The board also announced plans for five public meetings to discuss the plan with the community before its final decision.
Southwest DeKalb High School parents were among those protesting the redistricting plan at school district headquarters before a work session to discuss the plan.
Board members were bombarded with so many angry e-mails and telephone calls that School Board Chairman Eugene Walker said he didn’t understand why parents won’t believe and trust them.
“We will not betray you,” he said. “We will represent you to the fullest.”
The parents were furious about part of the realignment that would have put sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the same building with high schoolers at Southwest DeKalb, Cedar Grove and McNair.
“There is no telling what would happen,” said Penny Long, a Southwest DeKalb High parent. “I don’t even want to think about what could happen to our children.”
After a closed-door executive session, the board quickly announced that it dropped the middle school-high school idea.
Walker told the crowd that the board has not voted on going to a system of sixth grade to 12th grade and will not vote on any realignment until after the process has run its course.
He said the planned vote at the Dec. 10 meeting will be to simply move the redistricting and school closure process forward.
The opportunities for public input are:
--Jan. 8 at McNair High
-- Jan. 10 at Miller Grove High
-- Jan. 15 at Tucker High
-- Jan. 16 at Dunwoody High
-- Jan. 17 at the district’s Tucker headquarters
Before the board votes on the final plan for closing schools on Jan. 23, it also will take public comment.
Parents are relieved to hear there’s no final vote yet but are still upset about the section of the draft plan that raises questions about the future of the highly regarded Southwest DeKalb high achievers magnet program.
“We normally receive the magnet students from Chapel Hill Middle School,” said Southwest DeKalb mother Pyper Green.
Plans call for turning that feeder school into a theme school, disrupting the flow of talented students to Southwest DeKalb.
Others are worried about the possible impact of redistricting on elementary schools.
Jennifer Hatfield’s children attend Evansdale Elementary near Northlake Mall. She says new boundaries would mean her kids would go to Tucker Middle and Tucker High instead of Henderson Middle and Lakeside High near their home.
“I think the board is hearing from a lot of people with a lot of different opinions right now,” Hatfield said.
“But I have a little bit of difficulty believing the Dec. 10 vote is just to move the process forward when they presented such a specific plan and they’ve made so few changes to it. In my mind that translates into this is what they want to do.”
School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said final plans must be in place by late January to secure $40 million in state funding.