DeKalb school board members challenge governor's authority to remove them

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

DeKalb County School Board members are taking action to stop a meeting that could lead to their removal.

Meanwhile, top county leaders met Tuesday to discuss the fate of the district’s plagued school system.

The stakeholders gathered in a room for about 90 minutes at Georgia Piedmont Technical College in Clarkston. Channel 2’s Erica Byfield wasn’t allowed inside, but spoke to the county CEO afterward.

CEO Burrell Ellis said he met with the stakeholders to hear directly from the school system about the issues the district is facing. The most pressing issue is the status of the county school board. On Thursday, all nine board members are set to find out if the state Board of Education will recommend that the governor remove them from office.

But the school board is challenging the law that gives the state board authority to recommend its suspension. A lawyer for the county board said papers were filed in court Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the state law and calling for Thursday’s meeting to be placed on hold until that is ruled upon.

Another major issue plaguing the district is its probationary status. In December, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools gave the district a long list of items they must fix in order for the probation to reevaluated at the end of this year. SACS’ investigation into the district turned up millions of dollars of misplaced funds, evidence of nepotism in hiring practices and interference with student assignments, among other allegations.

It’s unclear if any changes were decided upon during Tuesday’s meeting, but Ellis called it a productive session. 

“We had a robust discussion. I think we had a good conversation. I think we came with a better sense of understanding and then, we are going to continue to meet. We've agreed to continue to work with the school district,” he said.