MLPA Position Statement on School Rezoning

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/mes/

 
MLPA's Position Statement to Proposed Rezoning of Morningside

December 14,2011
The Morningside Lenox-Park Association (MLPA) has carefully reviewed the four rezoning options proposed by the APS demographers. The Morningside Lenox Park issues the following position.  In creating the four options, APS demographers presented the following objectives:
 
Balance current building utilization to 80% to 90% of planning capacity  
Attempt to assign students closest to their homes
Attempt to avoid splitting neighborhoods
Ensure student safety and transportation efficiency by using major geographic features as boundaries
Attempt to maximize/keep feeder concept intact
 
The options for the MLP neighborhood are inconsistent with the stated objectives.  In fact, almost all the objectives are violated by sending our students to middle and high schools outside of our communities and up to ten miles away.  Furthermore, one option divides our neighborhood by rezoning part of the Wildwood/Wellbourne/Lenox Road area and the area north of Cheshire Bridge to another elementary school entirely.  We reject all four options.
 
Accordingly, we respectfully submit that MLP neighborhood students should remain together at Morningside Elementary School (MES) and zoned for Inman and Grady.  We firmly believe that any solutions must also abide by the following principles:
 
1.    Students that are part of the same cohesive community should continue on a feeder path through middle and high school together and should attend neighborhood schools together.
The MLP neighborhood is an integral part of the larger Virginia Highland/Morningside community, whose businesses and organizations together greatly contribute to the success of Inman and Grady.  Creating school zones that divide our community depletes these valuable resources.
Consistent curriculum alignment should be maintained from elementary to middle to high school.  This academic consistency contributes to student success, as currently demonstrated in the Morningside/Inman/Grady feeder pattern.
 
2.  Create/maintain school zones where students can walk or bike to school, minimizing bus and car transportation and promoting healthier kids.
Currently many MLP area students walk or bike to Morningside, Inman and Grady.
Redistricting across geographic boundaries such as interstates and railroad tracks, as exists in all the proposed options, is prohibitive for students wishing to walk or bike to school.
APS should prioritize proximity in planning school zones to create the fewest and shortest bus routes, thereby conserving resources of time and fuel, reducing toxic emissions, and easing the burden on Atlanta's over-congested roadways.
Rezoning of students to schools distant from their neighborhoods prohibits many students from accessing and participating in before/after school tutorials, clubs, and athletic programs.
 
3.   APS should develop unused or underutilized buildings, rather than purchase real estate for new construction.  Any annex/split campus solutions should be considered cautiously due to the fiscal and logistical burdens they impose.
Expansion of existing facilities to preserve community schools is preferable to bussing students outside their neighborhoods and across major geographic boundaries.  Expansion within the current School Reform Team (SRT) is preferable to shifting students in and out of other SRTs to avoid curriculum inconsistencies.
Successfully implemented annexes/split campuses are costly as they require the same level of resources as the "main campus," including media center, gymnasium, auditorium, and field space, as well as full-time principals on both campuses.  Logistical management of transportation, participation in after-school and multi-grade-level activities, and parental involvement are complicated unnecessarily with split campuses.
 
We urge Atlanta Public Schools to present options that:
 Keep all of Morningside Lenox Park at Morningside Elementary School,  Inman Middle School
and Grady High School.
 
Important Links to Petition,Website,Survey

Morningside Rezoning Web site:
www.morningsiderezoning.homestead.com

  direct link to petition:
  http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/mes/
 
Everyone who is a resident of Morningside Lenox Park is encouraged to give feedback to APS and the demographers about your opinions on the redistricting proposals at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2SPYCCK .