The DeKalb County school board has presented a proposal to close 12 elementary school and use a high school and middle school to house magnet programs.
The proposal unveiled Monday night calls for redrawing attendance lines. It means 12,900 to 16,100 of the school district's 99,000 students would be sent to a new school next year.
Officials say the closures are needed to eliminate 11,000 empty seats.
Board chairman Tom Bowen said the schools were chosen based on empty seats, not race or academics.
The schools were identified after a six-month analysis by consultants MGT of America, which were paid $400,000 to review data.
The district will hold several public hearings on the plan.