ATLANTA — Atlanta Public Schools projects overcrowding within two years at three of its schools. The district is considering rezoning and held the first of three community meetings Wednesday to hear from the community.
APS said possible rezoning is needed to avoid being over capacity, but parents who attended the meeting at Maynard H. Jackson High School believe there are other solutions.
People made their voices heard at the meeting, including parent Shounterria Brandon.
“I think it’s important to at least fight to make sure they don’t rezone the schools because they’ve done it several times before," Brandon said. "My elementary school was rezoned, and when my daughter was in elementary school, it was rezoned. Now here we are again.”
Brandon's oldest daughter, Shaniya Simmons, is now a junior with a 3.8 GPA at Maynard H. Jackson High School.
“I’m a scholar, so I know I could keep up my grades, but it would be harder making a different impact somewhere else," Simmons said.
Simmons' mother would like APS to look at other options besides rezoning.
“I would like to see the schools being renovated to add more space so that they can utilize the building properly instead of just saying, ‘Well, it’s at 100% capacity,'" Brandon said.
APS materials project overcrowding within two years at Maynard H. Jackson High, Midtown High and Woodson Park Academy. Changes in zoning, if they take place, would be in effect for the 2024-25 school year - though the APS materials state no zoning change is an option that remains on the table.
The overcrowding projections include:
- Maynard H. Jackson High: Current capacity of 1,500; '24-25 projected enrollment of 1,500; 5-year average 100% capacity projection
- Midtown High: Current capacity of 1,525; '24-25 projected enrollment of 1,711; 5-year average 111% capacity projection
- Woodson Park Academy: Current capacity of 820; '24-25 projected enrollment of 865; 5-year average 107% capacity
"The residents and students in Peoplestown have been very heavily impacted by this proposal that the school APS is proposing," Matt Rinker said.
Rinker, the vice president of the Peoplestown Neighborhood Association said the area has traditionally been underserved.
“It will break our neighborhood up into two different elementary and middle school and high school districts, which will negatively impact our neighbors," Rinker said.
“We all have a voice, and we all have to use it," Simmons added. "We all have to stick together, and change this positively.”
APS is considering some options that wouldn't include rezoning, such as adding temporary space and doing an extra check of in-zone residency. The rezoning recommendation is due April 1.
An APS spokesperson sent 11Alive this statement:
"As part of our Annual Facilities Review Process, APS has identified three overcrowded schools where rezoning may be an option to address the overcrowding. These scenarios impact the Carver, Douglass, Jackson, Midtown, and Washington Clusters. Over the next few months, we will engage with our parents and stakeholders on these potential scenarios, which may be reviewed on our Annual Review website. Our goal is to garner feedback from the community and to possibly submit a proposal for the Atlanta Board of Education to consider later this spring."
You still have a chance to make your voice heard at upcoming meetings. Further community meetings and outreach is scheduled for April 11-13 and April 17-21, in as-yet unspecified formats.
Further community meetings and outreach is scheduled for April 11-13 and April 17-21, in as-yet unspecified formats.
Click here for a detailed breakdown of the rezoning proposal.