Governor Deal to announce school board decision
by Associated Press Wire
February 24, 2013 02:50 PM | 404 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s governor is scheduled to announce Monday whether he will follow a recommendation by the state Board of Education to suspend six of the nine members of the DeKalb County school board.

Gov. Nathan Deal has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m.

The DeKalb system, the state’s third largest public school system, is at risk of losing accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s concerned that the board’s dysfunction could taint the broader Atlanta metro area if left unchecked.

“We don’t want anything to occur that will jeopardize what a diploma from a DeKalb County high school might mean, so everything that can be done to facilitate and bring this all to some logical conclusion serves us all,” he said.

On Friday, parents delivered to the governor a petition with more than 1,800 signatures asking him to remove the board members.

The school board has asked a federal judge to keep Deal from acting pending a Tuesday hearing on a lawsuit challenging the state law that allows the governor to suspend members at the recommendation of the state board.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has put DeKalb County on probation because of a report the association issued in December about abusive behavior, nepotism and questionable financial decisions by board members. An ensuing shakeup left the board with a new chairman and new superintendent.

Even with the changes, the Georgia Board of Education agreed Thursday to recommend suspending six DeKalb board members.

Rather than suspending the six, Deal could consider a plan pushed by some legislators to allow the governor’s office to monitor the school board’s progress in a tightly controlled agreement if the county would abandon its legal challenge to the suspension law.

“There are options other than removal,” Democratic Sen. Jason Carter of Decatur said. “Otherwise, the problem he faces is that there’s fallout in both directions. If he doesn’t remove the board, there’s criticism from people who want them removed. And if he does, you’re removing people who are duly elected.”

Democratic Rep. Billy Mitchell of Stone Mountain said the governor should wait to see if the board will be responsive.

“I think the best course of action in my view would be to let this play out,” he told WGCL-TV.

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