Last week the parents, teachers, and administrators of the Druid Hills High School cluster overwhelmingly voted to become a charter school cluster. The 92 percent vote for approval was well above the 60 percent threshold required by the untested state law.

Supporters expressed dissatisfaction with bloated administrative budgets, the DeKalb school board’s troubled history, and threats to accreditation.

If the petition is approved by the DeKalb school board and the state, the cluster of seven schools serving 5,000 diverse students would have its own governing board with authority over staffing, pay, and curriculum.

Neighborhoods around the state are watching to see how the process plays out. If the Druid Hills High cluster successfully implements the changes, expect to see other neighborhoods – especially those with troubled school boards – pursue this new tool to expand parental power and school autonomy.