Governor to decide fate of 6 DeKalb school board members - New York News

Governor to decide fate of 6 DeKalb school board members

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ATLANTA -

Officials with the governor's office say Governor Nathan Deal will make his decision concerning the six DeKalb school board members recommended for removal by the State Board of Education on Monday.

The State Board of Education held a 14-hour marathon meeting on Thursday, during which DeKalb board members fought for their jobs in a courtroom-like proceeding. In the end, the State Board of Education recommended that the governor remove and suspend with pay Pamela Speaks, Eugene Walker, Sarah Copeland-Wood, Jay Cunningham Donna Edler and Nancy Jester.

"I think the State Board got it right because they just don't think it can be sustained based on past performance," said State Senator Frank Millar, (R)-District 40.

DeKalb parent Ernest Brown has four children who have attended DeKalb schools. Brown  watched much of the Thursday's proceedings on the internet. Brown agrees the district needs drastic repair, but he is not sure if removing most of the board members is the answer.

"The governor is being given the right to override the will of the voters, [regardless] of what you think of each individual board member, the voters in those districts made the decision as to who they want to represent them," said Brown.

Thurmond says no matter who serves on the board, it's time to turn the focus on the classroom.

"I'm going to continue to work as hard as I can to right the ship, and get our district moving in the right direction," said Thurmond.

Millar says even if Deal removes the six board members, they will have up to 30 days to ask the governor to reinstate them.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed DeKalb Schools on accreditation probation status back in December. The agency gave the district one year to clean up its act. The district is the only school system out of 1,000 in the U.S. placed on probation.

DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said losing accreditation would be devastating for the county.

"We know that if we lose our accreditation in the school system, the other consequences that can occur. The valuation by real estate can be decreased. Our large businesses will look twice before coming to DeKalb County. Our kids, our most precious resources, would lose the ability to attend the college of their choice, so I just believe that, whether we agree or not with the Board of Education on the state level's stance on this -- and I happen to think there is some merit based on what they found -- that those in positions of leadership sometime have to step aside for the good of the county, and for the good of children," Brown said.

Gov. Deal says that he has been following the situation very closely and will take the weekend to look at further details before making his announcement during a news conference at his office at 11 a.m. on Monday.

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