• Lawmaker introduces bill to keep taxpayer money out of DeKalb school board fight

    By: Tony Thomas


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Parents are worried about the future of DeKalb County schools, after Gov. Nathan Deal announced his decision to suspend six board members Monday.

    All of this happened because an accrediting agency placed DeKalb schools on probation.

    Channel 2's Tony Thomas talked to a state lawmaker, who's trying to prevent the district from spending tax dollars on the legal battle that will ensue.

    State Rep. Scott Holcomb introduced a bill Monday that would block school board members facing removal from using taxpayer dollars for their own defense.

    Holcomb was at a town hall meeting Monday night to talk about everything going on in his district. Most of the questions were about the troubled DeKalb County schools.

    "Let's face it, they have failed," Holcomb told Thomas.

    The gathering came just hours after deal used a new law to suspend six of the nine current board members. Three newly elected members will remain on the board. The governor plans to appoint replacement members until the next election.

    "We didn't take it lightly. I did think about it very seriously. I consulted with the followup after the board of education meeting as to their points of view and how this is not something that I entered into lightly," Deal said during a news conference Monday afternoon.

    It's a decision that parent Karen Zeliff loves.

    "I have been so worried about this since Dec. 18," Zeliff said. "I would like this all to be over with."

    But it could take months. The board has filed taxpayer-funded lawsuits to stop the removals, which prompted Holcomb to introduce Bill 468.

    "It's really easy for them to spend other people's money in this situation," Holcomb said.

    For now, parents simply watch and wait, hoping their children's schools don't lose accreditation as the adults continue to fight.

    "They need to serve the children not themselves," Zeliff said.

    Two court dates are later this week, one in state court on Thursday, a federal hearing on Friday.

    Both judges are being asked to toss out the new law and allow the board members back in.


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