Reactions to DeKalb school board ruling. SACS says still possible for DeKalb to be top system again.

Among the reactions to the federal court ruling late today that the suspensions of the DeKalb board members can stand and replacements can be named:

DeKalb School Board Chair Melvin Johnson: “I respect the judge’s opinion, and appreciate the judge providing an opinion in a timely manner, because time is of the essence. It is essential that we have a governing board capable of meeting the needs of our administration, students, parents and taxpayers. Equally important is having a board in place to work with the administration on ensuring that the district regains full accreditation. I pledge my full and complete cooperation with the panel of citizens Gov. Nathan Deal has identified to select new board members, and I trust they will work expeditiously to ensure we have a governing board capable of addressing the pressing needs of our school system.”

And from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools:

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement continues its work assisting the DeKalb County School District in maintaining its accreditation.  U.S. District Judge Richard Story’s ruling will allow the system to move forward and to put in place a Board of Education with its priorities appropriately placed on student achievement.

The SACS report of December 2012 (outlining deficiencies, findings and recommendations to the DeKalb County School District) remains a guiding document for required improvements in the school system regarding fiscal management, best practices and operating efficiencies as well as minimizing non-standard practices and dysfunctional leadership.

“Our greatest hope is to help the DeKalb County School District find its way back to being one of the highest performing school systems in the southeastern United States,” said Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D., President and CEO of AdvancED, the parent organization of SACS CASI.  “That was still possible as late as the 1990s, and it’s still possible today.”

Also, AJC political writer Greg Bluestein has been getting reaction from the Capitol.

From Bluestein:

The news of the order spread through the statehouse like a ripple wave.

Gov. Nathan Deal said the court’s decisions “allows us to take the next steps toward protecting the futures of DeKalb’s students and maintaining the school system’s accreditation.” The onus, he said, will now shift to the five-member nominating panel.

“Time is of the essence because we cannot have this cloud hang over the county or the state,” he said. “The nominating panel appointed last week will continue to collect applications through Wednesday, and it will get to work quickly on filling the open seats so the board can become a functioning body.”

Deal also appointed Robert Brown, a State Transportation Board member, to serve as another liaison to the DeKalb board. He already appointed attorney Brad Bryant, a former state and DeKalb Board Of Education member and a past state school superintendent, as a liaison.

State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, said his first reaction to the ruling was simple: “Thank goodness.”
“I am grateful that the students, parents and taxpayers of DeKalb County now have a clear path forward,” said Jacobs, who has introduced legislation that restrict school boards from using taxpayer money to fund similar lawsuits. “I can’t speculate whether fill negotiations are happening but I would think that school board members just lost any negotiating leverage.”

State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, said he’s willing to work with whoever Deal appoints.“Whoever the governor appoints, we’ll work with them to get to the actual work of maintaining accreditation. And Superintendent Thurmond is really well-positioned to protect the interests of students and taxpayers.”
Carter said the focus now turns toward the candidates the five-member nominating panel appoints. “I think everyone needs to have their input and it needs to be an inclusive process,” he said. “And whoever it is, we’ve got to work with them.”

State Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain, a critic of the governor’s move, said he was disappointed in the court’s ruling. “I’m concerned about the usurping of the will of the voters,” said Mitchell, who expects Walker to file an appeal. “I wish I had confidence this will end the legal matter, but this system is still stuck in legal limbo. I’d love the issue to be resolved, but it’s not.”

State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, another opponent of Deal’s decision, said the judge’s ruling doesn’t change her opinion that the governor was overreaching. “My whole premise was that even if it was constitutional, it doesn’t make it right,” said Kendrick. “There are a lot of things that might be constitutional, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in the best interest of the citizens.”

14 comments Add your comment

Clutch Cargo

March 4th, 2013
6:03 pm

From this point forward, the ousted members should have to finance their own legal maneuvers.

Atlanta Media Guy

March 4th, 2013
6:11 pm

Indeed clutch! Time for DCSS to forget these folks and move on. One thing for sure, if I was a Central Office employee or a Friend & Family hire, I would start refreshing my resume. Time to start from scratch! Budget should start with school house after that whatever is left we can fund a rightly sized Palace!


March 4th, 2013
6:40 pm

Mitchell if you really wish this was over, please encourage Walker to step down. He should resign as gracefully as possible. The other 5 will follow. Please

Private Citizen

March 4th, 2013
7:36 pm

I vote for all Georgia school boards being appointed at the state level. Or at least the ones where performance is not in the top range. There are many places in Georgia where students who benefit from this type of care and guardianship from the progressive and cosmopolitan perspective of the state.

Who stands for the children?

March 4th, 2013
7:42 pm

Reps. Mitchell and Kendrick: Please quit moaning about “voters’ rights” and start working with those who want to make it “right” for the children. The voters will be fine; we are not suffering; in fact, Judge Story’s move will hopefully get us out of our suffering by having to finance all these legal bills. (Past and present). If you have any contact with any of the Board members, please urge them to step down and let this county move on.


March 4th, 2013
8:36 pm

I think the judge made a great call for the right reasons. The board is incapable of positive action. There is a possibility the whole thing could go bad quickly. Time for a radical cleanup and be boot. Not crazy about this coming from the GOP but it is obvious that it cannot be solved by the current members. The more the ousted members complain, the worse it makes them look. It is not about race, it is about competence.

worried about the numbers

March 4th, 2013
8:40 pm

Dear Rep. Kendrick, you have it exactly wrong. It’s not constitutional IMHO, legally elected people being brought down by a private inscrutable agency of questionable ability, but it’s still the right thing to do in this case.

worried about the numbers

March 4th, 2013
8:41 pm

Thank you, Mr. Johnson, for your words. As a parent, I appreciate your attitude.

Maureen Downey

March 4th, 2013
8:55 pm

Pardon My Blog

March 5th, 2013
8:19 am

Reps Mitchell and Kendrick – you need to read the message from @WOW under the letter from Eugene Walker (I really hesitate to call him Doctor, it belittles the profession). She was right on target!

Private Citizen

March 5th, 2013
9:10 am

One might ask about, is there SACS influence in the choosing of superintendents used to keep school districts attune to a “national agenda” led by various foundations.


March 5th, 2013
9:56 am

No matter who or what is elected on the DCSS board, there are two problems they had better focus on first and make it HAPPEN. The first is putting a budget together to give teachers back their full salaries (they can find money to pay everyone else a huge salary and buy academic programs), and two putting an effective academic curriculum and strong discipline program together so that teachers can teach and students can learn.

Although, many say that education is all about the children, education has not been about children since forever. Education has been political to the extreme. Teachers are the least respected in any school system not just DCSS. The first salaries to be cut are those who really make the difference (teachers). Education is the least respected and focus in the US government. This country has no real standards when it comes to education. We are the only country that develop academic program after program and none really produce the academic acheivement that is expected or needed. If this country does not get its act together and DCSS drama, we will continue to have a less than effective educational program.

Also, while so many of our parents are excited about the federal judges decision they must not sit back and continue to complain they must step up. If parents and teachers had stepped up over five years ago perhaps all of this would not have gotten as far as it has. I am speaking now to those parents on the south end of the county: 1) stop bickering about the teacher and assist your child academically. We only hear from you when little Quavious or Shareka comes home and tell you the teacher said something you did not like or that the teacher hit me (oh and let me not forget when they are on stage dancing). If you are not as literate as you should be go back to school. There are several programs out there to help you move forward to helping yourself. This has been on the books for AFDC for a long time. However, it is very laxed in enforcing the rules. 2) Speak with your child’s teacher weekly. It is your job (your child) as their parent to stay intouch with the teacher. Your child is not the only child in that classroom. 99.9% of teachers will help you to help your child if you work with them for all of the right reasons. This is a huge start and will make a positive difference in your child’s academic success. Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


March 6th, 2013
5:26 pm

I grew up in Dekalb County schools back when Jim Cherry was charge and we were considered one of the top school systems nationally. Thank God the Governor has moved forward aggressively supported by Judge Story and we can finally get this system back on track to support quality education for our children which they rightly deserve. Shame on you Mr Walker for putting you selfish interests ahead of the children, parents and taxpayers in this county. Its time for you to leave the building, you have been fired.


March 9th, 2013
7:31 am

Now we know its al about power – follow the network of who knows whom – Mosby-Mitchell-Walker…see who’s caught in the middle!!!