Group wants Metro Atlanta cities to have power to form own school districts

by Liz Artz - WSB.TV

ATLANTA — A group pushing for an amendment to the state constitution that would allow new Metro Atlanta cities to have the choice to form their own school districts met Sunday.

The group of students, local lawmakers, residents and members of Georgians for Local Area School Systems or GLASS, met because they said the graduation rate at Cross Keys High School is 42 percent and the group thinks it is a perfect example of a school that would benefit from being in a smaller district, amending the constitution. However, the amendment would allow for smaller school districts across the state. 

“When you are a small school system, you do have direct control over funds, programs, curriculum and instructional policies,” said GLASS co-founder Erika Harris. Harris wants to amend the state constitution to allow any city that was formed in 2005 or after to have its own school district if it chooses. It would also allow bordering cities to do the same. “As Atlanta's population is growing the need for this is going to continue to increase,” Harris said. 

The DeKalb County School District is in charge of nearly 100,000 students. Supporters of the amendment said it would bring those numbers down to a more manageable 2,000 to 10,000 students per district. "To my brothers and sisters who go to Woodward and Cross Keys [it] will benefit them,” said high school senior Fredy Yanez. 

Yanez said he wants his siblings to have advantages he didn't necessarily have at Cross Keys. Brookhaven would be one city that could break off from DeKalb if the amendment passes. The amendment needs a two-thirds majority vote so it's an uphill battle, but GLASS is hoping to gain support this week from lawmakers who still may be on the fence. 

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