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DeKalb County leaders approve millions to address aging schools

Leaders approved the Capital Improvement and E-SPLOST VI plan Wednesday – allocating $700M for improvements.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County leaders are taking the first major steps to address poor conditions in schools – approving a plan to invest hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the next few years to construct and repair schools.

School Board members approved the scope of projects listed in the Capital Improvement and ESPLOST VI plan Wednesday, which makes $700 million in funding available.

“This is an outstanding commitment to what we need to do to address the facilities, the condition of our buildings across the DeKalb County School District," said Dr. Vasanne S. Tinsley, Interim Superintendent of the DeKalb County School District. 

In the approved plan, funds will be set aside to construct a new Sequoyah High School and Middle School, a new Dresden Elementary School, and a new Cross Keys Middle School. The plan will also direct funds to modernize Druid Hills High School, which made headlines last year when students produced a video showing alleged mold, plumbing, electrical, and flooding issues inside the school. The video led to students and parents protesting outside of district headquarters in the days to follow. 

"I want them to understand that it signifies our commitment, our commitment to making sure that we address the needs of buildings throughout the DeKalb County School District," Dr. Tinsley added.

Other items in the plan include $80 million for security projects including new cameras and vestibules, $69 million for additional facility condition projects at various schools, as well as $129 million for updated equipment, which includes new buses and vehicle upgrades. The money for all of this is of course coming from the E-SPLOST sales tax.

Officials said the plan as a whole will take several years to execute. Over the next three to four months, they will begin soliciting an architect for the construction of the new schools, and then they will start the design process, which is expected to take nine months to a year.

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