Decatur School Board Approves Annexation

UPDATE: Note that the list below aren’t technically “conditions”, but stated items that the city and school board agreed to work toward prior to either body’s vote.  Here’s a direct link to the resolution so you can see for yourself!

Decaturish is reporting that the Decatur school board met this morning and approved the Decatur Annexation Master Plan, noting four items the city and school board agreed upon.  Lots of info in the Decaturish post, but here’s a quick summary of the items listed in CSD’s resolution that they will “continue to be in conversation, and discussion and collaboration between the two governing bodies” to get you started…

  • Identify a location for a new school – likely an elementary school
  • The City Commission will “encourage future commissions to be cautious about rezoning commercial areas as residential areas”.
  • The City Commission will “put a General Obligation bond on the ballot in 2015 so the school system pay for expanding its facilities”
  • CSD will not have to “provide educational services to the newly-annexed areas until 18 months after the effective annexation date”

25 thoughts on “Decatur School Board Approves Annexation”

  1. That last one’s a biggie: no inclusion in CSD for newly annexed areas until 18 months after annexation is official. That would mean beginning of the 2018-19 school year at the earliest right?

    1. Definitely a biggie. Am I reading too much into this, or is CSD basically saying that we currently don’t have the facilities for all of the new students?

      1. CSD doesn’t even have the facilities for all the kids currently living in Decatur, especially as the younger kids move up through the system. That’s why major expansions are being planned at Renfroe and DHS.

      2. In the meeting last week the CSD representatives specifically said they would need to get books, desks, places to put them – all to the tune of 4m. They would need to be fronted the money by the city. Most times there is a significant portion of the budget provided by the state, but since this would be annexed territory/people the city wouldn’t get those funds until the next year.

    2. For me it sounds like if I am forced into being annexed into City of Decatur and have to start paying CoD taxes in 2016 any children at my house could not start benefitting from CoD education until the 2018-2019 school year. That is just plain wrong.

  2. Does that mean newly annexed residential properties would be paying City of Decatur taxes for 18 months without having access to the school system? Or would the school portion of their tax bill stay with Dekalb County during that period?

  3. Regarding “The City Commission will ‘put a General Obligation bond on the ballot in 2015 so the school system pay for expanding its facilities'”: If the bond is voted down, what will that do to the annexation plan?

    1. Don’t know. But it could be that it would be an indirect way of voting against annexation, I guess.

    2. Maybe I am being naïve, but I can’t imagine such a bond would get voted down. CoD residents, for the most part, understand that their taxes are going up to pay for expanded school facilities. Yet, people are still moving here in droves, and very few families are leaving. If nothing else, people will reluctantly vote for it (as some do with the SPLOST) b/c they understand that failure to pass the bond would be catastrophic for the schools (and for home values).

      1. Subsequent SPLOST renewal votes are important too. Decatur uses SPLOST receipts to pay the debt service on the school bond issued several years ago. Presumably, SPLOST will also be used to help pay for any future bonds. I find it hard to believe we will not be in a world of hurt if SPLOST goes away. DeKalb seems to be pretty solidly behind SPLOST (or at least has been), but the way things are going, can we assume it going forward?

  4. OK, so note the update above. The items listed in the original post aren’t technically “conditions”, but items the school board expects to continue to work on with the city. You can read the resolution here if you’re so inclined.

  5. Text that begins with “WHEREAS, the….” just sounds so official and legal! Just wondering what kind of legal force a resolution has. What happens if no one pays it any mind?

    1. Nothing. It is not binding on the city. No one from the city council is listed as a signatory.

      Looks like a political document. The city council can say they got approval and the school board can claim they had concerns about it.

      1. To clarify, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a non-binding resolution. I am sure the BOE’s concerns are valid and this is unchartered territory, so they want to scrutinize it, and at least get their thoughts on the record.

  6. Does anyone know of an instance where a city annexed an area, but did not provide all services for a certain time? In this case, those being annexed would be asked to approve being annexed, but the kids cannot attend CSD for 18 months. I have never heard of this approach. Would this be legal?

    1. I haven’t heard about in Decatur or with schools specifically, but Brookhaven is annexing Executive Park/CHOA and everyone agreed they won’t provide public safety for a period of time after annexation (don’t remember how long).

    2. They don’t want to change school districts in the middle of the year. So if annexation becomes official on Jan 1st 2016, the changes for the students would start August 2016.

      1. But that’s only 8 months delay. The CSD conditions request 18 months so, presumably, an annexation effective date of Jan. 01, 2016 would result in allowable enrollments in August 2017.

    3. I’m thinking it would be cleaner (or at least clearer to me) if the effective date of annexation could be 18 months after the vote of approval by annexed residents. E.g. totally made up dates:
      January 2015: Legislative committee (or whoever) approves annexation to be put to a vote by residents to be annexed with the effective date of annexation stipulated to be 18 months after a resident vote of approval

      February 2015: Vote is held among residents to be annexed and the required plurality votes yes

      August 2016: Annexation is effective; annexed residents start paying City of Decatur taxes and annexed students show up in CSD

      I can see why annexed residents wouldn’t feel it was fair to be paying COD taxes but not be allowed to send their students to CSD yet. Especially for 18 months.

  7. Does anyone know what will happen to Fiesta Package Store (excellent pricing and selection BTW) on Scott? They are being annexed by Decatur, but AFAIK, package stores are not allowed in Decatur.

    I assume that they will be grandfathered in, but I haven’t seen anything official on it. Anyone know or want to make an educated guess?

    I just stopped by there and the owners had no idea what is happening.

    1. They would be grandfathered, just as Yee Package on East College was when we annexed there. They can then continue to operate legally as a package store until they close up shop. However, if the property is redeveloped, they cannot reopen.

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