It’s official: Emory University and several properties surrounding it will become part of the city of Atlanta on Jan. 1, 2018.
The annexation petition was unanimously approved by the City Council on Dec. 4. Councilmember Alex Wan abstained because he is an employee of Emory. The 744 acre annexation proposal that also includes petitions from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Power, Villa International, Synod of South Atlantic & Presbyterian Church (USA) Inc. and the Centers for Disease Control.
While the city and DeKalb County had reached an agreement to resolve potential conflicts created by the annexation, a proposal to expand Atlanta Public Schools boundaries – which was recently added to the proposal – drew an objection from DeKalb County Schools.
DeKalb County School Board member Marshall Orson spoke against the proposed expansion of school boundaries during public comments.
“It was quite a surprise to us to find out at the late hour that this annexation proposal was going to be changed, that it was going to change the school district boundaries, and it was going to affect the shift of tax revenue from DeKalb County to Atlanta Public Schools,” Orson said.
DeKalb County schools stands to lose about $2.5 million in revenue. The change in Atlanta Public School boundaries would be effective on July 1, 2018. About 10 students are affected by the proposal.
Mayor Kasim Reed celebrated the council’s decision.
“Today’s decision to annex the Emory University area is historic and transformative,” Reed said following the vote. “At 744 acres, this will be the largest expansion of the city since the annexation of Buckhead in 1952. The annexation of Emory University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, presents the rare opportunity to bring a world-class teaching and research institution, and two of the leading national public health institutions of the United States into the City of Atlanta. We are also pleased to welcome Villa International, the Presbyterian Synod, and other businesses, employees and students to the City of Atlanta. Over the years these institutions have served as terrific partners to the city. It is gratifying to know that they can now officially call Atlanta home.”
Emory University President Claire E. Sterk said that she is “thrilled” by the decision.
“Emory is not leaving DeKalb County,” she said. “We remain steadfastly committed to our colleagues and neighbors in county leadership and beyond. Alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the other entities involved in annexation, we will pursue our shared mission of serving the common good in the greater metropolitan area and well beyond.”