Milford community: We want school to be closed
by Kathryn Malone
kmalone@mdjonline.com
May 18, 2011 04:00 PM | 6079 views | 16 16 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
3-11-09  --milford elementary 1--  Traffic at the intersection of Austell Road and Windy Hill Road in front of Milford Elementary School in Marietta.  PHOTO BY LAURA MOON.
3-11-09 --milford elementary 1-- Traffic at the intersection of Austell Road and Windy Hill Road in front of Milford Elementary School in Marietta. PHOTO BY LAURA MOON.
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MARIETTA — While most parents and community members asked that their neighborhood elementary school remain open through the south county elementary school redistricting plan at the Cobb School District’s forum Tuesday night, community members from Milford Elementary asked that their school be closed.

Situated on Austell Road, just 100 feet from the new Windy Hill/Macland Road Connector that is slated to open in August, the school’s location is too dangerous for students, community residents say. Members of the Osborne Community Coalition have been advocating for the school’s closure since 2008, when construction on the road began.

On Tuesday night the coalition was at the meeting, donning yellow T-shirts and carrying signs reading “Close our school!”

“I want you to hear the urgency that this concern is about the safety of our children,” Osborne Coalition executive director Christine Able said to district officials. “We have been advocating about this issue for a couple years now, and the road is getting ready to open and our kids are going to be in harm’s way. … will somebody please listen to us?”

District SPLOST Chief Doug Shepard unveiled the district’s timeline for redistricting, which will likely include school closings, at the Tuesday night meeting. Shepard said part of the district’s criteria for closing a school includes the safety of students as they travel to and from school.

While Shepard reiterated several times Tuesday night that no plans have been made to close any schools yet, he did admit Wednesday that the community’s concerns regarding Milford have been on the district’s radar since 2009.

“We share the community’s concern about the safety of the Milford site given the planned opening of the Windy-Mac Connector, and it’s our goal to address this situation either during this redistricting/school closure process or with a future school replacement or relocation,” the SPLOST chief said.

Shepard explained that the plans to relocate or replace a school are usually laid out in SPLOST referendums, as they were in SPLOST III for the new Mableton and Smyrna replacement elementary schools.

But community members say they don’t want to wait for a new SPLOST and that the school needs to close even before the road opens in August.

Yasmina Pierre, a 2010 Osborne graduate who lives 1½ miles up the road at Crescent Square Apartments, said that the new four-lane highway isn’t the only issue with the school’s location. Just a half mile up the road on County Services Parkway, there is a police shooting range and a dump.

“I know they’re not dumping toxic waste behind there anymore, but as time goes by the waste is still there,” Pierre said. “That’s a toxic environment for the kids.”

Pierre said she can hear the shooting range from her apartment at Crescent Square, so it must be distracting to the kids at Milford.

“If Milford wasn’t there, would they ever consider building a school in that area?” Pierre said. “It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen, and they don’t want that on their hands.”

John Williams, who is active in the Osborne Community Coalition and on the board-appointed Facilities and Technology Committee, pointed out Tuesday night that several of the schools close to Milford are under capacity, so redistricting Milford students to those schools could be a possibility.

Milford has 615 students, and is over capacity by 143. About a mile away, Birney Elementary, which houses 734, is under capacity by 84. At a little more than 1½ miles away, LaBelle Elementary is only 14 students under its capacity, with an enrollment of 433. Russell Elementary, which is three miles away from Milford, is under capacity by 127 students, with 682 students.

Shepard said it would be difficult for the neighboring schools to absorb Milford’s population, but that closing the school is definitely still an option.

According to a timeline introduced by Shepard on Tuesday night, board members will likely vote on school closings in January or February of next year.

Williams recalled Tuesday night that several of the new board members said they would be in favor of closing Milford.

At a candidate forum in July 2010, the current board vice chair Scott Sweeney and Kathleen Angelucci both said they had visited the Milford site and that they would advocate to find a different location for the school.

In March 2009, when the county department of transportation was meeting with the Milford community about its plans, board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett, who represents Milford, said she was committed to relocating the school.

Bartlett did not return calls to the Journal on Wednesday for comment.
Comments
(16)
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DumbestWhiningEver
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May 22, 2011
Look at Mountain View Elementary (on very busy Sandy Plains Road) and Blackwell Elementary (on even busier Canton Highway), both schools a stones-throw away from speeding, four-lane traffic. Are these students' families whining for a new school? Nope.

You see, it's not about Milford families wanting *safety* for their students. It's about wanting a bright and shining new school. It's that craving for a new Cadilac when they have a perfectly good, reliable (and paid off) Chevrolet in the driveway.

These people have a case of the "gimmie-gimmies" and, the sad part of it is if you don't give 'em what they demand, they'll scream "racism" because of the demographics of Milford.

What a joke.

Kennesaw Voter
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May 22, 2011
No way should this school be closed....these people calling for it to be closed are the same kind of people that think money grows on trees...the school is safe and so are the kids...there is no logic to closing it PERIOD!!
ModernPatriot
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May 20, 2011
Wow, you complainers are completely idiotic! I went by there today and for a car to actually hit the playground it would have to cut through 200 feet of parking lot, maneuver through metal poles, and crash through a fence....all while going uphill. The only possible way that would happen is if someone intentionally did it.

As the internet generation says: Epic Fail!
TRUTH HURTS
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May 19, 2011
IF YOU DO SUCH A POOR JOB OF PARENTING THAT YOUR KIDS DART OUT INTO TRAFFIC WHEN THE FINAL SCHOOL BELL RINGS, MAYBE YOU SHOULD GIVE UP YOUR KIDS! HOW ABOUT DOING AWAY WITH THOSE STUPID FLASHING LIGHTS AND RIDICULOUS SPEED LIMITS FOR AN HOUR AFTER SCHOOL ALSO! WEIRD, I DON'T REMEMBER RUNNING OUT INTO TRAFFIC WHEN I WAS A KID.
Just Wait
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May 19, 2011
I guess all those parents have neglected to notice Austell Road running directly in front of the school. I suppose there is no problem with their kids cross it.
Dave Z.
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May 19, 2011
While they're redistricting the area, they need to move students living west of I-75 and attending Powers Ferry and Brumby elementary schools to closer-to-home, community focused, Smyrna-area schools. The interstate creates a huge, unsafe disconnect and both Brumby and Powers Ferry are overcapacity. Also, Campbell High School is way under capacity, so increasing its footprint is a good move as well.
STOP MDJ
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May 19, 2011
there is no issue here - Please MDJ stop giving these cry babies the press - they just want to get a new school.

WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY and there are OTHERS that attend schools with many more issues.

Do what's best
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May 19, 2011
I'm somewhat suprised that some bloggers are using this to make attacks against board members. Now I could be wrong but wasn't the work to be done on Milford approved by this last SPLOST vote to add safety measures for these kids? If it was approved then it makes it harder just to say tear it down. Of course these bloggers are probably friends of the old regime who pushed this last SPLOST through with all of the ludicrous items it contained. So who should you be blaming? I do have concerns when I see an elementary school sitting on a corner of a very busy intersection. You have to keep in mind that not all kids have parents who can accompany them home if they walk, and therefore those young children are highly exposed to danger.
Lockheed Parent
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May 19, 2011
As a Lockheed school parent I can say we have been concerned about the Marietta dump located DIRECTLY BEHIND the school. We see all sorts of trucks pass behind the school and dump trash, construction debris, and various junk daily. A tractor comes around regularly to bury this trash which then apparently seeps into an adjacent creek since there is absolutely no liner or barrier. The creek then passes right next to the Lockheed playground and when the creek overflows as it does every so often, the overflow covers the soccer field next to the school. The school should never have been placed next to to this open dumping ground. I urge the board to look for another location to send our kids rather than letting them play in a dump drainage area. This is a real hazard not the fairy tale hazard of Milford which lies a a half mile away from any dump.
CJones3224
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May 19, 2011
For those who are cheesed" that their plans have been changed due to this SPLOST project: do you drive on the East-West Connector or Barrett Parkway? Both of those roads caused someone to suffer at some point, either during construction or post-completion. Neighborhoods were divided or eliminated completely. The fact is that ALL of us in Cobb County pay for those schools for the "benefit of society" whether we have children or not. Roads are routed or re-routed for the same reason - improved traffic flow and easing of congestion in problem areas. Let's hope that your home never catches fire or that you have a medical emergency, but at least we have taken steps to shorten response times of emergency vehicles. Keep in mind that Austell Road itself is a dangerous thoroughfare for automobiles to travel on, but no one seems to have complained so far. Other schools are located on busy thoroughfares in the county - Bells Ferry, Ford, Tritt, Powers Ferry, Hayes, Frey, and they cope with traffic whether they like it or not.
ivotedtim
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May 19, 2011
Let's be clear. The only way you can uphold all campaign promises is once you are legally elected, to cast your vote as you committed to do in your campaign withour flip flopping. Keeping one's promise to one's constituents is contingent on the tally of all board votes, so a promise made cannot be guaranteed to be kept beyond an individual vote.

As another recent MDJ article pointed out, if only Sweeny attended a recent meeting on the redistricting topic, then there was another member whose district was not affected, who was not in attendance. This was not a case of certain factions being at fault.

I am disappointed and alarmed that my rep was not there, even though the Milford issue is of no concern to me personally.

Board, all of you need to take this opportunity to clear your calendars PRONTO to attend these sessions!
ModernPatriot
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May 19, 2011
Stop being wusses you parents! The liklihood of anything happening to your child, because a road is 100 feet away from the school is less than 1%. Your kid has more of a chance getting killed fallingout out of bed and breaking his neck.

Who cares if a dump or police gun range is a over a mile away, there is no danger there unless the kids take a field trip to play in the dump or act as targets on the range.
closelockheed
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May 19, 2011
The road is 100 feet away so that should not be a concern, although the dump is a problem. There is a dump behind Lockheed Elementary school in Marietta that is still in use, why is the school not being relocated? I think there has to be some consistency in our school locations.
Milford Almost
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May 19, 2011
This cheeses me off SO bad - I moved into a neighborhood nearby Milford SPECIFICALLY due to the fact that my child could go there - and the fire station is right up the street.

So - What about the parents who live within walking distance??? What about those of us who bought property so we could take a ten minute walk to the school together?? My children will be slated to attend there next year!

Where will WE be compensated for this nonsense?? I planned this out years ahead of time. This SPLOST crap work project included the THEFT of my easement access rights to Austell Rd - and now we have to drive longer to get into the neighborhood. Businesses on Austell Rd are really suffering from the effects of this change. Where were THEY compensated for this hardship?

My property dropped to 25% value after this change. I am *NOT* a happy camper over this decision.
Bob Bummer
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May 19, 2011
I got an idea why don't we get AdvancEd to investigate the school system again?
Get it right
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May 18, 2011
If I'm not mistaken, some of the newly elected school board members campaigned on the promise to close Milford. Since they are honoring ALL campaign promises, this shouldn't be up for discussion. Ms. Angelucci - care to comment? You can't uphold ALL your campaign promises? Oh - you are just picking and choosing which ones. Get with the program or better yet - resign. You've lost the trust of a great many people.

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