There’s a new sticking point in the proposed annexation of Emory University into Atlanta, and it centers around the question of where kids in the annexed area should go to school.
Under legislation before the Atlanta City Council, more than 700 acres including Emory University would become part of Atlanta, but not part of Atlanta Public Schools.
State Rep. Beth Beskin, whose district is in Atlanta, said that’s unprecedented and could be problematic. She recently wrote a letter to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the City Council urging them to change the language.
“Every parcel of property in Atlanta is zoned for APS,” she said. “If this area comes into Atlanta, yet is not zoned for APS, those people will be hybrid Atlantans.”
That’s because, unlike other Atlantans, these new residents wouldn’t pay taxes to APS, Beskin said, and that could create divisions among people within the city.
The city said it made the decision in response to property owners’ requests to stay in the DeKalb County Schools system. It also pointed to a Georgia Supreme Court ruling in 1981, stating cities don’t have to expand school boundaries when annexing land.
The proposed annexation area mostly covers big institutions — Emory University, along with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Egleston Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, it does include a couple of residential pockets, like Emory Point and Emory-owned homes that the university leases.
DeKalb County Public Schools said it had nine students who lived in the proposed annexation area last year.
In a statement, Atlanta Public Schools said, “As with all annexations that include students, we look forward to serving any children who reside in the area.”
The Atlanta Zoning Review Board is set to consider ordinances related to the Emory University annexation at its meeting Thursday, Aug. 10.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at 55 Trinity Avenue, SW Atlanta, GA 30303.
This story was provided by WABE.