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Thurmond talks charter status, upgrades to facilities for DeKalb schools
by LaTria Garnigan
August 05, 2014 11:22 AM | 2341 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Not only will there be slightly more students and teachers inhabiting DeKalb County schools, but many will see some key upgrades inside the buildings.

Superintendent Michael Thurmond said the district has more than 100 ongoing capital renewal projects that will be worked on throughout the year. Some of the projects that will be completed this month include:
-Briar Vista Elementary: Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades to restrooms, modifications to concrete ramps and walkways, improved ADA access to entrance of main building
-Evansdale Elementary: ADA upgrades to restrooms, modifications to concrete ramps and walkways, improved ADA access to entrance of main building
-Montgomery Elementary: heating, ventilation and air conditioning, ceiling and lighting replacement, new kitchen exhaust system, replacement of grease trap, new emergency generator and parking lot lighting, replacement of existing freezer and cooler
-Sagamore Hills Elementary: ADA upgrades to restrooms
-Woodward Elementary: new playground equipment installation
-Rainbow Elementary: ADA upgrades to restrooms, modifications to concrete ramps and walkways
-Chapel Hill Elementary: ADA upgrades to restrooms, modifications to concrete ramps and walkways, improved ADA access to entrance of main building
-Southwest DeKalb High: two-story classroom addition, band room and auditorium
-Knollwood Elementary: HVAC, ceiling and lighting replacement, new kitchen exhaust system, replacement of grease trap, new emergency generator and parking lot lighting, replacement of existing freezer and cooler
-Towers High: total roof replacement by winter 2014
-Allgood Elementary: kitchen and minor HVAC renovation.

Upcoming projects for the 2014-15 school year include:

-Montgomery Elementary: HVAC renovation
-Cross Keys High: new running track replacement
-Druid Hills Middle: building code upgrades
-Fernbank Elementary: replacement school July 2015
-Peachcrest Elementary: replacement school July 2015
-Martin Luther King Jr. High: capital renewal renovation
-Southwest DeKalb High: building addition.

As for this year’s goals, Thurmond said he is looking forward to drafting a charter petition to submit to the state Department of Education and ultimately the state Board of Education.

“This petition will allow DeKalb to become one of the largest charter systems in the state when the 2015-16 school year begins,” he said. “The district’s petition will focus on governance and autonomy at the local school level and will allow parents and school staff to take even greater control over the direction of their school than what is already provided by the district.”

Thurmond said charter status will allow all of DeKalb’s students to gain from the benefits associated with charter schools and allow true innovation to occur at each of the schools.

Also, the school district recently received $3 million to redefine the roles of the regional superintendents, allowing improved training, reducing the number of principals each individual supervises and creating plans for central office redesign. Thurmond said the system will undergo an assessment of the organizational structures of the central office after his departure to ensure the regional superintendents’ work is well-supported and sustained. Those plans will also include detailed and feasible plans for restructuring.

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