DeKalb, Atlanta schools annexation fight spills into second court case


A deepening conflict between two neighboring school districts over the City of Atlanta’s expanding boundaries has spilled once again into a court case. 

DeKalb County School District and Atlanta Public Schools are battling over which school system should serve the 744 acres in DeKalb County that the Atlanta City Council approved annexing in December. The city’s annexation of the Emory University area included moving the property into the Atlanta school district

DeKalb schools have opposed that move in court, seeking to retain an area that officials said represents more than $2 million in school tax revenue and roughly 10 students. In June, DeKalb schools obtained an injunction that keeps the property in its district until further court action. 

Now, DeKalb schools wants to intervene in a different case that APS filed against the city over another Atlanta annexation, this one in Fulton County. 

In legal filings, DeKalb school attorneys contend that APS filed the Fulton County case in July as an “attempted end-run” around the injunction DeKalb won in the Emory annexation case. 

“APS seeks a broad advisory judicial ruling conferring upon it the power to legally compel the city to expand APS’ boundaries to include all past and future annexations,” DeKalb schools attorneys wrote in Aug. 13 court filings. 

The Atlanta City Council voted in December to annex property in the Fulton Industrial District into the city but leave it within Fulton County Schools instead of moving it into APS. That Fulton property is not currently taxable, and no students live there. 

APS sued the city over that annexation, arguing the Atlanta school district should expand alongside the new city boundaries. 

DeKalb schools have asked the court to let it intervene in the Fulton case, stating that the city and APS are aligned against DeKalb’s interests and that the outcome could affect the Emory case. 

“DCSD faces potential ruin if APS can legally mandate its expansion ever time the city annexes territory from unincorporated DeKalb County. That is why DCSD must become party to this case,” the district stated in court filings. 

A spokesman for APS declined to comment on a pending legal matter. A city spokesman did not respond to an email offering a chance to comment. 

In a written statement, DeKalb schools said its leaders “take seriously our responsibility to protect the resources provided for our students.”

“The inclusion of APS in the annexation unnecessarily siphons millions of dollars per year, in perpetuity, that support the teaching and learning opportunities our students deserve. Our attempts to resolve this gross inequity through dialogue have gone unanswered, and DCSD will explore any and all paths to secure and protect the resources of our community,” the DeKalb statement said.

According to court filings, the city and APS have agreed to an “expedited schedule” to resolve the Fulton annexation case. The city is expected to file its response to the case by the end of this week.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Emory law school professor who used ‘n-word’ in class to undergo bias and sensitivity training
Emory law school professor who used ‘n-word’ in class to undergo bias and sensitivity training

Emory University’s law school announced Tuesday a white professor who used the “n-word” in a classroom discussion last month about a racial discrimination case will have to take sensitivity and unconscious bias training. The professor, Paul Zwier, will also work with student leaders and faculty to create and participate...
UGA works to resolve career fair schedule conflict on Jewish holy day
UGA works to resolve career fair schedule conflict on Jewish holy day

University of Georgia officials, facing complaints about holding the fall career fair on the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, are working to serve students who won’t be able to attend the event. Some students and organizations recently raised concerns about the timing of the career fair on Yom Kippur, which is Wednesday.  “What...
Study: It’s not private school that makes difference. It’s the family.
Study: It’s not private school that makes difference. It’s the family.

In advocating tax dollars for private schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos criticized public schools in America as a dead end. A new major study suggests the private-school edge is an illusion and family factors, rather than school factors, determine student outcomes. “What the study indicates really clearly is that if kids go to...
Metro Atlanta schools address ‘digital divide’
Metro Atlanta schools address ‘digital divide’

When rain, wind, and then snow forced metro Atlanta school districts to close repeatedly last year, several systems told students to log into computers at home and keep up with classes digitally. Atlanta Public Schools balked at the tech-driven approach to make up lost days. Leaders questioned whether it would be fair, since not all students have...
GOP House member: Our teachers feel ‘harassed and disrespected’
GOP House member: Our teachers feel ‘harassed and disrespected’

A former school board member and father of a teacher, state Rep. Dave Belton, R-Buckhead, has written several pieces for the AJC Get Schooled blog. Today, he addresses the reasons behind the dwindling teacher pipeline in Georgia and his concerns over falling morale in the profession. In this guest column, Belton says, “Morale is so poor that...
More Stories