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Parents dismayed by school board decision over proposed Druid Hills H.S. renovations

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- A video showing poor conditions inside Druid Hills High School wasn't enough to get school board members on board with proposed renovations. The DeKalb County School Board voted Tuesday night on a different plan that left some parents confused and outraged.

Students and parents hoped their protest outside of the school administration building and an earlier video of school conditions would inspire board members. They had hoped the school board would put Druid Hills back on the priority renovations list, after a previous proposal left it off of the list. However, the board voted 5-to-2 in favor of districtwide repairs, instead.

Parents like Ken Schroeder were caught off guard by the decision. His son is a freshman at Druid Hills High School. He also has two older kids who previously attended Druid Hills and are presently in college.

"It was shocking because the board was voting on the modernization of Druid Hills. They literally started reading a seven-page dissertation on how else they should use the money, and why it should not go to Druid Hills," Schroeder said. "What the students have been asking for is the board not to just give band-aids out; not just to this facility, but to all the facilities in DeKalb, because a lot of them were built at the same time and they're all falling apart."

DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Watson-Harris says the fact that so many schools need repairs is why the board thought it was best to bring all of them up to a suitable standard.

"The intention behind the amendment to the board agenda item that we put forward was to have a more equitable distribution of resources across the county," she said, explaining that the district still plans to modernize certain schools in accordance with its initial plans. "Druid Hills is a priority for the district, as are all of our schools."

Many Druid Hills parents and students disagree that the school is a priority.

"The fact that they just disregard a $2 million taxpayer money study; the recommendations are shocking, and they really need to be held accountable for that," Schroeder said.

Schroeder and others who support renovations and modernizations of the schools are urging everyone to continue sharing their concerns with school board members.

Watson-Harris says the board's decision is just the first step in moving forward with school improvements. She says the board plans to review its funding sources and come up with a communication plan they hope will address some concerns that parents have raised.

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