They’re out. Governor removes all six DeKalb school board members. Bring in the lawyers.

Setting the stage for a court battle, Gov. Nathan Deal just announced at a press conference that he is removing all six veteran DeKalb school board members.

He has created a nominating committee to find replacements. The committee includes former DeKalb Schools administrator Garry McGiboney, who is now with the state Department of Education, state board member Kenneth Mason, former state board member Jim Bostic, Sadie Dennard, education chair, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, and Alicia Phillip, president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Former state and DeKalb school board member Brad Bryant will be liaison between the district and the governor’s office. (Interesting that both McGiboney and Bryant were mentioned to me as possible superintendent candidates before Michael Thurmond was hired two weeks ago.)

Deal was apparently not moved by a last-minute appeal from Thurmond who testified last week at the state Board of Education hearing that he could work with this board and that its removal will make his job harder. Nor was Deal moved by some in the DeKalb delegation who sought alternatives to the controversial removal of elected officials.

Deal’s actions could still be reversed as there are two court hearings this week on lawsuits filed by the school board. A federal judge has already said that Deal can suspend the six, as he chose to do today but he can’t name replacements, pending the outcome of a Friday court hearing. A Superior Court judge will hold a hearing Thursday.

And Deal acknowledged the precarious nature of his DeKalb decision today, saying, “Certainly, the final determination by either the Superior Court or the federal court could affect the final disposition of this matter. But we don’t know what that will be at this point. I feel it’s my responsibility to act as the current law stands.”

So, DeKalb remains in the legal limbo that we began discussing Sunday here on the blog.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

244 comments Add your comment

Dekalb Mom

February 25th, 2013
2:50 pm

Woo Hoo! Another hurdle crossed. Let’s hope our local delegation can talk some sense into the removed members to stop fighting for their own selfish reasons. It is time to move on and have the drama end. Step one for better education in DeKalb: Reduce class sizes!

Anchorite

February 25th, 2013
2:50 pm

I’m stilling looking for insight into the oft mentioned (never explained) Sumter Co. situation…

How much will the suits cost Georgia taxpayers–both for the State’s defense and the Dekalb and Sumter Co. oppositions?

living in an outdated ed system

February 25th, 2013
2:53 pm

The only decision he could make, but NOTHING happens until after the hearing Friday. Interesting nominating committee – surprised some of them agreed to be on it. The people MUST protest and push the six board members to stand down, for the good of the district and the children. The blood is on their hands now.

Maureen Downey

February 25th, 2013
2:53 pm

@Anchor. I think it will cost thousands. Sumter has its own attorney and DeKalb has its own attorney. The state will use the AG office, which may bring in special counsel as it did with charter school court fight.
Maureen

Returning DCSS Parent

February 25th, 2013
2:55 pm

Once of the few times I agree with Governer Deal. Time for a positive change for the 99K students, taxpayers, teachers, etc. in DeKalb County.
Good riddance!!!

Principal Skinner

February 25th, 2013
2:56 pm

Step 2, but we’re still a ways away from even turning the corner.

Dear DBOE, follow Spike Lee’s advice and, “Do The Right Thing”

Beverly Fraud

February 25th, 2013
2:57 pm

Not exactly going according to plan is it? Markie Mark is supposed to make his political power play and they are supposed to go quietly into the night.

Eugene Walker is supposed to get Thurmond on board, and he was supposed to convince the State BOE to give them a second chance, because deep down inside we don’t really want to know just how ugly this has been on multiple fronts; SACS, DCSS, Atkinson, and on, and on, and on…

Didn’t work and ole Eugene is not going to go quietly into the night.

Can’t wait for the Elgart to be compelled to testify. Let’s see how well (parapharsing) we take notes but we don’t share them works in court.

Sunlight time!

Decatur Dad

February 25th, 2013
2:58 pm

It’s on! The voters of Dekalb County will not tolerate bullying from Deal & SACS.

Pardon My Blog

February 25th, 2013
3:01 pm

If they have been suspended and it was only this group that voted on the $150,000 to Baker’s Law firm for “governance” training, is the district legally responsible for that?

Pardon My Blog

February 25th, 2013
3:03 pm

@Decatur Dad – not bullying, they are doing the right thing.

Whatevs

February 25th, 2013
3:04 pm

YES! *Tiger Woods fist pump*

DeKalb Inside Out

February 25th, 2013
3:04 pm

Beverly Fraud
I’ve seen a couple of comments here and there referring to Elgart testifying. Please expound on that. Why/where would he testify?

Sally

February 25th, 2013
3:04 pm

Thank you Governor Deal. I know it’s not over but it’s one more step in the right direction.

Educator for Life

February 25th, 2013
3:05 pm

I would like to serve on the board!!!

CHMS Parent

February 25th, 2013
3:06 pm

This is Great news. Looks like Spring Cleaning started early and we really needed to clean house! The future is in our hands. Whom ever takes over as BoE members it is our job to make sure they are quality people who put the children first.

Barbara Foresty

February 25th, 2013
3:07 pm

I wonder how many people know that Dekalb County Pay scale for teachers is approximately $12,000 – 16,000.00 lower than surrounding counties including Decatur School for the experience teachers, so we are loosing all of our great experienced Teacher to all the other counties. This is a shame our children deserve better than that. B

Whatevs

February 25th, 2013
3:07 pm

@Decatur Dad, WE voters of Dekalb County are the ones that put us in this mess in the first place! I purposely didn’t vote for ANY incumbent school board member. It’s not bullying… it’s common sense. Dekalb County have dealt with enough apathy… next up… Burrell Ellis and the entire CEO position! Goodbye and good riddance!

Starik

February 25th, 2013
3:07 pm

Aside from skin pigmentation, it might be good to select board members who have kids in the DeKalb Schools, or no kids at all, and exclude candidates who have pulled their kids out of the public schools – like Mr. Thurmond.

who cares

February 25th, 2013
3:08 pm

If the parents had any sense, which I’m thinking they don’t, since they elected these idiots, they would pack up and move. Elections have consequences parasites.

The Film Professor

February 25th, 2013
3:09 pm

@Decatur Dad….really? The bullies have been people like Walker and SCW; the losers have been all of the children in DeKalb Country. This lifelong Democrat is glad Deal was willing to stand up and do the right thing.

Principal Skinner

February 25th, 2013
3:09 pm

Decatur Dad is right. This Board is sooooooo competent and responsible. They are always reading about the problems that our district has, and taking great notes in meetings. They never misuse any $$$ and are only interested in what is best for the 99,000 students in our schools, certainly not themselves, or their family members and friends.

This is bizzaroworld.blogspot.com, right?

Educator for Life

February 25th, 2013
3:09 pm

I graduated from a DeKalb School, live in DeKalb County, and am an Assistant Principal outside of the county. I would love the opportunity, but then again, no one knows me and I refuse to get poop on my face from kissing bottoms!!!

Former Employee & Parent

February 25th, 2013
3:09 pm

The ENTIRE school board as well as the central office has been corrupt for YEARS!!!!! Folks we’re talking since the 1980’s AT LEAST! Kudos to Governor Deal for having the balls to get rid of these clowns and begin cleaning house!!!

Dekalber

February 25th, 2013
3:10 pm

Will there be ‘Victory in Every Classroom’ now? I bloody hope so.

gsmith

February 25th, 2013
3:10 pm

I think the first order of business should be for the county leaders to hire a rapper from the atlanta area to write a rap theme song for the NEW DEKALB to start the healing process!!!
maybe the ” keep hope alive rap for dekalb”
” south dekalb we got your back , but watch your wallet ”
” dekalb county DRIVE BY”
‘ ITS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDRENZZZZ”

catlady

February 25th, 2013
3:10 pm

How about if the lawsuit is lost the defendants (singley and personally) will pay the court costs? That might catch their attendion. Not much else has.

I would love if SACS has to testify and show their documents. There is just so long that you can hold out being a “private entity,” not subject to sunshine laws.

Former Employee & Parent

February 25th, 2013
3:12 pm

Ditto Educator for Life!!!

Ellen

February 25th, 2013
3:12 pm

There is such irony in this decision given Governor Deal’s own unethical, shady past. But I guess it takes one to recognize one! LOL!

Concerned Citizen

February 25th, 2013
3:14 pm

Dekalb School System is overdue for revitalization. Students, hopefully will be the focus of new leadership. Old members, please step down and allow the system to be student-focused. The game is OVER, we are ready for a positive change to our educational system

Beverly Fraud

February 25th, 2013
3:14 pm

When a guy who (according to this very paper, correct me if I’m wrong Maureen) met with an APS board chair in private in order to strong arm him into ceding his chairmanship to a woman who actively conspired to cover up cheating, you really can’t make the case he’s coming from the “moral high ground” even if he’s trying to remove the DCSS version of Boss Hogg.

There is stink all around this mess Not just the DCSS board. (Feel sorry for Nancy Jester, the “anti Boss Hogg” in this whole mess. Or would that be, the “anti Markie Mark”?)

Private Citizen

February 25th, 2013
3:14 pm

“We’ll also give you coupons that allow you to bring in friends at a discount.”

http://content.sixflags.com/overgeorgia/tickets/seasonpass/

kaitsmom

February 25th, 2013
3:15 pm

Thank God he went ahead and suspended them. I was really afraid he was going to back down until after the hearing. I live in South Dekalb and I have not run into any parents who feel they should be allowed to remain.

Bobby

February 25th, 2013
3:15 pm

Thank you Governor Deal !!!!!!!!!

Randy Rand

February 25th, 2013
3:16 pm

Gov. Deal creates a welcome path forward today. First, he cuts off the deadwood and bloodsucking board members. Then he sets up a replacement nominating committee which will make recommendations for the now open board positions. No power grab, simply a balanced path forward. Seems like a very reasonable and inclusive approach to me. Finally we might get back to a board focused on education success. Perhaps we will even see a couple of board resignations prior to the Gov’s actual order being signed.

southern opinion

February 25th, 2013
3:17 pm

Concerned

February 25th, 2013
3:17 pm

This can’t hurt everything else has been tried. Why not give this a try and see what can happen, this may have been the very thing DeKalb Schools has needed to make it go in the direction it deserves and that is being one of the best school systems in Georgia as it once was.

Digger

February 25th, 2013
3:18 pm

‘Do the Right Thing’ to Spike Lee meant burning down the business of some hard-working people. According to their similarly twisted thinking, maybe they already are doing the right thing.

pobo

February 25th, 2013
3:18 pm

Sounds like they are a hot mess, but: they were duly elected

Ashford Park mom

February 25th, 2013
3:19 pm

Smart move using the nominating committee so that the new board members won’t have the stigma of being Deal’s picks hanging over them. And I notice it gives him a chance to ‘get the optics right’ as some would say.

MiltonMan

February 25th, 2013
3:19 pm

Gov. Deal – big mistake there! If the idiots of DeKalb county want to keep electing morons within the county, let them. You could appoint Jesus Christ himself to the board & it would not help the dump of a county.

My2cents

February 25th, 2013
3:19 pm

“After an executive session meeting with lawyers, the board emerged and voted unanimously to settle a lawsuit. The case was a sideline to a multimillion dollar lawsuit involving former construction manager Heery/Mitchell. Heery agreed to settle a companion case it brought over an open records dispute, and the school board ratified the settlement in a 9-0 vote, also agreeing not to seek attorney’s fees” SO HOW MUCH DID HEERY GET?

Beverly Fraud

February 25th, 2013
3:19 pm

@DeKalb, not a lawyer, but since the impetus was from SACS, I would think he would be compelled to testify if Boss Hogg’s attorneys want to make SACS defend their decision.

Shrek4259

February 25th, 2013
3:20 pm

Thank you Gov. Deal for having the courage to LEAD! My 2 dads in Decatur et all didn’t &won’t vote for you no matter what. Lets pray our courts will recognize that the voters of GA voted to give the governor this option.

Georgia Teachers Speak Out!

February 25th, 2013
3:20 pm

Does Mark Elgart Protect His Home County Of Fulton? Fulton County, With All Its Mess, Appears To Be The Fair-Haired Child Of The Metro School Systems. I Venture To Guess That If North Fulton Becomes Milton County That South Fulton (Or, Just “Fulton County”) Will Not Be So Blessed By Little Markie Elgart! Ha!
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

http://georgiateachersspeakout.com/2011/06/08/dekalb-county-paying-for-accreditation-just-wetting-sacss-beek-ha/

Dekalber

February 25th, 2013
3:22 pm

Yes. Thank you Gov. Deal!!!!! I am a volunteer at a school and the bathrooms are dirty. The teachers are stressed and the staff are under paid. Bus drivers cannot even make ends meet and have to fudge their time sheets for a few extra minutes each day. The school system changes text books like Lady Gaga changes outfits. Don’t they know—kids don’t need fancy textbooks or ‘SFA’—they need smaller class sizes and qualified teachers. Unify Dekalb.

concernedmom30329

February 25th, 2013
3:23 pm

A really high calibre nominating committee. Impressive folks.

southern opinion

February 25th, 2013
3:24 pm

If nothing happens on Friday realtors get ready!!! There should be a flood of houses on the market, especially in south Dekalb. If this is drug out, unless totally by legality, everyone will lose. What will happen when teachers won’t sign contracts? What will happen when charter schools triple enrollment?

Dekalb Educator

February 25th, 2013
3:24 pm

Only an idiot would want the board to remain in place. As an employee and educator of Dekalb it is time for change. The misappropriation of funds and the whole “Do more with less” attitude is hardly about the children and it’s sending my fellow colleagues running for the hills to more stables counties. The First 48 being filed in Dekalb is one of the direct results of a failed school system with no raises, and lowered standards for student achievement. Has anyone made that connection? The new board should have diversity and real credentials.

Private Citizen

February 25th, 2013
3:25 pm

gsmith, I have a lot of respect for Priyanka Chopra and the lyrics of her song about Mumbai: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzzc17nXb3U

Everybody’s welcome here
Everybody welcome to my city
We ain’t got no worries here
I know you’re going to like it in my city
You know you’ve got a friend in me
________________________________

It’s a brilliant song! I’d love to see some international cultural representation on the DeKalb school board.

Dekalb Mom

February 25th, 2013
3:25 pm

Anyone want to organize a “DeKalb Spring” rally aimed at getting the ousted members to stop fighting against their removal in the courts with our tax dollars? All of us from all over DeKalb need to do a very public rally with lots of signs asking the six to “Do the Right Thing” and stop fighting their removal! Anyone have any ideas on where/when to hold such a rally and how to publicize? If the Arab Spring ousted leaders through spontaneous rallies organized through social media, why can’t we do it here in DeKalb County?