Published in the Buckhead Patch:
Editor’s Note: Members of the Lindridge Martin Manor Neighborhood Association wrote a letter to Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. on Feb. 11, 2012, following the release of two proposals that redraw school attendance zones. The neighborhood opposes removing families from Garden Hills Elementary School in Buckhead. The Lindridge Martin Manor Neighborhood Association shared its letter with Patch.
Dear Mr. Davis,
We in the Lindridge Martin Manor Neighborhood send approximately 250 students to Garden Hills Elementary School (GHES) . This comprises approximately 36% of the current enrollment at the school. As a result, any redistricting proposal which calls for the removal of LMM families from the GHES district will have profound impact. Given this reality we want our APS administrators and elected officials to have a full understanding of these impacts as they affect our neighborhood and its school (GHES).
LMMNA has been disappointed in APS’ lack of outreach to the Hispanic and Latino populations that live in our community. The lack of available information in Spanish both on APS’ website and at public meetings has placed this population at a disadvantage in the current discourse. Despite the request of the GHES PTA to include Spanish feedback forms on the website and to provide translators at public meetings this has not been done.
Option A which would redistrict our families into a new elementary school, creates a school with no powerful political or economic allies and a population that can least afford this abandonment. At best, this proposal was founded in ignorance of these realities. At worst, it represents an intentional and deliberate effort to segregate the poor and people of color from the remainder of the Buckhead community. Because of these concerns LMMNA cannot support this option in its current configuration.
In addition, placing our students in a new elementary school would initially deny them access to the IB program. LMMNA feels strongly that the IB program should be maintained in the SRT4 cluster so as not to disadvantage any student when they enter Sutton Middle School and/or North Atlanta High School.
Our proposed solutions address these concerns, and we reject the current Options A and B in favor of these proposals:
- Create a Garden Hills Primary Center similar to those in the Sarah Smith, Morris Brandon and Jackson elementary districts. Furthermore, explore the idea of including a Pre-K program at this site as well. This solution would address the current lack of public Pre-K opportunities in the SRT4 cluster and would be an especially beneficial opportunity for the Hispanic and Latino students in our community. In addition, it would relieve capacity issues at GHES and allow the current district boundaries to remain intact.
- Create a 6th grade academy at Sutton Middle School and a 7th/8th grade academy at the current North Atlanta location. This would allow for the complete vertical integration of the IB program.
Thank you in advance for your strong consideration of these proposals. LMMNA would welcome the opportunity to meet with APS officials to further discuss these issues at their earliest convenience.
Roxanne Sullivan President Lindridge Martin Manor Neighborhood Association
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