by: Tony Thomas Updated:ATLANTA,None —
The State Board of Education says Atlanta Public Schools are on their way to cleaning up leadership issues, and the state won't use a newly enacted law to wipe out the district's entire elected board.
The State Board voted Wednesday not to recommend to Gov. Nathan Deal that the “Atlanta board be removed en masse."
The news was a relief to APS board members, who have been working for months to avoid losing not only their jobs, but the district’s accreditation as well. APS was on probation for the last few months, but that was just lifted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
APS Board President Brenda Muhammad told the state leadership during the meeting, "We will not place this district in jeopardy again."
Superintendent Erroll Davis also told the board, "I am confident and have little concern that there will be any relapse."
Issues with ethics and infighting among members put the board on probation in January. That, combined with an ongoing standardized test cheating scandal, has rocked the district.
One group that has been watching the movement very closely is the grassroots parent’s organization Step UP or Step Down. Julie Davis Salisbury is a founding member and said she 's pleased with the board’s progress.
"It feels like now we are sailing into what might be smoother waters," Salisbury said.
Within hours of the state's decision, the Step Up or Step Down leadership was on a conference call, trying to map out its next steps to keep pressure on the district to stay on track.
"We feel like we have an opportunity from a leadership perspective at APS to actually build something as opposed to be in repair mode," Salisbury said.