeside Cluster only to move 125 students from Tucker High School into Lakeside High. It is unanimous among the Lakeside Cluster Community that we want to stay intact. It is our understanding that several alternative plans have been suggested, including plans that would preserve the Lakeside Cluster.
We respectfully request that the DCSD reflect on the implications of the current proposal for our students, our neighborhood and community, and traffic and road safety issues. We ask that you please support a plan that would allow an expansion of Lakeside High School to accommodate the students currently zoned within the Lakeside Cluster now and in the future, particularly those students who are in closest proximity to Lakeside High School. Please do not support a plan that would destroy the Lakeside Cluster and disrupt a strong, vibrant, well-established community.