Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
October 27, 2021
E-SPLOST Vote, November 2, 2021
We encourage everyone to do your homework regarding the history of E-SPLOST I through-V in DeKalb as you prepare to vote on this issue.
Here is some info to get you started:
- E-SPLOST I through IV (2002-2017) – The first 4 ESPLOST cycles yielded approximately $2B.
- E-SPLOST IV (2012-2017) – Not all the projects have been completed and it's 2021. Citizens were told there wasn't enough tax revenue to complete all projects but the DCSD took in $130 more than they had projected. Citizens have been asking for an accounting of all the funds spent for years, but the public has not yet been given one.
- E-SPLOST V (the current SPLOST which ends in 2022) – Tax revenue is projected to be $633 million; With less than a year to go, DCSD should have $412 million left available to spend. Many projects proposed for SPLOST V were cancelled due to significant cost overruns and the DCSD admitted they have had problems with their process for cost projections. The DCSD did not present a full project list prior to the taxpayer vote to impose this sales tax. Citizens have also been asking for an accounting of these funds, given the number of projects stopped, but the public has not yet been given one. Lakeside High School is one of the projects that was stopped.
Here is a link to a WSBTV story with some citizen concerns:
If you want to see the latest E-SPLOST report from September, here is the link:
There is an E-SPLOST Advisory Committee made up of DeKalb Citizens. If you want to see their meeting dates, minutes (may not be available), etc., here are links you may find of interest:
Unfortunately, you cannot contact the advisory members that represent you as there is no contact info provided on the DCSD website. You can send the whole committee an email if you like, but do not expect a response as that is not part of their protocols:
- SPLOST VI Vote November 2, 2021 – DCSD tax revenue is projected to be $600-700 million. The Yeah / Nay decision will be made for DeKalb County, Decatur and Atlanta Public School Districts because they all have schools within DeKalb County. To clarify, APS and Decatur schools have their own project lists and they will get their own percentage of funds; the DCSD portion is $600-700 million. Also, note that once again the DCSD has not yet presented a full project list. Turnover in staff (superintendent, COO, etc.) has made that process more difficult, therefore we are forced to vote on a lump sum.
What many people do not know is that the DCSD receives funding from many sources and the District has made little progress in developing systems and process to manage or report on them well. The current superintendent hired a competent CFO a year ago; he has been transparent and frank about problems and reasons for the slow efforts to correct them … but slow is the important operative word. He walked into a mess both operationally and culturally.
For those that aren't aware, DeKalb has the highest (or second highest now) millage rate in the state and most of your taxes go to the school system if you are under 65. The reason our millage rate is so high is that years ago DeKalb paid for DeKalb College and was allowed to increase the millage rate - they no longer have that responsibility but the millage rate was never rolled back. Also, our Board of Education members receive one of the top salaries for Board of Education members in the state ($23,400 plus travel which was $0-$4,550 per board member in 2020 - pandemic began in March); APS = $16,000; Gwinnett = $17,300; Fulton = $18,500.
Often people vote yes because it is for the children. We believe that if the vote fails, the 3 Districts can put it on the ballot again in November 2022. If you have concerns about the school system's accountability for your dollars based on your independent research, you can send that message by voting no and ask that they put systems in place to prevent the problems of the past 2 E-SPLOST programs. If you trust them to do a better job this time, vote yes.
For more information, [email protected]
February 3, 2021
Dear Educate DeKalb Supporters:
The DeKalb County School District is in the early stages of developing a new and much needed Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP). Future redistricting and SPLOST projects ($$$) will likely be significantly informed by the findings from this plan. The school system is now soliciting feedback from all the stakeholders through 2 online surveys, and they want you to participate! Here is the link.
There you will find two surveys. The first, which can only be taken once per IP address, is the Initial Stakeholder Survey. It asks about your vision for the district. The second survey, the School Specific Survey, asks for feedback on specific school facilities so you may take this survey additional times for each school for which you have comments. We suggest you do the school specific one first, then the general as they are very similar.
Don’t hold back! You are limited by the number of characters allowed per open-ended question … so choose your words wisely! Be succinct, but more importantly, complete the surveys now and share with all of your friends so they too will take the surveys.
Remember, Lakeside BETTER not Bigger and all the issues related to our prior campaign still exist.
- Lakeside High School is overcrowded but its footprint is limited with no room for more buildings.
- Right-sized enrollment for campus size, in compliance with GA law is needed.
- Failed traffic study = unsafe for student drivers, walkers and commuters which poses an unacceptable public safety risk to the entire Lakeside community.
- Adjacent neighborhoods are packed with “overflow” parking.
- Athletic facilities are inadequate, i.e., not enough field space for all sports, field space is in horrible condition, etc.
- Classrooms, science and engineering labs and career tech spaces lack latest technology tools.
- Chronic Sanitary Sewer Overflows behind and adjacent to the high school pose a public health danger for entire neighborhood.
- Frequent stormwater flooding at the vital intersection of Briarcliff and Briarlake Roads often impedes access to the school and poses a public safety threat for all in the community.
- Others you may wish to share.
Let your voice be heard! Complete the surveys!
Thank you for your continued support of Lakeside High School!
Not on our mail list? Please add you name: www.EducateDeKalb.org
New FCA (Facility Condition Assessment) & CMP (Comprehensive Master Plan) Underway ... What does LHS still need as of November 2020?
At the time this website was created, we were concerned about DCSD's ill-advised, planned expansion of Lakeside High School (again) due to overcrowding. The fact is, we have chronic overcrowding in Regions 1 & 2 indicating a definitive need for a new high school.
Many LHS stakeholders attended numerous DCSD planning meetings over a two-year period. Many of the concerns shared at that time are still valid. Given the pandemic and "planning fatigue", it is unlikely that participation in the current planning endeavor will be as robust. Hence, the DCSD, new principal and new PAC need to revisit the issues and include any still relevant concerns as they work with Perkins + Will and their sub-contractors on the FCA and the CMP to ensure LHS is given thorough attention for providing actions to protect its future.
For perspective, here is a list of concerns which is likely incomplete and includes items that may have been corrected:
LHS Facility Needs as of November 16, 2020
- Tempered glass windows audit needed to determine if all glass windows and doors are tempered. This was requested years ago in response to a student whose femoral artery was severed on glass pane in a door that was not properly tempered.
- Double-paned window in bridge to new addition broken and still needs repair.
- Frequent issues with HVAC across all classrooms.
- HVAC is uneven (some classrooms are too hot others too cold) and too loud.
- HVAC is too loud resulting in students unable to hear their teachers.
- One art room does not have a sink.
- In the Gym-FAB connecting walkway, there are leaks on both sides where walkway connects as well as leak in ceiling around HVAC fixture.
- Pool boiler has leaked multiple times over past 8 years and needs replacing.
- Persistent leak in electrical room and computer lab in Rm 1103 when rains – this began after the 2011-2012 renovation/expansion of kitchen and cafeteria.
- Fuse boxes in pool pump room and office on pool deck are ancient and need to be replaced.
- Smart Boards broken in some classrooms.
- Buildings need pressure washing due to algae, moss build-up in many areas. This ultimately compromises integrity of surfaces.
- Drains in courtyard between Gym and FAB are constantly clogged.
- There is a broken gutter near the connecting walkway between gym and FAB.
- Major drainage and condition issues with sports fields and facilities.
Parking & Driveway
- Driveway in front of school needs immediate attention including the asphalt speed hump (split in two), multiple large potholes, and a collapsing sidewalk/gutter hole now opened near gym entrance.
- Two handicapped spaces in the right rear parking lot by new addition do not have an access ramp next to them.
- There should be swing gates at front parking lot entrances to prevent drive through window shoot outs.
- Retaining wall behind trailers is suspect and tennis courts under trailers are cracked. Last reports indicated wall movement and DCSD promised review years ago. This area needs to be re-examined to determine current condition, cause, and potential repairs needed.
- Recent Traffic Study exposed many areas of issue and should be revisited.
- Additional security card access locations needed.
- Chronic Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO’s) behind and downstream from the high school are a public health concern
- Chronic storm water flooding at the intersection of Briarcliff and Briarlake Roads is a public safety threat and disruption to the school day
- Traffic congestion is a public safety concern for faculty, students and surrounding neighbors.
General Overcrowding Issues
- Hallways to narrow for number of students. Students use outdoor routes to avoid.
- Narrow flight of stairs at main hall is always overcrowded.
- Sports facilities are limited as compared to other 7A schools.
- Number of art classes does not meet demand of current student population.
- No dedicated space for drama program with 5 classes and no black box theater.
- Inadequate parking for students during the school day.
- Inadequate parking for parents at Back To School Nights or other school wide events.
- Students get wet when walking from (too many) trailers to main building.
- An awning or other weather protection is needed for patio to accommodate more students because of overcrowding in cafeteria.
Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch
DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris
Virtual Back-to-School Town Hall, Thursday, August 13 at 6 p.m.
EducateDeKalb and Restore DeKalb recently met together with our new Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris to discuss her new arrival and needs of the DCSD. In keeping with her comments about connecting with county officials and our request that she remember the cities within DeKalb, she is collaborating with Dunwoody’s mayor in an upcoming town hall. Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch will host a virtual back-to-school meeting with DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris Thursday, August 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will focus on back-to-school plans, virtual learning and COVID-19 safety protocols.
The Thursday, August 13 virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. will be streamed on
Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/CityofDunwoody/videos/?ref=page_internal
Residents can email questions in advance to [email protected]
Watson-Harris started her position with DCSD on July 1, 2020
https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2020/06/18/dekalb-county-school-board-hires-new-superintendent/ and immediately jumped into creating a COVID-19 reopening plan https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2020/07/14/dekalb-county-schools-to-delay-start-date-use-remote-learning-until-covid-19-spread-slows/ for the district. DCSD delayed its start date until August 17 and will use remote learning until further notice. The DeKalb County Board of Education will re-evaluate the COVID-19 safety risk of students and staff returning to school at each monthly meeting.
Here is the link to full information about next week’s town hall:
Sneak Peak - Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris's 100-Day Entry Plan
Breaking News May 11, 2020
DCSD Board of Education votes 4-3 against hiring Rudy Crew to be the next Superintendent.No Votes - DaCosta, Erwin, Jester, MorleyYes Votes - Gevertz, Orson, Turner
"The vote was a foregone conclusion. "
"Dr. Crew received rave reviews. We understood that as high-profile and longtime leader, he had a controversial past," said board member Allyson Gevertz
"At that point, I realized the problem was not Crew; it was the judgment of the DeKalb school board. If they examined the same facts that most of us did and weren't troubled, they were lost in a fog."
April 27, 2020 (updated 5/1)
Subject: Dr. Rudolf F. Crew, Sole Finalist for DSCD Superintendent
To all Lakeside High School and Educate DeKalb Supporters,
After working for five months with an expensive search firm to hold multiple public input sessions and find 68 candidates, the DCSD Board of Education has operated behind closed doors and narrowed the decision down to one option. Last week the BOE voted 6-1 to select Dr. Rudolf F. Crew as sole finalist for DCSD superintendent. Dr. Crew is expected to sign a contract with the school district in May and formally assume the superintendent’s position on July 1, 2020. Superintendent Ramona Tyson will continue to lead the District until Dr. Crew takes the role of the DCSD Superintendent and has agreed to stay on for several months as a consultant to assist with an orderly transition.
Georgia law requires school districts to give a minimum of 14 days for public input before finalizing an agreement with a new superintendent. The district has scheduled virtual town hall meetings on Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. We encourage you to participate in these meetings. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing [email protected] or calling 678-676-0722. The deadline for submitting questions is by noon on Tuesday, April 28. The town halls will be available to view live online at https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv and via broadcast at DSTV 24 available within DeKalb County on Comcast cable television.
Every DeKalb County resident has the opportunity to submit questions in advance of these virtual town hall meetings. During each of these virtual meetings, the community will hear from the finalist regarding what he envisions for the District and his responses to selected questions asked.
There has been much written about Dr. Crew’s career and most information is easily obtainable through news archives, social media and public records. We provide a selection of this for your benefit in considering your viewpoint on his candidacy. We urge you to take the time to read the items below and send questions or concerns for the public meetings if you choose to do so. Questions must be submitted by emailing [email protected] or calling 678-676-0722 by noon Tuesday, April 28.
Alternatively, feel free to reach out to the BOE members (see contact information below), ask questions and express your opinions. You have until Thursday, May 7 when the 14-day waiting period for public input expires.
BOE member contact information:
Mrs. Ramona Tyson, DeKalb County School District Superintendent, [email protected]
Mr. Marshall D. Orson, BOE Chair, District 2 Commissioner, [email protected]
*Mrs. Vickie B. Turner, BOE Vice Chair, BOE District 5 Commissioner, [email protected]
+Mr. Stan O. Jester, BOE District 1 Commissioner, [email protected]
*Dr. Michael A. Erwin, District 3 Commissioner, [email protected]
Ms. Allyson Gevertz, BOE District 4 Commissioner, [email protected]
Mr. Diijon DaCosta, BOE District 6 Commissioner, [email protected]
*Dr. Joyce Morley, BOE District 7 Commissioner, [email protected]
*Up for re-election Fall 2020
+Not running for re-election
AJC (May 1, 2020) - "DeKalb residents protest against schools superintendent selection"
“Here we have an historically ineffective board that seems intent on insulting our intelligence by bringing in a guy who has a host of the exact problems that makes this board ineffective”
Termination of Contract of Superintendent Rudolf Crew, Miami Dade School Board (July 30, 2008) – “Gross Negligence …. Incompetence … Insubordination … Willful Neglect of Duty”
Decaturish (April 30, 2020) - "A personality like Rudy Crew can easily run roughshod over the district's employees and school board, creating crises of accountability that undermine the public's trust in the county's schools."
"Honestly as a reporter, I should be thrilled about this hire. If Crew’s history is any indication, I won’t have any shortage of things to write about. As a parent who wants his son to graduate from the county’s schools, I am concerned that Crew would be a step backward and would exacerbate the problems that already exist within the district."
Medgar Evers College Student Government Association (petition started November 2019) – "Rudy Crew is an absentee president - He hardly shows up for work (he sends a video) and when he does, he leaves within a couple of hours - is he out fundraising? Probably not, since we have a negative balance in our budget.”
NY Daily News (July 1, 2019) – “Sylvia Kinard, the former chief diversity officer at Medgar Evers – and ex-wife of CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Thompson – filed a discrimination suit against Crew, claiming he berated, physically intimidated, and fired her after bristling at her handling of a personnel dispute.”
Anna Hill Educate Dunwoody FaceBook page regarding Medgar Evers Audit (June 30, 2018)– “Tax levy funds used to buy $32,421 for Rudy Crew’s home; the use of these funds were ‘improper’ and ‘not used for their intended purpose’.” These accounts consist of taxpayer dollars, such as monies collected for tuition and fees.”
St. Louis American (September 18, 2008) – “Superintendent Shuffle - Rudy Crew ‘used the proverbial cloak to hide his shenanigans and refused to cooperate with requests for transparency.’"
The Oregonian (July 16, 2013) – “Oregon's departed chief education officer, Rudy Crew, billed the state for thousands of dollars of personal travel expenses, took six weeks of paid vacation and tried to get the state to pay for perks such as first-class plane tickets.”
Miami New Times (August 2, 2007) – “Now the school system faces a series of lawsuits and other controversies related to his (Rudy Crew) autocratic behavior, which could cost taxpayers big."
Criminal Justice (September 16, 2006) – Allegation of 2006 rape cover up at Miami-Dade County Schools
New York Times (September 17, 1997) – Allegation of 1997 gang rape cover up in Queens
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (April 23, 2020) – DCSD's Marshall Orson - "Our overriding goal was to make this an open and transparent process”, AJC "It was anything but (transparent)"
Fact Checker (April 23, 2020) – “In January this year, DeKalb Schools hired public relations firm Porter Novelli for $200K to assist with the national superintendent search. One of their stated directives is to ‘Assist with building excitement about and confidence in the candidate selected.’”
Kay Colson, [email protected]
The crowd was overflowing at last night's DCSD School Board Meeting with unified opposition to DCSD's proposed GO Bond. There were more calls for a FORENSIC AUDIT to help determine how previous funds were spent and managed. Please click on the video link for last night's news piece.
LHS E-SPLOST and “GO” Bond Public Meeting / Community Input Session
7pm, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at Lakeside High School
The DCSD will explain the $100M overrun and seek your input on which projects should be expanded / deleted / added, as well as your viewpoint on the GO Bond options. Although DCSD will tightly control the information and choices they offer, this is an important opportunity to learn about and speak out on the additional $100M to $265M in tax dollars now being requested!
There were 185 attendees at the Chamblee meeting last week …Let your voices be heard too!
Overcrowding at Lakeside High School (LHS) has become a crisis. As part of a larger overcrowding problem in its northern areas, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Board of Education (BOE) has approved physical plant expansions to 3 high schools in those areas (of which one is LHS) in order to increase the student population at each school. Based on continued growth in the area and DCSD predicted enrollment, this expansion would not solve current overcrowding problems.
LHS was built in the 1960’s and expanded in 2012 to accommodate 1,796 students (SPLOST III). As of October 2017 LHS enrollment was 2,165 and growing. The $26M planned expansion will add 750 seats to the LHS campus, bringing its capacity to 2,500+ students with projected enrollment of 2,600+. For many reasons, we believe this “approved solution” will potentially damage the LHS student experience, academic achievement, and extracurricular activities, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
LHS has a strong heritage of academic excellence, but over the past 10 years its performance trajectory has steadily declined. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners are urging the DCSD to halt this LHS expansion and develop a comprehensive, informed strategic plan for the whole district before building or expanding any existing facilities. We believe a better plan would more effectively include building a new high school and reducing the LHS student population to 1,796, which it was expanded to accommodate in 2012.
12 Reasons Lakeside High School Should Be BETTER, not Bigger
- The DeKalb County School District plans to address overcrowding at Lakeside High School by adding 750 additional seats, bringing the enrollment capacity to over 2,500 students by 2022.
- The proposed plan attempts to turn a small, circa-1960, neighborhood high school, that was built for only 1,200 students, into a mega-school for 2,500+. Instead of building a large, modern, state-of-the-art school, they will just add 38 classrooms and expand portions of the kitchen, cafeteria, and media center. A school of 2,500 requires a minimum campus size of 45 acres per state DOE standards. The Lakeside HS site contains 33 acres.
- The proposed plan does nothing to address or enhance the overall safety and educational opportunities of Lakeside students, beyond temporarily eliminating portable classrooms.
- DCSD’s own published enrollment projections predict that Lakeside will be overcrowded again after the addition is completed in 2022.
- Much of the original building and previous 2012 addition will be entirely untouched, despite the addition of 750+ students. The unimproved portions of the campus will include the original classrooms, gymnasium, swimming pool, hallways, and stairwells (which were built in the early 1960s to accommodate half as many students), locker rooms, restrooms, auditorium, visual and performing arts classrooms, technology labs, office and counseling suites, ROTC and culinary arts classrooms, storage, workrooms, and utility spaces.
- The additional 750 students and staff will result in increased traffic on our already congested two-lane roads, which may lead to longer emergency response times and extended commute times for area residents, LHS staff, and students.
- Frequent traffic congestion has a negative impact on student achievement, as students arrive late to school and miss portions of first period instruction. Buses leaving Lakeside may also be late transporting students to Henderson Middle School.
- Traffic congestion will likely be worse in the near future due to the development of CHOA at Druid Hills Road. The area has seen a growth in traffic over the past 2-3 years with the addition of the Globe Academy Upper School at Briarcliff UMC. While they are exploring options to decrease their impact on traffic, the roads and lights surrounding the area are the purview of the county. If DCSD adds 350-400 more students, it will multiply the problems the area will face.
- The Dewberry Study revealed that our fragile watershed cannot accommodate additional development in the region. The intersection of Briarlake and Briarcliff Roads floods after heavy rains and prevents safe passage for pedestrians, school buses, and emergency response vehicles. This poses a public safety threat for neighborhood residents, students, faculty, and school administration.
- The size of the Lakeside's attendance zone, stretching from DeKalb’s border with Gwinnett County near Pleasantdale Road all the way down to neighborhoods beyond Clairmont Road, is simply too large to allow all students to participate in the many opportunities that exist before and after school hours at Lakeside, such as clubs, athletics, music, drama, volunteering, and tutoring.
- The proposed multi-story parking garage near Oak Grove Road and relocation of the girls’ softball field to the wooded area behind the school will cause many more problems than they will solve.
- The DeKalb County Commission, Lakeside School Council, as well as many concerned citizens, have all asked DCSD, Superintendent Green, and the Board of Education to find a better solution to overcrowding at Lakeside High School.
All Rights Reserved by Educate DeKalb © 2018
Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
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