For the last few years students in Atlanta learned a tough lesson about hardball politics when former Mayor Kasim Reed held dozens of school properties hostage as leverage in a dispute over tax money the city owed APS.
"Some of the schools are occupied, some are abandoned properties that will hopefully turn into some affordable housing or something for the community, but I introduced the legislation which was cosponsored by just about all of the members of the city council to do something we've been wanting to do for a while," said councilman Andre Dickens.
Dickens tried to mediate the impasse before, but now with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in office his bill to return 50 properties to the school system is moving ahead quickly.
"We started with a few deeds last year bow we're doing 50 deeds, and hopefully it will be done in the next month or so. It's all set up, lawyers are getting paperwork to quit claim them over so that the school will have the deeds to the property that they already operate."
Mayor Bottoms says she will keep her promise to return the properties immediately.
"We know that this has been a very highly discussed topic as it relates to the 50 properties of the APS. I had a meeting with Dr. Carstarphen, my commitment had been that we would turn over those properties. We met, spoken several times but we met last week. We introduced legislation that would begin that process."
One of the schools on the list to be returned is Boyd Elementary which has undergone extensive renovations.
"APS paid for that with taxpayers dollars so it's important that we continue to have that in their own authority for them to be able to take advantage of their own properties to have the deeds in their own possession so they can do great things with it."
The properties that APS decides to sell for development will have to follow the city's guidelines for affordable housing set aside.
"The citizens want this, the children need this, this is a wonderful way to start the year," said Dickens.