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October 2013 Meeting Minutes
Oct 6, 2013

DHA President Stacey Harris opened the meeting by thanking State Senator Fran Millar, State Representative Tom Taylor, and Mayor Mike Davis, City Council members Lynn Deutsch, Terry Nall and John Heneghan for attending.

Bill Robinson gave the Board notice that Jean Williams will be coming home from the hospital this week. Mrs. Williams served two terms representing Dunwoody and District 1 on the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and has been a DHA Board member in the decades since.

President Harris gave the Board an update on the Historical pictorial installation DHA contributed to at Dunwoody Elementary. Board member Robin Burch oversaw the assemblage and framing of the pictures presented to the school. Robin was DHA lead on the original design for this newest of Dunwoody’s Public Schools and the display space for this exhibit was part of the school design.

Bob Carter from Iron Sky gave a presentation on the cameras to be installed at Brook Run Park. Seven 720p networked wireless cameras and the related internet accessible system will be the Cities first use of security cameras in a Park.

State Representative Tom Taylor discussed the findings of the feasibility study on City of Dunwoody schools. Local area study was just completed and reveals with the calculated revenue at our current millage rate, less the estimated expenses, an independent school system would have a surplus greater than the entire City of Dunwoody’s budget.. This bill will be heard in committee at the State level starting in January. The community needs to show their support by attending these meetings in downtown Atlanta and being seen and heard to support HR486.

Rep. Taylor stressed the fact that many hurdles need to be overcome before the end goal of an independent school system is achieved. Last year Rep. Taylor submitted HR 486; which would, if passed by the state legislature and the people of Georgia, change the state constitution to allow new school districts in cities that incorporated after 2005. HR 486 would allow crossing county lines to draw a proposed school system. Any school system set up in Georgia would be separate from city government

Rep Taylor told the meeting that this is a good time to advocate this legislation. He believes the likelihood of DCSS board members removed by Gov. Deal running again and being reelected is high. The primary election is May 20, 2014.

Now that the study model has been created; additional studies for areas and/or cities interested in independent school districts will only need to plug in their specific data.

When HR 486 passes the next step will be getting enabling legislation passed to allow study areas to vote on the issue. Enabling legislation provides the framework for how an independent school system would operate. Then we’ll get into the implementation details (class size, curriculum, etc). For now the goal is to pass HR 486 and get to the point where the citizens living in the proposed area have the right to vote on forming a local school district or stay part of the DCSS.

Rep. Taylor recommended watching the DCSS board’s action on the Druid Hills Charter Cluster proposal. Will they approve it as submitted, approve a gutted version; or deny the application? Each action could have consequences that affect our efforts.

Rep. Taylor and meeting attendees had a lively Q and A session on the issues after his presentation.

President Stacey Harris told the assembled that no votes by the board were needed tonight and she adjourned the meeting.