Can the DeKalb school board reinvent itself in 30 days?

This is the digest form of the four-hour state Board of Education hearing today on whether or not to suspend the DeKalb Board of Education. If want all the details, scan my live blog from the hearing.

The DeKalb board is fighting for its survival after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the district on probation last month because of board mismanagement, meddling, nepotism and fiscal failings. The General Assembly passed a law in 2011 that gave the governor the legal power to remove errant school boards who jeopardize their district’s accreditation.

After the hearing during which every DeKalb board member testified, the state Board of Education delayed voting on recommending that the governor oust the fractious school board, instead approving a consent agreement and giving DeKalb time to show improvement.

But not as much time as the school board wanted.

It was clear some state board members were exasperated with the ongoing problems in DeKalb and doubtful that the nine DeKalb school board members had the ability to transcend their differences. But it was also clear that some state board members were reluctant to dissolve a local school board that includes three newly elected members who only took office 10 days ago.

At the start of the marathon hearing, lawyers for both the state Department of Education and the DeKalb school board urged the state board to sanction a consent agreement that would have allowed the board three months to initiate reforms recommended by SACS.

But the state board declined to grant DeKalb three months to right its ship. Instead, the state board approved a consent decree that gives DeKalb 30 days to register some progress rather than the April date sought by the county.

After approving the consent agreement, the state board immediately told the DeKalb board to return on Feb. 21 to report on its progress at which time the state board could choose to vote on suspension.

This gives DeKalb only 30 days to register some significant progress.

“If they’ve done a rock star job, we can give them to June,” said state board member Mike Royal. “Does that mean we have to vote to remove or not to remove in our recommendation to the governor. No, but April kicks this can too far down the road. This is a critical situation that is upon us now. It is not new and there are 98,000 children in DeKalb County depending on us now.”

However, the DeKalb board attorney maintained that 30 days is insufficient to produce change. ”We believe a two month or a two-and-a-half month process is fairer,” said DeKalb attorney Rocco Testani.

He asked state board members to consider what nine board members could realistically accomplish in 30 days.

Testani was assisted in making his case by the DOE attorney Jennifer Hackemeyer who warned that DeKalb citizens may be confused if the state board signs a consent order giving the DeKalb board three months to make progress but then turns around and brings them back in 30 days and vote on their fates.

Hackemeyer reminded the state board about what they were facing with Sumter County. (The Sumter board filed a civil lawsuit in November against the State Board of Education and Gov. Nathan Deal.)

In defending his board, DeKalb Chair Eugene Walker told the state, “We have had a number of rumors that confounded our ability to govern. People would rather listen to the rumors than look at the records. I admit at times we can be cantankerous but we have honest and decent people on that board. We don’t have people taking money.”

State board member Wanda Barrs raised thoughtful points on what actions will produce the best outcome for DeKalb. Is it ousting the entire board, including three newly elected members, in a month’s time? Or is it working with the board through better guidance and monitoring over three months?

Note that the Clayton school board was ousted and replaced by Gov. Sonny Perdue, but the problems in the district persist, just with a new cast of characters.

In addition, there may be a legal question to whether the state can oust brand new board members who were not in office when SACS placed the system on probation.

There were several comments today at the hearing about the absence of DeKalb Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, who had a family medical emergency. But it was not just her physical absence that was commented upon; state board member Wanda Barrs pressed DeKalb school board member Pam Speaks on whether Atkinson had the “capacity” to help the board.

“I don’t think it is the superintendent’s role to fix our responsibilities as a board,” responded Speaks. “I do think the superintendent has the capacity to work  in conjunction, in collaboration, with the present Board of Education to allow the board  to carry out their role and responsibilities as well as for her to carry out her roles and responsibilities.”

A refrain by many DeKalb board members was that they did not knowingly violate any policies. Several expressed puzzlement over some of the SACS criticisms. All the veteran board members said that they did undergo the required board training, and believed their actions fell within the confines of their board duties and responsibilities.

That line of defense — we didn’t know what we were doing was wrong — did not go over well with some state board members.

State board member Brian K. Burdette wants a list of the training that every DeKalb school board member has undertaken,  telling them: “Everyone says they had the training. If they had it, it didn’t work. If it had, we wouldn’t be here. As a board  member, you are supposed to know what you can and cannot do. If you don’t know, it is up to you to find out and police yourselves. It is incumbent on you all. It is not incumbent on SACS. It isn’t incumbent on this board. It is incumbent on you to fix it. ”

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

199 comments Add your comment

Private Citizen

January 19th, 2013
10:10 am

Your either to old to know what wireless is or means or your just ignorant and really don’t know better.” How many errors do you see in this sentence? Surely they cannot all be attributed to typos, can they?

Just one error involving the contraction: you + are = you’re.

Private Citizen

January 19th, 2013
10:11 am

Commas are over rated and difficult to use, and per rules of grammar are used differently in English in different countries.

Private Citizen

January 19th, 2013
10:23 am

The Deal, thank you.

GETtheCELLoutATL Don’t forget about the mother of all cell phone towers located on South Moreland Ave approaching I-285. You drive past that thing and your cell phone signal strength is at 50 BARS!!!

Plenty of city have wireless for the whole city. It’s called “muni-wifi” (municipal wi-fi) and is useful for police and EMS as well as the general public. The places where they don’t have it is because the wireless service providers go crying because it destroys their market. For example, I know some very poor people who are paying $190./month for 2 phones for a little internet connection and phone service. Meanwhile, some very rich cities, each person pays $5./month and you have muni-wifi. USA has really high connectivity cost related to other developed countries.

Wi-fi in schools? The cost is absolutely minimal, since it is a closed system, just using wireless routers. Actually, it would cost a whole less less than running wired connection. Health risk? I took some interest related to bee colony collapse but I think it has more to do with pesticides than rf – radio frequency.

Private Citizen

January 19th, 2013
10:32 am

The Deal, http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/organizational-chart.pdf

Anybody want to pencil in salaries to go with each box, use a highlighter to note the salaries over $100k, and then scan it and put it online as a .pdf?

bootney farnsworth

January 19th, 2013
10:40 am

anyone who thinks race doesn’t play a factor in this mess is fooling themselves. and for the most part must not be long term residents to the area. those of us to have been here 30+ years have watched this farce play out in slow motion.

it probably doesn’t play out on the simple yes or no world so many try to live in, but it -race- is the underlying factor of EVERYTHING in Atlanta politics.

back in the late 70s and early 80s, signs exhorting votes to “vote the black slate” were common in parts of DeKalb county. and our current idiot mayor Reed all but said in so many words to vote for him to keep the white woman out of office.

a perfect example is the last POTUS election. it was common to say race played a part in white people voting for Romney, since they went for him about 60-40. nothing was said about black people going roughly 90-10 for Obama.

selective outrage, selective vision.

at the political level, race is the undermining issue of all things in DeKalb county. deal with it.

bootney farnsworth

January 19th, 2013
10:48 am

and there is NO WAY a system this flawed can be fixed in just 30 days. it’ll take a good six months to uncover the first tier of problems

what the state did was breathtakingly brilliant politics. and oddly enough the exact sort of thing many of us have railed against here for years. nebulous, non definable goals were set in a impossible time frame. by turning this into a “what is art” kind of question, they can reach any conclusion they want no matter what DCSS does.

all this was was a dog and pony show to cover their collective behinds. most likely the decision was made the moment the state was forced to get involved. and the decision almost certainly will be to lop politically expendable heads.

bootney farnsworth

January 19th, 2013
10:50 am

anyone who’s been here long enough will remember Andy Young, when in a pinch, resorting to saying the problem were the (his words, not mine) Smart Assed White Boys.

Private Citizen

January 19th, 2013
11:22 am

bootney, This guy reminds me of Andrew Young, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhrBDcQq2DM , but where Young, born in New Orleans and did that southern divinity degree thing and then worked to better Atlanta, Africa, and Caribbean, Haddaway is actually from Trinidad and his father is German, so he moved from Trinidad to europe and exploited the pop market as a singer. Point is I think they have very different views about society and power, Haddaway being the more multi-dimensional egalitarian.

Young has several books by or about him.
An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America. (January 1998)
A Way Out of No Way. (June 1996)
Andrew Young at the United Nations. (January 1978)
Andrew Young, Remembrance & Homage. (January 1978)
The History of the Civil Rights Movement. (9 volumes) (September 1990)
Trespassing Ghost: A Critical Study of Andrew Young. (January 1978)
Walk in My Shoes: Conversations between a Civil Rights Legend and his Godson on the Journey Ahead with Kabir Sehgal. (May 2010)

Some of Haddaway’s songs:
Catch a Fire
Fly Away
I Miss You
Life
Rock My Heart
Stir It Up
What Is Love

Private Citizen

January 19th, 2013
11:35 am

Hey Bootney, What do you get when two brothers who run a gym in London start playing with writing lyrics at the front counter of the gym and decide to make a song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39YUXIKrOFk

Name One

January 19th, 2013
3:39 pm

Jay Cunningham is a convicted felon. Walker had multiple sexual harassment lawsuits against him. High character people.

bu2

January 19th, 2013
3:39 pm

@dekalbite
I was referring to the way DIO was calling Jester a simple Mom with a calculator, when in fact she was financially savvy. Its rather misleading and insulting to others for Jester to call herself that.

Board members should be competent. Its unbelievable to me that Ms. Copelin-Woods spent 10 minutes of the board time not understanding, after 12 years on the board and 12 years of budgeting, the difference between a negative fund balance and a negative cash balance. She still didn’t grasp it, but the CFO manage to assuage her concerns about there being a negative cash balance. Its unacceptable that noone seemed to realize Tyson was ignoring the budget.

I want to see a lot of these people gone. But so do people from 5 of the 7 districts. The democratic process should be respected.

bu2

January 19th, 2013
3:40 pm

If there’s no progress by May, then I would say, yes, its time to pull the plug. But the newer people and the citizens should be given a chance.

Dekalbite@bu2

January 19th, 2013
6:33 pm

“I want to see a lot of these people gone. But so do people from 5 of the 7 districts. The democratic process should be respected.”

I like my rep Jim McMahon as well, but if the entire BOE has to go, then that is part of the democratic process. I’m a liberal Democrat but I abide by the laws this conservative legislature passes. Replacing the BOE is the Governor’s prerogative by law if their accreditation is a a certain level. That’s democracy in action too. Although we can pick and choose which laws we agree or disagree with, we don’t get to pick and choose which laws we follow.

bu2

January 19th, 2013
10:20 pm

As you said, its his perogative, not an obligation. If you had the same 9 people getting re-elected, that should impact the decision whether to remove them all or give them more time.

The way things work in this state (corruption whether its run by white, black, Democratic or Republican politicians), I don’t have any faith in the type of people who would be on an appointed board. And as a voter, you would have no say. I also don’t have faith that Atkinson is competent enough to run this district. I see an appointed board deferring to her even more than the past boards have. We’re stuck with her either way. Changing superintendents before accreditation is restored is asking for chaos and a loss of accreditation. But she needs to improve the way she does things.

I believe the newer people will change things for the better. Enough? Maybe, maybe not. For those who say the county is the problem, an appointed board does nothing to solve that. It merely defers the problems until accreditation is restored. And then the motivation for political change is reduced.

bootney farnsworth

January 20th, 2013
7:47 am

@bu

the citizens have had multiple chances to fix this and they chose to return the same or similar set of fools. frankly the citizens of DeKalb are the main problem here – they have chosen to say this is OK with them.

essentially the DCSS mess is a result of mob rule. and our republic is designed to protect us from mobs.

bu2

January 20th, 2013
9:40 am

Zepora-Roberts is gone, replaced by a CPA with a school age child (who I believe is in DCSS).
Womack, who was something of a curmudgeon and probably was one of those intervening in the schools is gone. His replacement is in the mortgage loan business and has children in the district.
McChesney, who wrote the e-mail that he would hold a meeting without women to get the emotion out (obviously lacking in common sense and competence to actually put that in an e-mail), got replaced by an attorney with children in the district.
Redovian got replaced by an actuarial consultant with children in the district.

We’ve got qualified people with a serious stake in the success of the district. I don’t see that as the same or similar set of fools.

Walker and Speaks, 2 of the returnees, have Phds. Walker’s is from Duke. Speak’s is from Sarasota, but her undergrads are from Boston U. and Northeastern.

@bu2

January 20th, 2013
2:12 pm

Gene Walker may have a PhD, but he is indefensible.

Here are some headlines about Gene from Access North Georgia:

Parole board member on trial for sexual harassment

State paid $190,000 to settle earlier sex harassment suit

Streat’s lawyers file another motion on AG
Lawyers for Sen. Van Streat are seeking “detailed affidavits” from Attorney General Thurbert Baker and two others they accuse of conspiring to destroy official records.

Suit accuses parole board member of sexual harassment

Walker was also a state legislator who stepped down after four terms, alledgely asked by the leaders of the State Democratic Party.

And this is great from Gene:
“CrossRoadsNews – DeKalb state senators question School Board members”
Henson asked about alleged misappropriation of $12 million in textbook funds. Walker said an audit by KPMG accounted for all funds and blamed allegations on rumors by disgruntled parents or employees.

Betsy Parks

January 20th, 2013
2:24 pm

Sheriff Brown on DKBOE & CEO “This is just a little hiccup.” Well… NOT TO US! WE hope the outrage spreads fast! Sign and Share until the DKBOE is replaced!
http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-nathan-deal-and-georgia-state-board-of-education-review-sacs-findings-if-accurate-replace-the-dekalb-county-school-board

The Deal

January 20th, 2013
3:33 pm

bu2, are you kidding? Donna Edler is an idiot. Melvin Johnson is an insider. You can try to make it sound better than it is, but we all know the facts.

bootney farnsworth

January 20th, 2013
3:49 pm

BTW: its not just DCSS which is corrupt, but the whole of DeKalb management from schools to sewage. the whole damn county is rotting. or rotten, if you prefer the past tense

bu2

January 20th, 2013
5:38 pm

@@not defending Dr. Walker’s performance, just challenging the comment calling him a fool.

@the Deal We all know your OPINIONS. But since Donna Elder got a BBA at Kansas and Master’s at Wisconsin and is a CPA, I don’t believe she is an idiot. Is she always well prepared for board meetings? No. But she’s not an idiot.

I will agree there are two people who are unqualfied to be on the board. And there are others I wish weren’t there, but they aren’t fools and idiots.

bu2

January 20th, 2013
5:43 pm

@bootney
I hope you don’t live in Gwinnet or Fulton or Clayton. Otherwise its kind of like the pot calling the kettle black.

And the garbage service actually is one of the things that works here. Its really quite a beautiful county. Just drive from paved over Fulton to forested Dekalb along streets like Ponce de Leon, La Vista and Freedom Parkway. Or head into Brookhaven from Peachtree. Its quite refreshing. As much as Perimeter Mall is a pain to navigate, its a lot more attractive than the Lennox/Phipps area.

Taxpayer and Teacher

January 20th, 2013
6:26 pm

What is the concentration area of Walker’s Ph.D, Physical Education? And sexual harrassment(EWWW!) Sarasota? is that the program that allows you to do your defense on the phone? This is a joke! Counting down til school is out…4, 3, 2, 1!!!!!Yaaaaay! Free at last…No racial epithet intended…

concernedmom30329

January 20th, 2013
8:01 pm

@Bu2
In Walker County, the first thing their appointed board did was fire the superintendent.
http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Governor-Appoints-New-School-Board-For-Miller-County-172567091.html

In our current scenario, we have a weak superintendent with a handful of strong armed board members. For the last decade or so, individual board members have used their power/influence over the superintendent (whomever that may be) to get what they wanted for their schools.

I am sorry but I don’t have confidence that this behavior won’t continue with the current board.

This is the real problem — nine (or six, if you want to argue the new board members are different) who have their own agendas and virtually none of those agendas are about the well being of the entire system.

Even Jester engaged in questionable behavior as it related to redistricting the schools a few years ago.

We need board members who can vote in a way that may make it uncomfortable with their own constituents. Do you think we have that right now?

concernedmom30329

January 20th, 2013
8:11 pm

Not Walker — Miller County Wishful thinking perhaps?

exteacher

January 20th, 2013
9:17 pm

I enjoyed the comments from THE DEAL and DEKALBITE . Dr. Trotter, I get that race is an issue and perhaps the black population does get extra grief, but you know they need to raise their own bar if they want to be taken seriously as a group. Lots of behavior that does not benefit them or earn themselves any respect needs to change, even if it seems “white.” Funny to see Fernbank on here- a lot. This is a very self involved group who could care less about any other school in the district and Orson is their shill. I have no reason to believe this guy would represent anyone else except the people who live in the Fernbank district who paid for the hundreds of yard signs that got him elected. On Gwinnett…I worked there. They have issues but it is 100 times more efficient than DK. Every school has the basics plus ART, Music,and PE. Same dumb administrators with funky degrees though. I am ready for the board to go and a thorough house cleaning at the central office which is a huge JOKE.

@concernedmom

January 20th, 2013
9:37 pm

@concernedmom,
Jester didn’t engage in questionable behavior in redistricting a few years ago. You know that. She came on the board in the middle of the process. The end result was strikingly similar to the first set of options presented by the staff to the board. The only people that had issues with it wanted to keep the 4-5 academy for their own strange demographic reasons. Everyone knows that the end results were good and we have very strong elementary schools in that cluster now. What is questionable is why the staff did nothing to address the various zones in the Cross Keys feeder pattern. They never presented one idea to make that better.

Taxpayer and Teacher

January 20th, 2013
11:23 pm

Please…I’m BLACK and I say get rid of them all. (Including MRS. Atkinson) I want to get a good return on my house when I decide to sell. Call me selfish.

Pardon My Blog

January 21st, 2013
8:58 am

@exteacher – yeah, I guess doing the right thing, abiding by the rules and law, etc. are acting “white”? The mantra seems to be do what you want and beg for forgiveness later.

bootney farnsworth

January 21st, 2013
9:28 am

@ bu

perhaps you should spend less time worrying about the failures in other counties and focus on the multitude of failures in your own.

and while I’m pleased your trash system works to your approval, its sorta pointless when you refuse to take your trash out.

The Deal

January 21st, 2013
5:24 pm

bu2, definitions:

Fool: a person lacking in judgment or prudence
Idiot: a foolish or stupid person

I think most of our board fits these definitions. But bury your head in the sand and hope for more time that our children don’t have.

bu2

January 21st, 2013
7:00 pm

@bootney & the Deal
You can both bury your head in the sand and assume the corruption that pervades this state somehow will create a good board to improve the system. I trust the voters more than the governor or the SBOE. Your path creates a lot of risk and does nothing to guarantee we don’t go back to the same place. The progress in “taking out the trash” the voters have already made gets reversed.

Concernedmom30329

January 21st, 2013
8:36 pm

bu2

I strongly believe the three newly elected board members will be reappointed. I desperately believe that the rest need to go.

You seem to think that Redovian and McChesney were horrible. They weren’t. (Womack was.) They got snookered by staff on occasion and redistricting took a terrible tole on McChesney, but unless the whole (or nearly the whole) board is acting as one, nothing is going to chage. The system is fundamentally flawed. A board member may ask a great question but the majority of the board won’t support him/her in finding the answer. Why? Because they need to protect their version of the status quo. (Be it attendance zones, new construction, certain hires, etc) This is a system that works on some strange pay back method.

I would like to think, and I am impressed with those appointed in other systems, that the Governor would look to see what was needed and appointed appropriate folks.

I know I have said this before, but you are very new to this and you live in a school district where parents can raise the funds to make up the differences from system funding shortfall. You also have said that you may be public only in elementary. For about 95,000 other students in DeKalb, their reality is very different. Every bad decision made by the system is like another little cut towards a fatal wound. Most system families don’t have options other than public k-12.

I sense your desperation to keep Marshall and the other newly elected officials. Keep in him. See how you feel about him in 2-4 years. But don’t insist on keeping everyone else.

IT ISN’T WORKING.

dekalbite@bu2

January 21st, 2013
10:21 pm

No doubt Orson is anxious to make sure the new Fernbank Elementary building goes through, but there is more to DeKalb than a school building for one community, no matter how powerful and affluent that community is.

IMHO – ALL BOE members need to go. I sense you campaigned for Orson. I campaigned very actively for and donated to the new rep that won in my district as well, and think he could do a fine job. However, it seems very divisive to keep some BOE reps and let others go. How would the governor pick and choose some over others – particularly if they have no record to review? It is better to start fresh and appoint BOE reps that represent ALL students in DeKalb, not just the narrow slice of the electorate that voted for them.

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:57 am

@ bu

1- you assume much, and incorrectly. that however, is your problem.
2-I see no evidence of change, just wishful thinking on your part. history is not on your side.
3-I’ve been living/working/going to school in DeKalb for nearly 40 years. you?
4-you seem to have a serious dog in the fight about saving certain behinds. why?
5-my responses come from hard learned history, including changeover in personnel before. yours seem to be wishing on stars and reflexive defensiveness
6-no real, tangible evidence of a cultural change of the voters in DeKalb exists
7-you’ve flat run out of time.

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:59 am

if the three amigos are all that, they should have little trouble retaining their seats.

DeKalb Inside Out

January 22nd, 2013
9:49 am

Replacing the board and Super for 18 months isn’t going affect permanent change. Superintendents and BOE members have come and gone over the last 10 years. 5 years from now we will be in the same place.

bu2

January 22nd, 2013
1:11 pm

I suspect the SBOE has already decided to replace all 9. And I suspect Deal will start with 9 new faces. Difficult to pick and choose. Politically impossible to only replace the 4 who have served more than 2 years.

@Bootney
2. With one meeting, you’re right. There is no evidence of change. Lots of wishful thinking that an appointed board will make more of a difference than the angry voters who have turned out people.
3. Have you considered that being here 40 years might be why you can’t see any other solution? One of the problems in Georgia is they always seem to be reinventing the wheel. Things don’t HAVE to be like this. There’s a lot of accepting that “we just can’t change things on our own.” Georgia desperately needs more people in government who have been other places and seen that things can be done differently.
4. You seem to be ignoring what I have been saying. I’ll repeat it one last time. I don’t have any faith in the state of Georgia to appoint an honest board with the interest of the taxpayers at heart. Georgia politicians might even make some Chicago and Louisiana politicians blush. I also don’t think voters should be ignored. And I have more faith in people with children in the system who have been elected by angry voters to make positive change than in appointees.
5. Yours is a defeatist reflexive response. You don’t “seem”, you are wishing on a Dues ex machina from Governor Deal.
6. 5 incumbents aren’t here any more. I’d say that’s some evidence.
7. APS got off probation with pretty much the same dysfunctional board. DCSS can as well. Of course, merely getting off probation is not all that’s necessary.

We both agree that a lot of change is necessary. I fear your change makes things worse.

bu2

January 22nd, 2013
1:31 pm

While I don’t agree with Dr. Trotter’s analysis, you can’t deny he is right about one thing. The people who have lost in elections or votes are the loudest calling for intervention to overturn the votes of the people. The more Republican areas that were behind the Jester/McChesney group are some of the shrillest.

Concernedmom30329

January 22nd, 2013
3:00 pm

Tell me what your fix is. You seem to think that we can survive two more years. I am here to tell you that we can’t.

Will it be ok when your your 4th grader has 40 kids in a class? Don’t think that can happen at Fernbank? Just watch.

Something has to give. Two years is an eternity.

DeKalb Inside Out

January 22nd, 2013
3:19 pm

ConcernedMom
Without major changes in 5 years we are destined to be in the same place we are today. We MUST have local control. Those models include Portfolio District, district wide independent charters and independent school districts. We are wasting our time and our children’s education demanding anything less than a local control model. “We” have leverage over the board and administration for the first time.

concernedmom30329

January 22nd, 2013
3:21 pm

DIO

This board isn’t going to approve anything you listed. Don’t you think Jester asked them to? (Ask her and see what she says.)
An appointed board is much more likely to be progressive and less territorial than an elected one. An appointed board for two years would be a gift.

DeKalb Inside Out

January 22nd, 2013
3:52 pm

ConcernedMom
Dr Jester can’t do it alone. She would need the help of the gold dome. They can step in like they did in APS. They can tell the administration and board to adopt a new system or get kicked out … that’s the leverage. If it’s in a consent agreement, the state will continue to have the leverage.

An appointed board is much more likely to be progressive and less territorial than an elected one. – You have high hopes for the potentially appointed board. The state will loose all leverage. If the DeKalb Delegation has any say, the board will be worse than it is now. At best we will be right back where we are in 5 years.

Kick out the DeKalb BOE
The BOE will hire topshelf lawyers to sue the state and it will get ugly. If the state wins, a bunch of white people will kick a bunch of elected black people out of office. That won’t go over well. I would expect South DeKalb to elect even more divisive BOE reps. There is no happy ending going down that path.

Please email Dr Jester and ask for her opinion. Please post it here.

Dunwoody Mom

January 22nd, 2013
6:40 pm

I keep reading about lawsuits about removing elected officials. I truly do not understand this. There are already procedures to remove elected officials – this isn’t something new. Doesn’t the word “impeachment” mean anything? We can impeach the president, governor, judges, etc., why can’t we “impeach” school boards?

DeKalb Inside Out

January 22nd, 2013
7:09 pm

Impeachment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity. We are more likely to recall the BOE. A recall election is usually initiated by voters and can be based on “political charges”, for example mismanagement, whereas impeachment is initiated by a constitutional body (usually a legislative body) and is usually, but not always, based on an indictable offense.

bu2

January 22nd, 2013
9:20 pm

@Dunwoody Mom
Georgia law seems to believe the elected office belongs to the elected official instead of the people. The plan for reducing the board to 5 or 7 foundered because the elected board threatened to sue saying they had a right to the position for the remaining 2 or 4 years. Dr. Walker, as I recall, was the most vocal. The consensus in the press and among the state representatives seemed to be that they would win. So its hard to get rid of people before their term is out. If the board gets removed, we still have to pay them under state law.

bu2

January 22nd, 2013
9:21 pm

I’m referring to the SBOE board removal. They will technically be suspended with pay for the next 2 years.

@bu

January 22nd, 2013
10:49 pm

Not quite right. Had the DeKalb delegation allowed the citizens to vote on the size of the board it would have triggered an election immediately after the vote. Howard Mosby, chair of the delegation wouldn’t allow us to vote. He dates Cunningham’s sister. We didn’t have to be in this position. But DeKalb is a messed up place.

The delegation missed an opportunity to do the right thing. No one Pressed Mosby to do right thing. Not Holcomb. And especially not MMO. Very disappointing.

[...] chief Cheryl Atkinson, who is already on shaky ground with her school board. (And, of course, the board itself is on shaky ground, which is why DeKalb is teetering on the brink of [...]