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