Moving East Cobb, Brumby schools to same location generates divide
by Haisten Willis
May 08, 2014 04:00 AM | 4993 views | 25 25 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Republican school board candidates offered a variety of responses when asked if they supported the idea of placing a new East Cobb Middle School at the same site as a proposed new Brumby Elementary School.

The Cobb Board of Education stirred controversy in March when it revealed plans to relocate Brumby Elementary to a site off Terrell Mill Road near Sope Creek Elementary. Parents from the Sope Creek community have voiced opposition to the plan for a variety of reasons, including traffic, the behavior of Brumby students, redistricting and the amount spent purchasing the land.

One parent even told the board during a recent meeting the board discussed the deal in a “smoke-filled room.”

But another point of opposition was East Cobb Middle School may also be relocated to the site. The site has 35 acres, only 15 of which would be taken up by Brumby, and East Cobb Middle is in line for a rebuild under a special purpose local option sales tax approved last March.

The plot was placed under contract by the school board for $9.4 million in early February.

There are four elementary schools in Cobb County adjacent to middle schools.

School board member Scott Sweeney faces Kevin Nicholas in the May 20 Republican primary, with the winner taking the seat for the next four years. Sweeney previously said moving East Cobb Middle to the site is a possibility.

When the MDJ asked Sweeney more recently about the potential move, he said he’s still undecided.

“The district’s administration has not made a recommendation to the Board of Education,” he said. “Should the district make that recommendation, my decision will be based on the best information made available to the board as well as community and board discussions.”

Sweeney’s opponent for the east Cobb seat said he does not favor the idea.

“At a minimum, if there are no plans for the rest of the land, our school board should not be investing $9.4 million in taxpayer money in property without having its use determined with a proper plan,” Nicholas said. “If there is a plan to use the extra 20 acres, our students, teachers, residents and taxpayers have a right to know.”

Post 2 incumbent Tim Stultz agreed with Nicholas, citing traffic issues.

“I believe if a proper traffic study is performed by the Cobb DOT, it will show that adding a middle school to the site will negatively impact the corridor more so than just adding Brumby,” Stultz said. “If that is the case, I do not support locating East Cobb Middle to the site.”

Stultz has two opponents in the Republican primary for the Smyrna/Vinings area seat. One of his opponents is Susan Thayer of Smyrna, a consultant for former Fulton County superintendent James Wilson’s firm, Education Planners. Thayer said she is undecided.

“I don’t have enough information to make a decision on this issue,” she said. “It’s my understanding that no proposal has been made to the board at this time.”

But Stultz’s other opponent, Wells Fargo lending officer Jeff Abel, said he does support the idea. He pointed out there are middle schools in the Post 2 district that are older and should be replaced before East Cobb, but said putting both schools on the same site could be unavoidable.

“The reality is that if the school district were to split and sell the remaining acreage beyond the 15 acre minimum necessary for Brumby, a residential development there would allow 2.5 homes per acre under current zoning. So at least 50 homes could be built on that additional land, which would certainly have a similar impact to the traffic load in the area as a middle school,” Abel said. “As large tracts of land for our schools becomes harder to find, a combined elementary/middle school location may be inevitable.”

Post 4, which represents northeast Cobb, has no incumbent, as Kathleen Angelucci is not seeking re-election. Instead, either Lockheed Martin analyst David Chastain or former Marietta Sixth Grade Academy Principal Bill Scott will hold the seat.

Chastain said he was undecided.

“Right now, I do not have enough information,” Chastain said. “I could see the benefits to it. I understand the people that live in the area are upset about the idea. There’s a lot more there I can’t see at the moment as a candidate.”

Scott also is undecided.

“People were very concerned about the traffic that’s going to be in that area, and if they put two schools in there, that will make it worse,” he said. “I think some further study would have to be done before a decision could be made on that. … The concern to residents is that it could bundle up traffic and make total gridlock.”

Comments
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Two Mouth
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May 10, 2014
When asked about the property on Terrell Mill Road during the Sope Creek forum (to which he rudely arrived late), Nicholas specifically said that he "will properly put whatever is going there, is going there."

Yet here he's a "NO."

ProBrumby
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May 08, 2014
Other then the POSIBILITY of traffic (and this is not confirmed) the only thing I see is positive. This will be a better school for the kids. This should increase property values because of a brand new school. This will increase the self esteem of the kids attending Brumby.

I've watched all the school board meetings and NEVER have I seen one Child, Family or Teacher that has an actual interest in Brumby complain. Its always a neighbor from Sope Creek or elderly person that in no way would have a child at Brumby. The school boards responsibly is to the kids. They have 100% done the correct thing here.

@Too Bad "What a terrible move!(Where else would you put it?) Bad for Sope Creek (not for Brumby), bad for the residents(only those without kids and only maybe because should increase value of homes), bad for traffic (unknown), and will ultimately affect the entire area adversely (doughtfull)"

@anonymous I would hope that Kevin Nicholas if elected would still have the best interest of the children involved first and not bow to pressure because someone doesn't want to see a school out their windows or add 5 mins to their drive.
@ProBrumby
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May 08, 2014
Amen! This move for Brumby will be a huge improvement for them and will also be an improvement for the community. A brand new school will INCREASE your property values! If you are in the Brumby attendance zone, you are in the Brumby attendance zone! Be glad for the improvements to your community.

And can someone please tell Nicholas to do a little homework and follow the law and rules on placing his signs around the County? 99% of his signs have been placed in the right of way which is county property and illegal to place signs there. He obviously either doesn't know these rules OR he doesn't care.
word on the street
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May 08, 2014
Vote for Sweeney and you have Brumby and East Cobb Middle School on the same site as well as re-redistricting more Sope Creek Kids to Brumby.

@ word on the street
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May 08, 2014
Your incredibly naive to think that one person can redistrict. Brumby is being built within its attendance zone and there has been no talk of any redistricting by the school district. Where are your facts, not rumors?
Naive?
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May 09, 2014
Really Naive? Do the math... I am sure that the School District would not build a new Brumby that could not handle it's over-populated student #'s. Surely they would build a school that accommodates the current student population as well as accommodating future growth or to help alleviate the over populated Sope Creek Elementary School. It only takes one person to bring the subject up and a majority vote, who would not vote for spreading the over populated schools out. Smaller schools, less trailers, smaller classrooms always make better schools!
Thayer/Scott
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May 08, 2014
So far SUSAN THAYER and BILL SCOTT are both 2/2 on their "UNDECIDEDS".

Believe me folks these two (2) candidates are NOT undecided it is just not beneficial for them at this time to disclose their persuasions on these issues.

Both THAYER and SCOTT are in the pockets of JOHN CROOKS, JOHN ABRAHAM, JAMES WILSON, DAVID BANKS and their sidekick SCOTT SWEENEY. Months before qualifying Crooks made it very public that their gang had their own candidates (stealth). Crooks & his boys want a voting block on the school board so they can get whatever they want when they want it.

UNDECIDED # 1:

In a May 4, 2014 MDJ column school board candidates were asked if they would support a ban of CCSD vendors serving on the board of the Cobb Schools Foundation. SUSAN THAYER said she was "UNDECIDED", BILL SCOTT said he was "UNDECIDED" and SCOTT SWEENEY would NOT RESPOND. The other candidates had no problem in voicing their support of such a BAN. NOTE: JOHN CROOKS is the current Chair of the Foundation and he has no problem with this conflict of interest.

UNDECIDED # 2

Some time ago CROOKS and BANKS came up with the idea that the Wheeler Area needs a K-12 STEM with the K-8 part of the STEM to be located on one (1) campus. With the purchase of the land for Brumby ES which was an all of the land or nothing purchase the boys (NOT the Board) got the bright idea to begin pushing for the East Cobb MS rebuild to be on the new land next to Brumby ES rather than East Cobb MS's current location which has always been the plan. So we see when asked if they support the move of East Cobb MS to the new Brumby ES location once again SUSAN THAYER is "UNDECIDED" BILL SCOTT is "UNDECIDED", SCOTT SWEENEY is "UNDECIDED" (Note – I am well aware of the other "Undecided" however this candidate is NOT 2/2). With the current board they do NOT have the vote to make this happen but if the BOYS get their wishes the election of SUSAN THAYER and BILL SCOTT to the Cobb School Board all will be smooth sailing ahead. So you can clearly see why an "UNDECIDED" claim is a safe claim for SUSAN THAYER and BILL SCOTT prior to May 20.

Lastly, if more evidence is needed JAMES WILSON is throwing a Meet and Greet for SUSAN THAYER and BILL SCOTT tonight (Thursday, May 8, 2014) at the Marietta Country Club from 4:00-6:00pm. Among those on the invitation list are JOHN CROOKS, JOHN ABRAHAM, DAVID CONNELL (Cobb Chamber), KATHIE JOHNSTONE, and the list goes on.

If the constituents in Post 2 and Post 4 want to FORFEIT their representation to stealth candidates then vote for SUSAN THAYER and BILL SCOTT.

Oh and BTW SUSAN THAYER has NOT voted since 2008 but NOW she wants your vote!
MR. BOLD LETTERS
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May 08, 2014
WHERE do I begin... suffice to say, your apparent candidate Chastain has been equally on the fence about many issues. I believe he even said about the budget at one of the forums "I cannot comment as I am not in the position to answer that" - that seems pretty UNDECIDED to me. I guess in those rose-colored Chastain glasses you fail to critique your own candidate's answer. HOW about the flyer that I received from Chastain and the first bullet point is "I represent the cobb county taxpayer"... that's great - I am sure the students of Cobb County are thrilled!!!

NOW let's talk about the 'group' you clearly want to be elected - DOES Cobb county really want a Stultz, Chastain and Nichols voting bloc representing the children and parents of cobb county? I know I don't.
Wolmark
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May 08, 2014
Don't disgrace our community. We don't need another Crooks or Abraham on the Board. If you elect Bill Scott, that is what you get! A career politician disguised as an educator.
Hey Wolmark
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May 09, 2014
Bill Scott is no career politician - but Chastain is!!!! Ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for Secretary of State and School Superintendent. And he ran as a Libertarian....
spot on
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May 08, 2014
I think Nicholas' comments are spot on. The thing that concerns me is how many of these candidates are being backed by the uglies - Abraham and Crooks to be specific. These gentleman (and I use the word losely) were responsible for some of the most ugly, political, heavy handed tactics of any board members in recent memories. Even Lynda Crowder Eagle who is part of this bunch has gotten involved. A vote for Scott, Thayer and Sweeney will net you these people in the background and I really don't want to turn back to the dark ages. Be aware people.
Just Wait
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May 08, 2014
The school board has never cared about traffic when picking a location for a new school. Why should they? They never have to spend the money to provide the road improvements that become necessary for the traffic problems they create. That always falls on the county commission to correct and pay for.
Garbage Man
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May 08, 2014
This is strange. If I read it right, they are putting two schools next to each other, but not consolidating them? If it HAS to be done, then I guess that's best. Otherwise you are combining Brumby (a school rated 5 out of 10) next to Sope Creek (a school rated 10 out of 10). All that would do is bring down the Sope Creek kids because you aren't going to improve the Brumby kids.
Brumby Kids
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May 13, 2014
Please don't assume anything about the those Brumby Kids.

They have made more improvement than any school in Cobb County!
too bad
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May 08, 2014
What a terrible move! Bad for Sope Creek, bad for the residents, bad for traffic, and will ultimately affect the entire area adversely. This is what happens when the main word is Expediancy, not Common Sense. The residents, first of all should be considered and the impact on the neighborhood should be looked at in the cold light of day.
Carla Wren
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May 08, 2014
So Stultz wants a "proper" traffic study, yet knows the results of that study before it is done. Bright. So sad that his post has had to put up with this thoughtlessness and utter incompetence for so long. It's as if they are not even represented.
PhilHamby
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May 09, 2014
Time for you to check out some more recent school ratings. Do you even know what you are talking about or are you just regurgitating the same old bs you've heard before?
concerned in cobb
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May 12, 2014
What is NOT bright Carla Wren is to disparage others without knowing the facts yourself! The traffic study which was done incorporated 2 weekends and included the SNOW week where nobody was on the road due to weather. This flawed study does NOT show how bad the traffic already is in the area without bringing buses and parents up to the extreme northeast sector of the district just so they can then drive with us back down to where they work.

Why spend $9M to buy new land in a geographically undesirable area when they already own 15 acres adjacent to I75 on Terrill Mill, much closer to the center of the district?
@concerned in cobb
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May 18, 2014
Do some research. Those 15 acres you mentioned are slated for development.

http://documents.atlantaregional.com/tia/pdf/TIA-CO-037.pdf

anonymous
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May 08, 2014
One of the main reason that Kevin Nicholas is running for school board is to keep schools out of this area.
@ anonymous
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May 08, 2014
Nicholas' supporters are on record stating that they don't want "those children" at that site.
Really!!!!
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May 08, 2014
Did Kevin Nichlas really attend a meeting in the area where the new school is going to be built. He is quoted as saying, "Don't worry, I will take care of you" in addition to other strange statements. A recording of these statements will be sent to the MDJ by 5/9
NIMBY for School Bd
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May 08, 2014
Yup - not in his backyard. Not sure how I feel about a candidate running with a single agenda.
Kevin Nicholas
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May 09, 2014
Twist as you may. I have always said I will take Care of our Students - if you refer to that. A new rebuilt east cobb middle school yes - why is a new location needed? I have two kids in east Cobb Middle and vested there- how many kids do you have there?
John Reaves
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May 09, 2014
No, Kevin, that's not what you said. And you know it. You spent that meeting speaking out of both sides of your mouth.
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