Federal judge rules against DeKalb school board. Replacements can be named.

I knew U.S. District Judge Richard Story wanted to move fast on this case so the DeKalb school district would not be in limbo, but he surprised me with a ruling today following Friday’s three-hour hearing. The governor can suspend the DeKalb school board and replace them.

Given the complexity of the case, I thought his ruling would come Wednesday.

But he must have worked all weekend.

I have not yet read his ruling but will be interested in his reasoning in upholding the 2011 law that permits the governor to oust school members if a district’s accreditation is at risk.

Breaking news on AJC.com.

Check back for more details.

A federal judge denied a motion made by suspended members of the DeKalb County School Board who argued their removal from office was unconstitutional.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Story came down on Monday afternoon. On Friday, lawyers for school board members and the state attended a hearing before Story to determine if the governor could suspend six of the nine board members.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced the suspension of the board members last Monday, on the recommendation of the State Board of Education.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

53 comments Add your comment

Centrist

March 4th, 2013
4:36 pm

Lots of armchair lawyers here didn’t agree with the legislators, Governor or the judge.

Now we wait to see if any of the self-serving ex-board members try to appeal (of course, attempting to use taxpayer funds).

In the meantime, it looks like the Dekalb BoE will finally have some qualified members, and might possibly avoid losing accreditation. This is at least a partial victory for students, parents, and probably teachers and staff (even if John Trotter doesn’t see it that way).

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
4:39 pm

Really Centrist? You expect appointees from that thief Nathan Deal to be qualified? Qualified to do what?

Centrist

March 4th, 2013
4:45 pm

Really Fred ™, are you so partisan not to see having Board of Education members who didn’t go to college are not properly qualified?

dekalbite

March 4th, 2013
4:48 pm

I wonder if the students constitutional right to an adequate education was part of his reasoning. The constitution does not spell out what constitutes an “adequate” education so it appears that would be left up to the state to determine. It would seem that the state has determined accreditation by a regional accrediting agency is the standard by which they measure adequate.

I’ver read a lot about what Bob Wilson said, but not much about what the state said. Whatever the state said, I guess they said it well.

Concerned Finch Elementary Parent

March 4th, 2013
4:49 pm

AW HELL NAW!!!!

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
4:53 pm

The Other Bernie

March 4th, 2013
4:53 pm

I don’t think that anyone Deal would appoint could possibly be worse than Walker, Cunningham and Copelin-Wood. Two of them should not even be qualified to sit on a Board of Education and Walker is poison. The children of this county deserve better than the poor choices some uneducated and uninformed citizens made.

GaBlue

March 4th, 2013
4:54 pm

Daddy Deal doesn’t want the intrusive Federal Government telling his state what to do. He’s fine with the state telling counties what to do, though. See, “local control” is only a good thing when Daddy tells you it is. Don’t mess with Daddy. He’s not afraid to use his belt.

Dc

March 4th, 2013
4:54 pm

Still seems like a good idea for a new law keeping board members from using taxpayer money to appeal their removal. Can’t imagine how many dekalb teachers will lose their jobs to pay for the legal bills that have been incurred just in the last week……not that these board members care about it

Centrist

March 4th, 2013
4:54 pm

dekalbite posted “I’ve read a lot about what Bob Wilson said, but not much about what the state said.”

You read about the one side the AJC and this blog highlighted because it fit with their bias. They didn’t like what the state presented, so they didn’t publish it.

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
4:58 pm

Fred, Governor Deal is not making the appointments, he has a committee of people to do that, said to be good autonomous professionals from the area. I expect his heart is in the right place, that being “service,” a quality so often sidelined in education.

Shrek

March 4th, 2013
5:00 pm

Gov Deal is not appointing. A terrific non partisan committee has be named to select new board members for now. right?

Maureen Downey

March 4th, 2013
5:06 pm

@Shrek, But the governor has to approve the appointments.

Sally

March 4th, 2013
5:06 pm

YES!!! Are they being escorted out of the building at this moment? We can only hope!

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
5:09 pm

Really Fred ™, are you so partisan not to see having Board of Education members who didn’t go to college are not properly qualified?

I’m not partisan at all. Republican or Democrat Nathan Deal would still be a thief. I’m an independent and actually voted for Monds. Roy Barnes is no better than Deal lol.

Your “point” however is groundless. DOCTOR Walker not only had a college degree, he was blessed with the benefit of advanced degrees. He had a Masters AND a PhD. Not saying I want him to stay lol, but YOUR party politics has you befuddled.

Joesnopy

March 4th, 2013
5:10 pm

All Dekalb needs a strong Super. The one we had is fighting charges for hiring a contractor to build Tucker High. Have they made a case after what going on 4 years. What do that tell you. The politices from the top hurt Dekalb schools. That school board had direction but they killed it. It looks like he may have just made a bad deal but not sure. I hire contractors and the price can be low to very high.

Centrist

March 4th, 2013
5:15 pm

Folks like Fred and Ms. Downey who are concerned that the elected GOVERNOR has been vested with the power to approve replacements for a failed BoE after due process are partisans. If Roy Barnes were in the same position, I (and probably most of the same partisans who would deny it) would approve.

I’m moving on. Best of luck to DSSS.

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
5:17 pm

Private Citizen: Really? Who appointed that committee? Who has final approval? Are you really that naive or do you think I’m really that stupid? He now not only gets to skim cash from the so called “charter schools” but also gets to dip first hand into MY Dekalb County school cash.

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
5:18 pm

Right Centrist, you don’t believe in the US Constitution I see. That’s cool. Most of you talk radio listening FOXBOTS don’t.

Milton1960

March 4th, 2013
5:19 pm

2Fred ™ Says:
You expect appointees from that thief Nathan Deal to be qualified? Qualified to do what?
I say:
May you be forgiven, for you don’t know what you are talking about.

bu2

March 4th, 2013
5:35 pm

@Centrist
Let’s see. Complaining about unelected bureaucrats overruling local voters. Complaining about centralized government overruling local government. Complaining about government thinking it knows better than the people.

Sounds very much like a Republican position. Yet the most Republican part of the county seems to be the most vocal in favor of this.

Concernedmom30329

March 4th, 2013
5:45 pm

bu2

Your solution is to simply wait. But as we have said before, most schools aren’t Fernbank and most schools have been tremendously impacted by the mismanagement of the system.

Yesterday, a teacher reported that nearly all the good teachers at her school are applying out and that includes the teacher of the year. The majority of this Board has proven that they aren’t good stewards of tax money and so far with their votes, the three new ones are showing they are any better.

22 months until a new board will be seated is simply to far in the future.

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
6:00 pm

Fred, What I believe is that in the last 100 years in London, three times they removed and changed the whole “school board apparatus” because it was too expensive and bureaucratic. Three times they wrapped in up and put it under a different authority counsel. Sounds like they take care of business over there. I do not get and do not relate to the whole “holy school board” complex. School boards are hardy “democracy.” The truth is that they have been turned into a fetish, applying abnormal importance to something. In London, they’re under the same authority as the trash collection and “public works.” The teacher’s union runs the school there, not the “school board.”

Although London has it’s problems. Read of over there, agitated student runs in and dumps a pot of boiling water on teacher. They have a lot of student misbehavior and teacher stress, but the stress is not from the bosses interfering with the teachers. And that’s just in London. Outside of the USA, there is basically no one anywhere who gives two faxes about a “school board.”

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
6:05 pm

Fred, Serious question, why are you not concerned about the $50 million of “your” school money paid to private law firms? Government agencies are supposed to have their own counsel on salary, not pay ala cart to outside firms like ordering steak from (reference expensive executive steak house). And it is the exact same thing. And Fred, why are DeKalb school management personnel paid more in salary than similar positions in state government? Who is the DeKalb schools counsel on salary (i.e “attorney) not representing them and receiving a salary more than the state Attorney General, the top lawyer in the state? How can you defend this? Are you connected to folk receiving this DeKalb schools management salaries? -It’s a reasonable question.

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
6:05 pm

Fred, What I believe is that in the last 100 years in London,

There is a REASON we threw off the yoke of British tyranny over 230 years ago. There is a REASON the best and brightest FROM England came over here. i don’t really care what they do in London. This isn’t London. Here in the US we have laws that protect people. In London they don’t. If you want to move to London, please do. I’ve been there and I don’t want to. If you DO move though, make sure you see your dentist here first…………………………

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
6:05 pm

Why, not “who”

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
6:07 pm

Fred, Serious question, why are you not concerned about the $50 million of “your” school money paid to private law firms?

Show me where I said I’m not. Instead of telling me erroneously what I said and what my position is, why don’t you try reading and COMPREHENDING my written words? It would save time and stupid questions like that…………

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
6:08 pm

I do not care for London in the least, but something tells me their students have a better vocabulary than what is taught in most of Georgia. (there is no structured vocabulary taught in Georgia)

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
6:09 pm

Oh and Private Citizen? Stick your condescending tone up your rear end (reference expensive executive steak house).

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
6:09 pm

Fred, If you provide me the ISBN number, I’ll purchase the book. Otherwise, I am not familiar with the full reference of your comments.

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
6:10 pm

Fred, That’s where we differ. To revert to acting like an infant. I care and do not flinch if my concerns for the little to middle Georgians.

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
6:11 pm

TYPOS!!!! That’s where we differ. You revert to acting like an infant. I care and do not flinch in my concern for the little to middle Georgians.

Fred ™

March 4th, 2013
6:22 pm

No, where we differ is that you lack the ability to read and comprehend the written word, act condescendingly, and then pretend you haven’t.

Your “reference expensive executive steak house” was highly condescending. Maybe in YOUR world ala carte is a foreign word and you need to ’splain it to the hired help, but in the real world it’s quite common. You act rudely to me and you will be treated rudely. It’s quite simple. That little dying swan act might work on your hubby but this homie don’t play that.

As I said, copy/paste MY words where I say I am “not concerned about the $50 million of “your” school money paid to private law firms?” and we can continue on. Excuse me if I don’t hold my breath for you to produce that since you CAN’T.

I realize that you will NEVER admit to a mistake, so keep on with the dying swan all “offended” act, pretending you are taking the “high road” as you toss out insults that we “stupid” people are supposed to be too simple to understand. I would suggest your ignorance is exceeded ONLY by your arrogance.

Now if you have anything relevant to offer I will be glad to read and discuss it. If not then have a pleasant evening and try to put words in someone else’s mouth, not mine. I won’t stand for it as you can well see.

Truth in Moderation

March 4th, 2013
6:57 pm

@PC
I hope you enjoy talking to yourself. After all, it’s TRADEMARKED, right?
LOL!

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
7:03 pm

Fred. I can not believe no one has yet posted this Pink Floyd song. Where’s your culture now, Fred? (just a good-hearted jab for fun). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYMyxTFwuz8

Careful with That Axe, Eugene – Pink Floyd

Down, down. Down, down. The star is screaming.
Beneath the lies. Lie, lie. Tschay, tschay, tschay.
[sound of Waters blowing into the microphone]
[light screaming from Waters]
Careful, careful, careful with that axe, Eugene.
[very loud and prolonged scream]
[another very loud and prolonged scream]
[Waters blowing into the microphone]
[light screaming from Waters]
The stars are screaming loud.
Tsch.
Tsch.
Tsch.
[low groaning sound from Waters]

bu2

March 4th, 2013
7:06 pm

@concerned
If Dekalb had the same 9 board members for the last 6-8 years, I would think the situation would rise to the level for the state to act. But we have 5 of the 9 board members elected to replace previous members. So we are being disenfranchised and this state has a consistent history of appointees failing to have the public interest as a priority. I’m willing to tolerate Copelin-Woods, Cunningham and Walker for another year and a half in order to preserve local control.

And if the court ultimately rules in favor of the removed board members (or even removes all 9), it puts the legality of everything that’s been done in the interim at risk.

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
7:08 pm

executive steakhouse is not condescending. how many of the populace spend $250./hr on private attorney? .00005 %? Hey, we’re not supposed to appropriate a discussion thread for “back and forth.” I yield on the topic. I’m done.

Truth, That would be me and Roger Waters talking to ourselves.. I’ll take the artist side of the fence, thank you. And the critic is the artist’s best friend.

bu2

March 4th, 2013
7:08 pm

@concerned
You are hoping for a Dues ex machina to come and clean things up. I don’t see Governor Deal filling that role.

concernedmom30329

March 4th, 2013
7:11 pm

The problem is the three you listed are doing far more damage than the two new ones. Edler pretty much consistently votes with Walker et all because she can’t stand Jester. So far, the three new board members (one of whom can’t stand Jester either) have voted with the three who do so much damage.
What do you think that means for the system? On most issues, there are only two sides. Have you studied a board agenda? Approve an item or not?
The law exists for a reason. The state has a vested interest in protecting the education of students. Do you understand that many schools are at a breaking point?

concernedmom30329

March 4th, 2013
7:15 pm

Actually, I think that the committee that will recommend the new board members is top notch. I suspect the Governor will take their recommendations, it is cleaner for him that way. And I believe that a board comprised of the three new board members and the appointed ones will have the capacity to think, and make decisions that aren’t about reelected.

SCW doesn’t even prepare for meetings and then causes total chaos at meetings. She has most of the lowest performing systems in the system and those schools are struggling. She simply cares about who is hired and the color of their skin and who they are related too. Those schools don’t have 18 months to wait.

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
7:19 pm

Fred, Pardon if it seemed like I was toying with you for reaction. I should not have said “act like an infant, etc.” That was an error from me. That was not my intent. Good to visit with you and all of that. Let’s you and me attend to the expected norms of the discussion and all of that stuff (handshake).

bu2

March 4th, 2013
7:58 pm

@concerened
Most things have more than two options. One of the problems with the board has been that either/or attitude. The state board didn’t seem to like Jester either.

I think SCW’s incompetence makes her relatively ineffective. She’s more embarrassing to the county than anything else.

Chamblee Dad

March 4th, 2013
8:26 pm

@conceerned I sure hope you’re right! My confidence in politicians to make good appointments is not very high. Regardless of party. Or actually because of party – both. School board not supposed tp be partisan, I get that, but everything is partisan.

@concerned & bu2 watch it, SCW might get her friend ZP to slug you

Truth in Moderation

March 4th, 2013
8:39 pm

@PCFred

Better than Pink Floyd. Music to celebrate the overthrow of the Constitution by….
ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loxMe_MZhn4 (remove space)

GOOD LUCK DEKALB!

JW

March 4th, 2013
8:42 pm

And the voters of DeKalb STILL need to organize and be ready to mount a recall of those board members, b/c this decision is going to be appealed. I’m doubtful it will be upheld.

Maureen Downey

March 4th, 2013
8:55 pm

spaceman109

March 4th, 2013
9:24 pm

i would like to see the guarantee that future dekalb boe members will not be as self-absorbed as the suspended six. also, where is the guarantee that, in future, voters all over dekalb county will actually do THEIR homework and get people on the boe who can act like adults. as a former dekalb resident, i am dismayed at how far the school system has fallen.

SouthernGent

March 4th, 2013
10:07 pm

Ah nah, Maureen, your Holiday Inn Express Law Degree didn’t quite get you to the right legal conclusion.

Maureen Downey

March 4th, 2013
10:17 pm

@Southern, Fortunately, I obtained my surgery license at the same time so I can now do appendectomies.
Maureen

TM

March 5th, 2013
12:52 am

Story only ruled in favor of state on the 14 th amendment. ( due process). He sent them directly to the GA Supreme Court to get a ruling on constitutionality, by passing a state court appeal, in the interest of timeliness. He allowed Deal to make the replacements to allow DCSD to do business. The six will still be able to appeal to the GA BoE in 30 days, without major legal cost. So between the GA Supreme Court & the GA BoE process, they have 2 shots at reinstatement within then next few months.