May 9, 2022 - News

Some Midtown parents say "no" to school rezoning plan

The former Inman Middle School
The former Inman Middle School. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios

Parents in Midtown are pushing back against Atlanta Public Schools’ plans to rezone their children to attend a new elementary school.

Driving the news: The district wants to use the former Inman Middle School in Virginia-Highland as a new elementary school for students who would eventually attend Midtown High School.

More than 800 students would be affected by the recommendation put forth by Superintendent Lisa Herring.

  • The Atlanta Board of Education voted 5-4 last Monday to approve the first reading of Herring’s recommendation.
  • School board members are slated to give a final vote on Herring’s recommendation later in the summer. If approved, it’ll go into effect in 2023.

How would this affect your kid? Herring’s proposal calls for moving about 200 Morningside Elementary students and 493 Springdale Park Elementary students into the new boundary.

  • It would also redistrict 171 students from Mary Lin Elementary to Springdale Park’s attendance zone and nine students from Springdale to Morningside’s boundary.
  • The recommendation notes the changes would reduce overcapacity at Mary Lin, Morningside and Springdale Park elementary schools.

What they’re saying: Amy Harward, who has children enrolled at Springdale Park who would attend the new school, said she and other parents don’t understand the district’s reasoning behind the boundary changes.

  • She also said the plan does not address overcrowding at Midtown High School, which Harward said has been a long-standing issue.

Harward and other parents have floated the idea of using the former middle school as the site for the Springdale Park — or SPARK — dual campus.

  • There’s also a petition started by parents who are opposed to the boundary changes and support the dual campus.
  • “At this point, what it does more than solving a long-term solution is that it disrupts neighborhoods and neighbors,” Mary Lin Elementary School parent Erin Dundas tells Axios. “It pulls people apart when what we need is the stability of continuing to rely on the neighbors that helped us get through the last two years.”

The other side: Board member Cynthia Briscoe Brown, who voted in favor of the recommendation, said during last week’s meeting that schools in the Midtown cluster will need extra support and planning over the next year to make any option work.

  • “I am confident that the administration will be able to do that, but we’ll be watching carefully to make sure it happens,” she said.

Yes, but: Board member Michelle Olympiadis, who represents the targeted schools, told Axios on Friday that she voted against the recommendation because the community wasn’t given enough time to learn more about Herring’s proposal.

  • “We were never going to make everybody happy, but there needs to be a process in place so that people feel as if they’ve been heard,” she said.

Editor's note: The story has been corrected by removing a reference stating that SPARK would be open to other Midtown cluster students. The headline was also changed to reflect that some, not all, parents are against the rezoning plan.F

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