Last night I heard this story on the news: Body Found Near Old School in DeKalb County.
A neighbor walking his dog heard gunshots and then came across the body of a man who was shot and died at the closed Atherton Elementary School property off of Glenwood Road. The video of the school property showed a neglected, overgrown, boarded-up building that is a blight to that community. The neighbors that were interviewed in the story said that the school building and property have become magnets for drugs, prostitution, and homeless people. Sadly, we can now add murder to that list.
DeKalb County School District needs to vastly improve their building and site maintenance. This is true for schools currently in use and for surplus property. Too often, projects that SPLOST dollars pay for, are really caused by a lack of proper maintenance on the assets. If DeKalb did competent maintenance your SPLOST dollars could all be dedicated to their real purpose – building new schools and expanding and improving existing facilities. Sadly, SPLOST has become the source of basic maintenance dollars for the district.
So, with all of the SPLOST tax dollars the district has collected over 20 years of the SPLOST tax, DeKalb Schools let Atherton Elementary School become an eyesore and a hotbed of criminal activity, and now murder, in the middle of a community. I think the root of the problem lies with the bureaucratic power structure and the fact that they are accountable to no one. These unelected decision makers have so bungled the SPLOST building program that I call it building operations malpractice, at this point. Why have they allowed trailers to proliferate along the Buford corridor? Why have they not added onto schools that have had temporary buildings in place for a decade? What are they doing to alleviate the current and, soon exploding, trailer expansions in Dunwoody? Why have they not torn down Atherton Elementary and turned the property into a park for the community? DeKalb School District has its own police force. How often are these officers on-site given the crime and blight present at this abandoned property? How long has it been since someone in DeKalb Schools came over and cared for the vegetation on this property?
I have sent an email to DeKalb County officials to inquire what can be done to hold the school district responsible for their neglectful ownership. This community deserves better.