Gov. Nathan Deal has signed SB 79, which gives the governor the power to replace the Atlanta Board of Education, if the public school system loses its accreditation this summer.
But in a formal statement, Deal said removal of elected officials would be a “last resort:”
“It is my hope that the district will take the appropriate steps to move forward in order to avoid a sad and embarrassing situation. We all benefit if this is resolved locally by elected officials in Atlanta.
“But we have seen the horrific consequences of schools that lose their accreditation. I believe in the sanctity of the ballot and in the power of the people to elect their leaders. For me, removing elected officials would be a last resort. But with the future of Atlanta’s students hanging in the balance, I believe it is better to be prepared with more options on the table than with less.
“Signing this bill into law is not a time for celebrating; it is a time for Atlantans to come together to work constructively so that the powers given to the governor’s office in this bill never have to be used. I, along with my APS liaisons and Mayor Kasim Reed, look forward to upcoming discussions with the school board as we work together with the best interest of Atlanta’s students at heart.”
Reed had worked for the measure’s passing. House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta had opposed it.
One reason for the governor’s hurry-up signature: Under the requirements of the Voting Rights Act, the measure must receive approval from the U.S. Justice Department before it can go into effect.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider