Millions of Catholics are waiting for the white smoke to rise from Sistine Chapel, signifying their church has a new leader. Thousands of DeKalb residents are waiting for their own version of white smoke to rise today from the Capitol.
Gov. Nathan Deal is scheduled to announce new leaders for the DeKalb school board at 11 a.m. Those new board members will be sworn in today, according to the AJC political reporter Greg Bluestein, who already talked to the governor this morning at a breakfast event.
When the smoke clears today, DeKalb will have a functioning school board. The district may also have residual bitterness from those who feel that Deal overstepped his legal bounds in ousting six legally elected board members. Those board members were elected by as much as 72 percent of the voters in their districts.
The newly appointed board members can best overcome that ill will with competent and quick action. The six Deal appointees, culled from an applicant pool of more than 400, and the three newly elected board members spared suspension have to manage a badly battered district into solvency and stability.
And they have to do it with a lot of people watching for the first misstep. Even slight frictions will be parsed as possible signs of the discord that doomed their predecessors.
So, to the new board, welcome. I hope you are prepared for all the attention and the inevitable criticisms.
But I hope you’re also prepared to ignore the critics when you believe you’re acting in the best interest of the children of DeKalb.
Those children have continued to grapple with linear equations and conjugate French verbs. They’ve won robotic contests, earned college scholarships and sold wrapping paper.
They’ve done their jobs. Now, it’s time for school board members to do theirs.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog