Parent petitions for DeKalb school board's removal

by: Richard Elliot Updated:

Betsy Parks' online petition already has more than 700 signatures from parents expressing frustration at DeKalb's probationary status. A second petition has more than 900 signatures.
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

A DeKalb County parent has gone online to try and convince the state to remove DeKalb County school board members.

Betsy Parks' online petition already has more than 700 signatures from parents expressing frustration at DeKalb's probationary status. A second petition has more than 900 signatures.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools put the district on probation last month because of what it says was long term "poor and ineffective governance." SACS' scathing report accused DeKalb of financial and academic mismanagement, including an inability to explain how it borrowed $12-million to buy textbooks yet no one seems to be able to locate those books.

"We just can't sit and wait any longer," said Parks. "I mean, really, the wheels have fallen off the bus."

Parks said she decided to create the online petition after she heard her own frustrations echoed in conversations with other parents.

"I wanted to be able to have my voice heard," said Parks. "And then I wanted to give voice to other people. They've expressed frustration to me, and I just wanted to do something."

DeKalb Schools must submit a list of potential witnesses and documents to the state school board by Friday. A week later, the state school board will hold a hearing to determine if the situation is so bad, it will recommend that Governor Nathan Deal remove school board members. By law, the governor can remove school board members, but only if the state school board recommends it.

Parks said she plans on handing her petition to the state school board in hopes they will make that recommendation

"They're going to have a copy of all these people's names," said Parks. "Make the tough call, go ahead and remove a board that's ineffective."

In related news, the DeKalb School District will swear in three newly elected members, and one reelected board member Monday afternoon.