Decatur School Board votes to make elementary schools K-2

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 9, 2017

The Decatur School Board at its May 9, 2017 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated. 

The Decatur School Board voted Tuesday evening to reconfigure the city’s elementary schools.

The School Board decided to adopt a plan that would turn all of City Schools of Decatur’s current K-3 schools into K-2 schools. CSD will turn the 4th and 5th Grade Academy a 3-5 school and build a second 3-5 school at property the school system owns on Talley Street. It will also retain College Heights as an early childhood learning center.

The changes will go into effect at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. A school boundary discussion will begin next fall, Superintendent David Dude said. It will mainly involve determining which students go to which 3-5 school, he said.

There’s also another option in play for an early childhood learning center.

In a surprise move, before the vote to reconfigure Decatur’s elementary schools, the School Board voted to buy property from the Decatur Housing Authority for $4.4 million. The 2.9 acre lot is across the street from CSD’s central office on Electric Avenue. The School Board’s plan is to put an early childhood learning center there if College Heights needs to become a K-2 school. Superintendent Dude said at some point CSD may need an early learning facility that’s bigger than College Heights.

Board members picked the K-2, 3-5 plan over an option that would keep the current K-3 configuration while building a new 4-5 Academy, turning College Heights into a K-3 and building a new early childhood learning center.

Community surveys showed overwhelming support for the K-2, 3-5 option, with more than 70 percent of respondents being “moderately supportive” or “very supportive.” To see the survey results, click here.

Board members unanimously supported the plan. School Board Chair Annie Caiola, who joined the meeting via phone, said the board’s purchase of the Housing Authority property made her feel better about moving forward with the K-2, 3-5 option.

“I lean very strongly in favor of building an early childhood learning center on that property,” she said. 

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