Judge Temporarily Blocks Atlanta Public Schools Expansion

A Fulton County judge issued a temporary injunction on Friday blocking the expansion of Atlanta Public Schools (APS) boundaries, which was part of Emory’s annexation into Atlanta. Prior to the injunction, school district boundaries were set to change on July 1.

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) sued Atlanta on June 5 to invalidate Emory’s annexation into the city. The annexation would cost the DCSD about $2.5 million in property tax revenue because APS was set to take over the annexed area. DCSD alleged in its lawsuit that Atlanta City Council violated the city’s charter because it publicly read the proposed legislation only once after changing which school district would have jurisdiction in the annexed area. The Atlanta City Charter requires that proposed legislation be publicly read twice before voting.

“The injunction means that DCSD students in the annexation area will continue to attend DCSD schools, and not be forced to enroll in the neighboring school system,” a DCSD press release reads.

Finding that there is a substantial likelihood that Atlanta City Council improperly passed the annexation ordinance, the judge prohibited APS from expanding its borders to include the Emory annexation area.

“When material or substantive changes are made to the title of an ordinance between its first and second readings, the prophylactic functions of [the procedure to pass legislation] can be vindicated only by requiring that the amended or substituted title itself be read twice,” the injunction reads.

DCSD Superintendent Steve Green said he was satisfied with the temporary injunction.

“We are pleased the Court took the appropriate step to protect the children of our school system from unnecessary encroachment,” Green said in a June 29 press release. “We strongly encourage all parties to return to the table in a spirit of cooperation regarding the Emory annexation.”

APS and the City of Atlanta did not immediately respond to the Wheel’s request for comment.

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