Federal judge to rule on DeKalb School Board


Gov. Nathan Deal decided to remove six DeKalb County School Board members.

ATLANTA - A federal judge is set to hear arguments from six suspended members of the DeKalb County School board who are fighting to keep their positions.

Lawyers for school board members and the state attended a hearing Friday afternoon that could determine the fate of the six board members.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced on Monday the suspension of six of the nine board members on the recommendation of the State Board of Education.

The six board members sued in state and federal court, challenging a law passed two years ago that allows the governor to replace board members.

Lawyers for the school board members argued they had a constitutional right to remain in office because they were elected by voters.

On Sunday, U.S. District Judge Richard Story issued an order allowing Deal to proceed with the suspensions and begin the search for replacements, but he cannot officially appoint new members until a ruling is made on the case. Story said no action can take place until after he hears arguments on Friday and reaches a decision.

The suspended board members include Sarah Wood, Jay Cunningham, Nancy Jester, Eugene Walker, Pamela Speaks and Donna Edler. Three other board members were recently elected so the state ruled they should not be suspended.

The deadline to apply to be a replacement board member is March 6. A committee will name finalists, whom the governor must approve.  

DeKalb County schools were placed on probation in December by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, leading to the state investigation of the school board. The accreditation agency’s report cited fiscal mismanagement and inappropriate conduct among board members.


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