Aug 12, 2022 - News

New elementary school to open in Midtown Atlanta

The former Inman Middle School
The former Inman Middle School in Virginia-Highland will serve as the new Midtown Elementary School in 2023. Credit: Kristal Dixon/Axios

Despite opposition from parents, the Atlanta Board of Education approved a plan to open a new elementary school in Midtown that will shuffle hundreds of students.

Driving the news: Board members on Monday voted to use the former Inman Middle School to house a new school that would serve kindergarten through fifth grade students.

By the numbers: About 850 students who currently attend Mary Lin, Morningside and Springdale Park elementary schools would be affected.

  • The plan moves 170 Morningside and 493 Springdale Park students to the new elementary school.
  • It moves 171 Mary Lin students to Springdale and 9 students from Springdale to Morningside.

Atlanta Public Schools staff say the changes are needed to alleviate overcrowding.

  • The plan, which goes into effect next school year, also allows current third and fourth grade students to continue attending their existing schools if their parents or guardians can provide transportation.

What they're saying: Parents who oppose the plan say the district did little to get community input, and that it would disrupt students who are already having a hard time coping with pandemic-related changes.

  • "If you can create a proposal like this that disrupts three entire elementary schools next year, I question how much you all really know what’s happening in the classroom," Springdale Park parent Amy Harward told board members at Monday’s meeting.
  • The Springdale Park PTO last month approved a resolution against the plan.

The other side: Superintendent Lisa Herring said Monday that the recommendations are "in the best interest of children."

  • "This has not been an easy process, primarily because of the fact that we've introduced all things as a result of having gone through the last two years of change that no one would have desired," she said.

Yes, but: Michelle Olympiadis, the board member who represents parts of Midtown and the only one to vote against the proposal, said the process has put neighborhoods against neighborhoods and neighbors against neighbors.

What's next: Jason Holmes, the PTO president at Springdale Park, told Axios Tuesday that while many parents are disappointed in APS' decision, the mood has now shifted to making sure the new school is successful.

  • "I am confident that all of our community — those who had always supported the Inman K-5, those who may not have, but are now moving forward, those who will remain at SPARK — will come together to make sure we are all successful going forward," he said.
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