The Druid Hills Charter Cluster was formed to grant governance of seven schools in the county to a nonprofit board made up of individuals invested in those schools as well as the surrounding businesses and organizations.
The seven schools are Avondale, Briar Vista, Fernbank, Laurel Ridge and McLendon elementary schools, Druid Hills Middle and Druid Hills High.
Earlier in November, the group presented a 75 page petition that included information on why the cluster was formed to the county’s school board.
“Overall, the goal is to improve DeKalb County schools,” said David Moore, who serves on the board and is also the legal representative for the cluster. “We have a very committed, informed group of individuals who want to have more of a say in their children’s education.”
He said the idea for the cluster is to concentrate on increasing performance at the elementary school level in order to see continued, positive results throughout middle and high school.
“The parents who are a part of the cluster want to have a stronger role and impact, Moore said. “We see a lot of benefits to the cluster that could put more dollars into funding education as opposed to administration.”
The cluster petition was denied due to budget impact and the decision was based on Superintendent Michael Thurmond’s decision.
Moore said the group will submit a revised petition based on the school board’s issues with the original document.
“When a charter school is created, only 3 percent of the money allocated for student use can be taken for taxes,” he said. “The county board wants about $11 million of our funds, but we should only have to pay the 3 percent.”
Although the committee does not know how long it will take to revise and resubmit a new proposal, Moore said the group’s effort and commitment is strong and they will continue to work to make the cluster a reality.
“This is still a public school system and the superintendent would still be the same,” Moore said. “We want changes at the classroom and school level, but not the overall structure of the DeKalb school system. We very much want to work with the county school board to make our children’s education better.”