Holy smoke. The state received 403 applicants for the six DeKalb County board jobs, although some came from people who don’t even live in Georgia. (As I reported last week, the applicants will have to come from the districts represented by the empty seats.)
The deadline for applicants was two hours ago.
The governor’s office is promising that the appointment process will not take weeks as Nathan Deal understands that the DeKalb board can’t function without a quorum. The board now consists of the three members who took office in January and thus were not swept out by Deal due to the accreditation crisis caused in large part by the board’s historic dysfunction.
The nomination committee will meet Friday to begin the task of narrowing down what seems an overwhelming list of possible replacements.
As expected, DeKalb school board member Nancy Jester’s announcement today that she is resigning is spurring calls for other board members to resign to clear the decks, so to speak.
Here is one such call, from District 7 parent Andrea Hart to her school board rep Donna Edler. Hart said it was fine to share her letter here.
A CPA, Edler has only been on the board two years and was elected to the post with 72 percent of the vote in a runoff.
In her comments to the state board, Edler said she ran because of repeated requests from the community even though she had just been diagnosed with cancer and underwent a mastectomy that July. She took office six months later in the middle of radiation treatment. Edler defended her tenure and her dedication to the students of DeKalb.
But this parent says it’s time for Edler to show her dedication by resigning so students don’t suffer:
Dear Mrs. Edler:
I want to first thank you for serving the people of DeKalb County as the District 7 school board member. It takes a great deal of courage to first desire to serve the public and then do all of the necessary things to have that desire become reality.
I believe that you wanted and worked for the best for school children in DeKalb. As a District 7 single parent with a college-bound 10th grader who is scheduled to graduate “on time,” it saddens me to make this request of you. However, I must; please follow the lead of Nancy Jester and resign your seat today.
While I am fully aware of the voting rights issues at hand and have serious concerns as to the unchecked power that SACS wields, I absolutely cannot put those issues above that of my daughter graduating high school with a fully accredited high school diploma so that she may continue her education at a four-year institution of higher learning.
This saga has taken on a life of its own, and, while pundits opine on the fate of board members, rarely is there mention of the students and how prolonging this, and perhaps other legal battles, will do harm to the future educational endeavors of our students.
At this point, though you have tried to serve honorably, your remaining in office only serves to be an impediment to moving past the current issue and getting back on track: providing high quality and fiscally responsible education to DeKalb County students and their families.
Please take this last opportunity to honorably serve your constituents, and remove yourself from the board for the sake of progress in educating our children. Thank you.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog