by: Tony Thomas Updated:
DUNWOODY, Ga. - A powerful Dunwoody group has thrown its support behind a push to form a new school district in DeKalb County.
The Dunwoody Homeowners Association voted unanimously Sunday night to support the effort by State Sen. Fran Millar and others to change the Georgia constitution to allow for a Dunwoody School District.
Parents are upset about the state of the DeKalb County School District and fear its potential loss of accreditation and continuing leadership issues will harm their children.
"We need to come together and make sure in the controversy of DeKalb County that we take care of our children in our community," said parent Allegra Johnson, president of the newly formed DeKalb Parents Concerned about Quality Education.
The group attracted more than 200 parents and residents to its first community forum Sunday afternoon.
Most of the discussion was about the potential accreditation loss and its impact on the area. The loss would mean future graduates of DeKalb County Schools might not be admitted to many colleges and scholarships would be lost.
Also in question is the outcome of a lawsuit filed by six suspended members of the DeKalb School Board.
Gov. Nathan Deal last week used a new law to suspend two-thirds of the board. He wants to replace them with appointed members until the next scheduled election, but the suspended members filed suit in federal court, alleging the new law is unconstitutional.
A federal judge heard arguments Friday and is expected to rule any day.
"As long as the courts don't muck it up, with all due respect to my lawyer friends, I think we are going to be OK,” Millar said.
He is watching the case and accreditation issues closely and told parents as long as the judge allows the governor to suspend the six members he believes DeKalb will retain its accreditation.
For the homeowners association, the concern is twofold. First, members say they are worried about the children, and second, about effect on economic development if accreditation is lost.
"A lot of people have compassion for kids, everybody has compassion for dollars," Millar said.
The Dunwoody Homeowners Association also wants the city of Dunwoody to fund the feasibility study required to potentially start a new school district.