APS Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. in an interview session with Patch editors Monday expressed irritation at Buckhead responses over the APS redistricting process.
Pointing out "I am not an elected official," he singled out the community for the volume of e-mails he's received, with the same message, "keep Brandon Brandon." He said that when receiving 100 such form responses, he considers just one of them and doesn't read the rest.
He also showed a mix of amusement and distaste at what he said was the demanding tone of comments from across the city, particularly Virginia-Highland and Buckhead. "They snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," he said.
In response to Buckhead concerns that moving Centennial Place Elementary students would disrupt the community's k-12 international baccalaureate framework, Davis said, "I am not persuaded by the IB argument." He said APS has several rigorous programs, including the AP curriculum. "IB is just one path; it is not a panacea," he said.
He said that , for years the only school in the Southeast with an IB program, "is not even the best performing high school in the system." He said that distinction belongs to Carver Arts School.
The new North Atlanta High is costing $70 million to build, he said, "quite a bit to spend" when the APS capital budget is $100 million.
Although not specificially referencing proposals to send Centennial Place students to Buckhead middle schools and high schools, he said, "I raise my eyebrows a bit when I hear comments about 'those children,' and not 'their children.' That causes some concern." Buckhead parents have uniformly opposed the option to move Centennial Place students from School Reform Team 3 to SRT 4, which includes Buckhead.
Also, he also suggested that the proposal to rebuild is not a certainty. He said he would consider redoing the school to a capacity of 750 students, but a place must be found to send students during the construction work, which could last one and a half to two years. "We're not going to place tents on the front lawn," he said.
"Build a school at E. Rivers: We will find it if it is in fact doable," he said.
He also said "middle schools are the real issue" in the redistricting debate, as reported on Virginia-Highland Patch. Davis praised the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood for the measured tone of its responses, as noted in this article on East Atlanta Patch.