Move afoot to let Nathan Deal to replace Atlanta school board

The Legislature may be on the verge of giving Gov. Nathan Deal the power to remove members of the Atlanta Board of Education should the school system lose its accreditation this summer.

Not exactly what Mayor Kasim Reed was looking for – but something like it.

A bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Majority Whip Ed Lindsey and Democrat Kathy Ashe, both of Atlanta, was attached Tuesday to SB 79 by the House Education Committee.

Early this year, when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the Atlanta school system on probation because of a CRCT cheating scandal and board infighting, Deal discovered that current board members – in the Atlanta system and elsewhere – had been grandfathered in by 2010 legislation allowing the governor to take over local school systems.

This month, Reed said he had approached members of the Legislature about giving the mayor of Atlanta the power to replace school board members – but Republicans balked, saying such a move would require a constitutional amendment.

This afternoon, Ashe said her amendment – removing protection for school board members elected prior to 2010 – is a back-up plan in case the school board doesn’t meet SACS requirements.

“It’s a safety net. It’s a just-in-case,” Ashe said. “But I expect them to get the job done.”

Ashe said SB 79 can’t come to the House Rules Committee before Thursday. The Senate would have to agree to the change.

Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Deal, said the governor’s staff is not backing the proposal, but is watching it.

Updated at 3:40 p.m.: Perhaps there was no connection, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was on the third floor of the Capitol this afternoon, visiting with his former Senate colleagues.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

18 comments Add your comment

Every One of You Should be Ashamed of Yourselves

March 30th, 2011
1:09 pm

Every time the power mongers don’t get a School Board they can’t totally dominate, they get the governor to pass some new law removing the duly elected school boards. Last time I looked the Justice department was supposed to be monitoring elections and such. They have filed suit against the new cities that have sprouted up. When you don’t get the officials you want elected, throw them out. AJC this is as much your design as Brock’s and Reed’s.

[...] news keeps coming today: My AJC colleague Jim Galloway reports that an amendment has been introduced in the House that would enable Gov. Nathan Deal  to [...]

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Alabama Communist

March 30th, 2011
1:47 pm

Wow! So the Governor is going to replace the whole Atlanta School Board with White Tea Party Republicans……….I hope he calls out the National Guard when this happens……..


March 30th, 2011
2:03 pm

Our history with competent governors is a heck of a lot better than our history with Atlanta mayors.

Dana Blankenhorn

March 30th, 2011
2:05 pm

I’m a Democrat but there’s plenty of stupid to go around. Kathy Ashe is also a Democrat and she’s a co-sponsor of this thing. I think if the School Board can’t get its act together enough to protect accreditation, it deserves to be fired. Democrats need to note that, even once they’re appointed, any new members would merely be interim and subject to election or rejection by the voters.

So, no, Deal isn’t going to take over Atlanta Schools in the name of the Tea Party. He’s not a complete moron. He’s been working through this with Mayor Reed, Rep. Abrams and now councilmember Ashe. And he knows Atlanta wouldn’t long stomach a Tea Party takeover of its schools.


March 30th, 2011
2:25 pm

I thought the State School Superintendent had some type of authority to either remove board members or the superintendent? If he does not then why not because he is more qualified that the governor and less political.


March 30th, 2011
2:48 pm

Why not just close down the entire school system in Atlanta and let the students go to school in Gwinnett County>

Top School

March 30th, 2011
2:56 pm

“It’s a safety net. It’s a just-in-case,” Ashe said. “But I expect them to get the job done.”

Kind of like the safety net that protects those willing to tell the truth within Atlanta Public Schools.
Report to the Georgia State Professional Standards Commission …and watch how the SAFETY NET dEVeLOPs a big HOLE.

Those that know how the Northside works these deals are not as stupid as you think.


March 30th, 2011
3:47 pm

Hell! Did the guv come clean with those people investigating him?? Was he not judged, by a non partisian group, one of the most corrupt members of Congress??? Was there not something about someone refusing to testify in his case??? Did he not leave Congress to stop the investigation?? Come on now!!!! Who should not have been elected????

Now he is going to have someone removed from office!!!!! Please give me a break!!!

Question Man

March 30th, 2011
3:51 pm

If Kathy Ashe is involved, shouldn’t we be very, very worried?

Fed Up

March 30th, 2011
4:08 pm

Why do we have a State School Superindent and what is his job? If it isn’t to ensure that all of our school districts are run capably and are fully accredited, what is it?!

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
4:54 pm

The problem, as I see it, is that the APS has failed miserably in educating the children entrusted to them. In order to conceal this failure, cheating on the tests by the poeple responsible for administering the tests was coerced so as to provide a faulty acceptable passing mark. Intimidation was used to silence teachers and other administrative personnel who would report this cheating. All of this was done under the existing school board who was responsible for hiring the head of the APS.

Yeah, sure, leave the existing school board in place. They sound as if they are a very capable lot.


March 30th, 2011
5:21 pm

Sounds like school board ,and Governor should work well together.


March 30th, 2011
5:25 pm

@AC That is White Tea Party “Good old boys,and girls.”


March 30th, 2011
5:47 pm

I don’t know the constitutionality of it, and I really don’t have any personal knowledge (or interest, for that matter) of the current APS issues, but it seems to me that a better option for replacing school board members – in any part of the state – would be an appointment from the state superintendent with the approval of the state school board.

Another Voice

March 30th, 2011
10:33 pm

Why doesn’t Deal just do the smart thing and collapse APS into the Fulton County Schools System? Could save a lot of overhead on central office personnel alone, not to mention improving logistics of dealing with food service, transportation, and such. There’s not much reason for APS to exist as an island surrounded by Fulton County Schools. Would also make it possible to re-district more sensibly and possibly even avoid the need to create a “new” North Atlanta High School facility entirely.