Fate of students one of many questions for Buckhead cityhood movement

State legislators meet at the State Capitol.
State legislators meet at the State Capitol.(Abby Kousouris)
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 8:57 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A nail-biting day at the state capitol. The contentious Buckhead cityhood debate came to a head in a vote on the Senate floor.

One thing that is still up in the air is what would happen to Buckhead students.

“We’re talking about 5,000 kids in the APS area that would kind of be left in limbo,” said Mikayla Arciaga.

Arciaga is an education advocate and former Atlanta Public Schools teacher. She is also a member of the group Neighbors For A United Atlanta. The group is decidedly against cityhood for Buckhead, mainly because of the question mark hanging over education.

“If you now remove a section of the city of Atlanta that is no longer city of Atlanta, the Atlanta City Public Schools cannot educate those students,” Arciaga said.

Arciaga says that’s not an APS decision. It’s a legal matter.

Arciaga said, “APS won’t have the ability to operate outside of the boundaries of the city of Atlanta, which is what happens if this referendum passes…and they are not allowed to by their charter with the state.”

Senate Bills 113 and 114 suggest a new Buckhead city pay taxes to APS at a rate set by their Board of Education. Leaders of the Buckhead city movement reiterated Wednesday that it would be possible for a new Buckhead city to stay with Atlanta schools. No one from the movement would comment on Thursday when we asked about it.

Arciaga doesn’t buy it.

“It’s extremely [negligent] just to say, ‘oh, we’re just going to stay with them.’ Because it’s fundamentally and legally untrue.”

Arciaga added that Fulton County Schools can’t take the students due to capacity and proximity.