You Asked: #whataboutdsa ?
WE HAVE AN ANSWER!
DCSD officials met with the DSA School Council and Mrs. McCauley on Friday, September 2, to outline two proposals for DCSD BOE consideration on September 12.
*Combine DESA and DSA at the Avondale Middle site with the funding necessary to build a new high school wing.
*The plan would focus on a comprehensive K-12 arts program with spaces for academics and arts at all grade levels with the addition of a 400-500 seat theater.
*If the plan is approved, the design and construction process would begin, with an anticipated move date of Fall 2019.
*DCSD plans to address road access to the site, curriculum needs, staffing, and unique arts programming concerns if the plan is approved.
*DESA stays at Avondale Middle and DSA stays at Avondale High.
*DESA receives funding for an auditorium at Avondale Middle, which may be shared by DSA and DESA for large performances.
*DSA is considered for SPLOST V funding for “minor renovation” at Avondale High.
As you may remember, SPLOST IV money was earmarked for a combined K-12 arts program at Avondale Middle. Originally, DSA was slated to move in with DESA and $3.9 million would be used to renovate and add a theater/auditorium. The DESA and DSA communities did not like this plan because it was throwing kindergartners in with 12th graders, all in the same space. It turns out that legally, Dekalb Schools still has to use that $3.9 million for a combined K-12 arts program at Avondale Middle, because the voters approved that language in SPLOST IV (in 2011); however, Dekalb Schools is requesting an additional $5.4 million to build a new high school addition at the Avondale Middle site. The long-term vision is to have a comprehensive arts program at Avondale Middle with separate spaces for academics, purpose built art spaces, and a shared theater.
At the upcoming September 12th Board of Education meeting, the Board will be asked to approve this plan. If the plan is approved, then the contracting and design process will begin. Both DSA and DESA stakeholders will be involved in designing the new space. Since the plan uses currently-available funds, the project could be complete in the next 2-3 years. If the plan is not approved, the original SPLOST IV $3.9 million cannot be used on a project at Avondale Middle or Avondale High–it will go into a contingency fund for other projects. Additional money would be requested for a theater/auditorium at Avondale Middle, but no funding would be earmarked for DSA.
SPLOST V, which was approved by voters in 2016, shows possible “minor renovations” for DSA. DSA needs that money, whether we are at Avondale High or Avondale Middle. The SPLOST V project list is being developed now, so that money could go to a future combined DSA program at Avondale Middle. That comprehensive K-12 program would likely need SPLOST VI dollars as well, in order to make it a state-of-the-art K-12 facility. If the Board of Education does not pass the combined Avondale Middle option, then DSA would be back to requesting increased SPLOST V renovation money for Avondale High.