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Decatur Schools, City Hall To Meet Jointly

The two groups will talk twice a year about school enrollment and other subjects.

Decatur's School Board and City Commission are trying to improve communications.

The two boards will meet jointly twice a year to talk about school enrollment and other matters, City Manager Peggy Merriss and School Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said Friday in emails. Dates for the meetings have not been set.

The decision to hold joint meetings follows resident complaints about the handling of the 315 West Ponce apartment project. The schools and city hall didn't communicate directly about the 235-unit project's impact on enrollment in the already crowded schools.

Merriss said she, Mayor Jim Baskett, Edwards and School Board Chairman Marc Wisniewski met March 26 to talk about "a number of items that we all have interest in, including current and future developments and trends, the Beacon Complex, the joint Public Works/Facilities Maintenance Building, demographics of the City and the future needs of City Schools in regards to enrollment increases."

That meeting has been planned before recent redevelopment decisions, she said, adding, "We met Tuesday because it was the first time we could make everyone's schedules work."

Merriss also said Edwards and school staff members will be included in the city government's monthly capital improvement team meetings.

The school board and city commission are independently elected. Though the city and schools communicated closely during recent annexation discussions, there's no formal procedure for school input when apartment or condo projects are proposed.

Do you think a face-to-face meetings are a good idea? Tell us why in the comments box below.

You might be interested in these previous stories.

  • Decatur: Apartments Would Have Little Impact on Schools
  • Decatur OK's Sales Agreement for Callaway Building
  • Report: Decatur School Enrollment Would Swell With Annexation
Ralph Ellis March 30, 2013 at 12:55 PM
What do you think they should talk about? Specifically?
Stephen March 30, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Talking now? Its a little too late. Whats all this bragging about things being run so well?
bulldogger March 30, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Yeah, also a little talking between the City, CSD and DeKalb County (although I'm not sure that would do much good) would probably have been advantageous when the storm drainage under the playing field was done four or five years ago. It probably would have saved the county money; however, I don't think those folks can think that far ahead. IMO, we should slow down a bit......we're approving these projects too fast and too close together. We need to study the impact over a longer period of time.
Decaturette March 30, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Initially, it was the School Board and CSD Administration that didn't communicate enough with the City. Or anyone. School systems tend to be hierarchies without a strong tradition of listening to anyone else. But now CSD is in big trouble if it and the City don't work together. Hope the trend for communication and collaboration continues.
Glenn Carroll May 14, 2013 at 01:07 AM
This is hilarious! In some bizarro universe! This article about the great communication between the city and school comes out two days before Decatur Patch reveals the secret April meeting for the Board of Education to vote on the super-secret school expansion plans. (They tabled the vote until May 14 when the neighborhood went crazy.) Well, I went to the most recent City Commission meeting (May 6) just to cover all the bases on the master school expansion plan so-called public process and was the only member of the public there with a non-agenda item (the City passed a patch to the tree ordinance and every other member of the public left afterwards). The City Commission indulged me in lengthy comments and showed absolutely no appearance of awareness of any detail of the school expansion master plans. I was praised for my studious attention to the matter. They had no questions for me. Beam me up, Scottie.

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