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Atlanta School Board approves plan to close schools, send more kids to Toomer

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Atlanta School Board approves plan to close schools, send more kids to Toomer

A photo of Toomer Elementary students. Photo from TalkUpAPS blog.

A photo of Toomer Elementary students. Photo from TalkUpAPS blog.

Toomer Elementary’s enrollment is going to increase as a result of the Atlanta School Board’s decision to close Whitefoord Elementary.

The board approved the plan in a 7-2 vote at its March 6 meeting. The vote splits the students between Toomer and Burgess-Peterson Academy. Whitefoord students living in Edgewood would attend Toomer, while students living in Reynoldstown will attend Burgess-Peterson.

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The changes would take effect at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Toomer’s enrollment is expected to increase by 161 students next year, while Burgess-Peterson’s enrollment will increase by 66, according to a the presentation at the board meeting.

“Based on district’s extensive facilities assessment report from Nov. 2015, condition and suitability scores for buildings on the Whitefoord campus ranked among the lowest in the district,” the presentation says. “Estimates to restore the buildings to original state would exceed $7 million. Toomer is currently scheduled for $4 million from [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] SPLOST for select renovations Jan.- July 2022.”

The closures were part of a district-wide effort to consolidate schools. Other measures approved by the board include:

Mays Cluster – At the start of School Year 2017-2018, close Adamsville Primary, restructuring Miles Intermediate as a PreK-5 school and redistricting some Adamsville and Miles students to West Manor Elementary.

– Douglass Cluster – At the start of School Year 2017-2018, relocate the Business, Engineering, Science and Technology Academy at the Benjamin S. Carson Educational Complex (BEST) to the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSK) with two 6-12 single gender academies on the CSK campus.

– Beginning with School Year 2017-2018, phase out the closure of Harper-Archer Middle School by serving only 7th and 8th grade at Harper-Archer next school year.

– Phase in and create a new middle school at the current BEST facility, serving 6th grade only in School Year 2017-2018. The school will add a grade each year thereafter until it becomes the new 6-8 middle school for the Douglass Cluster in School Year 2019-2020.

– At the start of School Year 2019-2020, close Fain Elementary School and Towns Elementary School and open a new elementary school at the renovated Harper-Archer MS facility.

– At the beginning of School Year 2019-2020, launch a new PreK-8 partnership school at Woodson Park Academy (WPA) with KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools.  This school will be operate by KIPP, but will not be a charter school, ensuring that all students zoned to WPA will be able to attend.

– At the beginning of School Year 2020-2021, close the current Woodson Park building and open a new campus in the former Woodson Primary site to include a new school building, a YMCA, an early childhood center and a health clinic.

Citywide – At the beginning of School Year 2017-2018, relocate West End Academy to Crim Open Campus High School. West End and Crim will streamline their staff in order to realize savings through a shared campus model.

Source: Atlanta Public Schools

“These are complicated issues and difficult decisions, but that is what leadership is all about,” School Board Chair Courtney English said in a press release. “The Board deeply appreciates the input by parents, teachers and neighborhood leaders throughout the city. Not everyone will be happy, but I believe our kids will benefit, receive a better education, and be better prepared for college and career.”

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