Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Support Needed: DeKalb Co. Ethics Board

Many of us remember that voters approved the establishment of a much-needed DeKalb County ethics board a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, because of the way its members were selected, its existence was challenged and undone in court. (For a brief history and update see https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/disagreement-between-house-senate-could-derail-dekalb-ethics-fix/5ioX3i3B8FU1bJHlFN7UMN/)

There is action in the legislature this year to undo that damage and create a new ethics board whose members must come more directly from the voters or their representatives than the earlier version. This action should resolve the problems the court found and create a strong, objective, and independent ethics watchdog group. But there is also the predictable opposition.This issue is important for the future of the county and the integrity of OUR government. The MANA Board urges you to contact the following members of the DeKalb County delegation to the Georgia House of Representatives as soon as possible to let them know how you feel.


N.B.:
Previous MANA posts pertaining to ethics reform in DeKalb can be accessed through this link.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Medlock neighborhood redistricted to Fernbank Elementary

The Dekalb County School District has finalized its attendance zone review and on February 4, 2019 approved the redistricting of Medlock children from Laurel Ridge Elementary to Fernbank Elementary. Attendance to Druid Hills Middle and High Schools remains unchanged. Fernbank Elementary is authorized to teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme and is located in the Druid Hills neighborhood.

New Fernbank Elementary attandance map (in green), approved Feb 4, 2019.
Medlock Area Neiborhood Association homes are outlined in bright pink.
Please refer to full-size map at https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=1013253&MID=75258). Click to enlarge
This announcement is not unexpected (multiple meetings are documented in the DCSD website, with the final approval available here). The news is still bittersweet for many. As is the case for most neighborhoods, our elementary schools have served as community engagement cores as parents partner with local teachers and administrators in the care and education of the little ones. When Medlock Elementary closed in the spring of 2011, that focus primarily turned to Laurel Ridge Elementary (and later, also to the International Community School, a DeKalb K-5 charter school that relocated to the old Medlock Elementary site). Laurel Ridge welcomed Medlock's kids and parents with open arms and, with an influx of young families moving to our neighborhood, grew by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Laurel Ridge is now beyond capacity, and, as an older school, the physical plant is in need of upgrades. Enter Fernbank Elementary, whose prior buildings (circa 1957) were replaced by a new, larger facility that opened in 2015. Since reopening at 157 Heaton Park Drive, Fernbank has also welcomed school children from the Cross Keys attendance zone while a new facility for the John R. Lewis Elementary was built. As the new John R. Lewis school opens in Fall 2019,  Cross Keys children will leave Fernbank, passing the baton to our Medlock kids (as well as others, please see the new attendance map here).

http://www.fernbankes.dekalb.k12.ga.us/Fernbank Elementary is helping the transition as follows:
"If you are a parent who is being redistricted into Fernbank's attendance zone, we are excited your family will be joining us! We are planning some things for you:
  • One evening in March, we will host an open house for parents and students alike. This date and more details will be announced soon! 
  • On Saturday, May 4th, at 3pm, we will be holding a "family play date" on our playground and back field. This will be an opportunity for our existing Fernbank families to welcome, mix and mingle with our new ones before school lets out. 
  • For all new families who will be joining Fernbank in the fall, we will be extending an invite (and accepting new members) to join our Fernbank Parent Facebook group once the cluster redistricting is finalized."
Additionally, campus tours are available as outlined in its Future Students page at https://www.fernbankelementary.com/future-students. Please visit Fernbank's website for information on the Pre-K lottery. Also note that Fernbank is inviting new and transfer students to participate in their summer camp