DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The DeKalb County School Board has unanimously approved a $50 million renovation to the aging Druid Hills High School.
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The board approved the renovations at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday’s vote adds Druid Hills to the district’s five-year building plan. Work slated to begin in September will include roofing, plumbing, heating and air conditioning. The district will pay for it using local sales tax collections.
The state hired Tanzy Kilcrease, who is retiring from Bibb County schools, to oversee DeKalb starting June 1. She told WABE-FM that she’s going to assess conditions across the district.
One of Kilcrease’s responsibilities will be ensuring DeKalb carries out repairs in its state corrective action plan, including some updates that must be completed by June 30.
- Students make video of deteriorating conditions at DeKalb high school including mold, sewage
- State Board of Education takes DeKalb to task for poor condition of Druid Hills High School
- Students meet with DeKalb superintendent about conditions of Druid Hills High School
The news comes after students released a shocking video last month about poor conditions at the school, which included exposed wires and leaking sewage.
In the days after the video surfaced, the board fired then-superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris with no warning.
The district then released a list of schools that would get repairs and renovations, but Druid Hills was not on the list.
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State Superintendent Richard Woods wrote a scathing letter to the district, saying that the board should have handled the deteriorating conditions before the students made the video. Wood said the board claimed the district didn’t have the money to make the repairs, but they received nearly $500 million in COVID relief funds that had not been spent.
The Georgia Board of Education has told the board in recent weeks to commit to modernizing the building or risk losing state funding for construction projects district-wide.
The state Department of Education said Tuesday it would approve state facilities funds for DeKalb as long as the district follows through.
About 60% of the immediate needs identified in the plan have already been addressed, interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley said Tuesday. She said a broken sewer line will be repaired by Friday, while roof repairs will be complete within two weeks. She also said the district is working to repair heating, ventilation and air conditioning problems.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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