Feb. 21, 2013 - Atlanta - Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond (left) confers with DeKalb school board attorney Bob Wilson before the hearing. The state Board of Education hearing on the DeKalb school board opened with DeKalb school board attorney Bob Wilson challenging the constitutionality of the statue and objecting to the evidence on hearsay and relevance issues. The state board of education will be making a recommendation on whether the nine board members should be removed from office. A new state law allows this for school districts that in danger of losing their accreditation. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
Monday Gov. Nathan Deal will decide whether or not to remove six members of the DeKalb school board following last night's recommendation by the state school board.
WSB’s Sandra Parrish found mixed reaction among lawmakers from DeKalb County including Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain).
“I believe the will of the voters should be paramount and we’re usurping that in that instance,” he says.
He believes the board should have been given more time to address concerns by the SACS accrediting agency as does Rep. Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta).
“At least given them until the summer to see how well this new superintendent and this new board leadership would have gone through the SACS recommendations to make those changes… that probably would have been the better choice rather than reinvent the wheel today,” he says.
But Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver is pleased with the decision and is hopeful that the governor will act on the recommendation.
“I think the evidence is compelling… I think we need to make progress for the 100,000 children in the DeKalb school district,” she says.
Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), who once opposed the law to allow the governor to remove school board members in systems in jeopardy of losing accreditation, now see its necessity.
“I sat back and watched the dysfunction of the school board in DeKalb County, and at this juncture, I’m pleased that there’s another process in place to remedy this particular situation,” she says.
Deal released a statement saying he has carefully followed the state Board of Education’s deliberations Thursday and will take the weekend to make his decision.
“Removing elected officials from office is a serious duty, not undertaken lightly. That responsibility, however, pales in comparison to the importance of assuring the credibility of students’ education. I will do everything in my power to prevent the loss of accreditation of the DeKalb school system and the devastating impact it would have on students and economic development in one of the state’s largest counties.”
The DeKalb school board is now asking a federal judge to stop governor deal public announcement Monday whether or not most of them can keep their jobs. Channel 2 action news reports board members have asked for emergency injunction. As of now, Governor Deal is set to announce his decision at 11:00 a.m. Monday morning.