The district will conduct the second public forum at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the school board office, 514 Glover St. in Marietta, just before the board votes on the redistricting.
In the system’s largest redistricting ever, the district plans to close of Sky View Elementary in June and Brown Elementary in August 2013, moving Fitzhugh Lee H.A.V.E.N. Academy to where Brown is currently located and turning both Austell Primary and Austell Intermediate into traditional K-5 elementary schools.
SPLOST administrator Doug Shepard, whose staff has handled a majority of the process, said they have received just 10 emails since the final map was released on Dec. 7 and that 37 people have voiced their opinions on district’s “public comment” wall.
“Our goal for this redistricting was to ensure that the community was informed and had ample opportunities to provide feedback,” he said. “In that regard, I think we were successful.”
And while no one showed up on Jan. 26 to the first public forum, a pair of Smyrna City Council members have contacted their school board representative, Tim Stultz, to speak to him about the closure of Brown and said that what they’ve heard from their constituents that there wasn’t sufficient notice of the public forum.
Brown is located off Concord Road in Smyrna. The K-5 school serves about 300 students.
“It was my understanding that there was nothing sent home with the parents of the Brown families,” said Councilman Wade Lnenicka, who represents east Smyrna, where Brown is located. “Some of them found out after the fact through the media. I wish it had been better publicized.”
However, Brown Principal Brett Ward said the district level called every parent on Jan. 24 telling them about the January and February public forums.
“We did not send out an additional phone message from the school as this would have been redundant,” Ward said in an email Thursday morning.
Lnenicka said he has seen a “fantastic” transition at Brown over the years.
“We are trying to represent those views to our school board member,” he said. “None of us are trying to do the school board’s job in how their attendance zones should be districted, but I’m making the case that Brown is really an excellent performing school and deserves to be maintained as a school.”
Councilwoman Susan Wilkinson, who represents northwest Smyrna, said her constituents feel that the redistricting is too far along to be affected by public comment.
“The people that I have talked to and heard from, thought it was really too late, regardless (of the forums),” she said.
But “it’s not over till it’s over,” Lnenicka said.
The district has changed the redistricting map twice based on feedback from the community.
If it closes, Brown students will be moved to the new Smyrna school, located at 1099 Fleming St., about two miles away.
Sky View is the other school on the chopping block. It is located in southwest Cobb near Veterans memorial Parkway in Mableton and serves about 400 of students in K-5.
School board vice chair David Morgan, who represents Sky View, said “all has been quiet on that front” and that he is pleased with how the district staff has handled the process.
“I think there has been an earnest and quiet successful attempt to make sure it was a successful process because it can be a highly charged issue,” he said.
The district is planning to move the students to Mableton Elementary, 5220 Church St., about a mile away.
The third school affected by the redistricting is Fitzhugh Lee H.A.V.E.N Academy. The school is located 4400 West Atlanta Road and serves students who have severe emotional behavior disorders and autism from Marietta and Cobb and Douglas counties.
There are about 75 children at the school, which is funded by federal, state and local monies.
On Wednesday, Shepard announced that the redistricting proposal recommends closing the school on Dec. 31, 2013, and moving Fitzhugh Lee students to what will be a newly renovated Brown.
Renovations will take place fall of 2013, cost an estimated $835,866 and be funded by SPLOST III. Details of the renovations are not yet available.
The redistricting is a result of the opening of the new Smyrna elementary school, construction of Mableton Elementary, replacement of Clarkdale Elementary and the addition of eight classrooms at Nickajack Elementary. If approved by the board on Feb. 23, it will affect 24 schools and 2,500 students in south Cobb.
The second school closure public forum will be held at the school board office, 514 Glover St. in Marietta, on Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Interpreters will be present.